David's Dark Secret
On the outside, David Jones seemed to have it all together. He was a loving husband, father and a church leader.
“I remember telling Valerie one day, ‘I think, I’m supposed to be a minister,’” remembers David.
“She, of course, thought I was crazy. But just those old feelings of that call of God that I believe He had a call on my life, that He had something for me to do. So we started being more active in our church volunteering for VBS, volunteering with the youth.”
But below the surface, David was hiding an addiction to pornography.
It started in his childhood, when his friend showed him a magazine.
“We were just hanging out at his house and he said, ‘hey, guess what I’ve got?’” David remembers.
“He brought me into the garage and, you know, brought it out. Those first images, they sparked something within me that interested me and I wanted to see more.”
David grew up going to church, so he knew looking at pornography was wrong. So he hid his secret.
“I tried to put on this, you know, that good Christian face and go to church and play the part,” says David.
“I knew if people found out, they would see me differently.”
When he was 17, David met Valerie. They later married and started a family. He was devoted to his wife but pornography had warped his view of sex and women.
“God intended it to be a mutually pleasing, a mutually beautiful experience for a husband and wife, something that draws you closer in intimacy,” says David. “And honestly, that’s not the way I thought of sex. I treated her, well, more like an object than-than a spouse, than a friend and a lover.”
David spent hours on the computer watching X-rated videos.
Each time he felt guilty and confessed his obsession with porn to Valerie, but it made her feel that she wasn’t good enough for him.
“I started internalizing it thinking, ‘okay, if I did what some of those women do on the tapes, if I look like that, then maybe he wouldn’t look.’ So I started making it about me, you know, there’s something wrong with me or he wouldn’t be looking.”
For ten years, the cycle continued, viewing porn, then confessing to his wife and promising to stop.
But nothing ever changed and eventually she stopped trusting him.
“It just got to where it just knocked me flat on my face and it was like, I’m back on my knees and I’m praying, ‘God, what do you want me to do? How-how much am I supposed to take?’”
“I knew that I was hurting her and I knew I was offending God and yet I just didn’t know what to do,” says David.
“I didn’t want to do this stuff, but yet there was something inside of me that just, that craved it and desired it and I would give in time after time.”
David lived in a sexual fantasy world. It was only a matter of time before his addiction destroyed his marriage.
“I never had an affair but, you know, honestly I was cheating, by the imagery and by the self-pleasure,” recalls David. “I was cheating. It drove a wedge between us and our intimacy suffered, our relationship suffered, and it started to really take its toll. It was really destroying us.”
David felt God wanted him to become a minister, but the porn had control over him.
“Here I am surrendering to the ministry and trying to deal with all this at the same time and that whole time God is dealing with me,” says David.
“God made Himself just so present to me there was a stench, there was a smell that I hadn’t smelled before. God spoke to my heart and he said, ‘David, this is what this stuff smells like to me, this is a stench to my nose, it’s disgusting. And if you’re going to be a minister, we’re going to have to deal with this.’ At that point I knew I had to stop. I turned off the computer. I walked away from it. It was God’s breaking point for me, I think. He led me to this place to finally say, ‘it’s time.’”
David repented to God for his sin, but he also knew he had to talk to Valerie.
“It was hard to admit uh that I’d been lying to her,” says David.
“It was hard to admit that I’d been covering some stuff up. It was hard to see her cry and it was hard to-to know it was my fault.”
“Part of me wanted to leave,” remembers Valerie. “But my heart wouldn’t let me.
I felt like God was saying, ‘there’s hope.’”
David also got the help he needed to deal with his problem. In time, he shared about his struggles with his church.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen once I confessed to the church some of the things I’d done,” says David. “But it was incredible the response. People coming up and hugging our necks and loving us and actually telling us ‘thank you,’ that they had dealt with it or a friend had dealt with it or they’re going through it right now.”
That’s when God began to heal their marriage.
“When you’re able to finally forgive that person and start not focusing on yourself but focusing on them and actually trying to help them and love on them, it’s just amazing,” says Valerie.
“She looks at me with love, and I know she just loves me despite what I’ve done and despite our past,” says David. “It just makes me love her more and it makes me want to treat her even better than ever before and to just put her up on a pedestal, you know, and say, ‘that’s my wife.’”
Today, David warns others, knowing how easy it is to fall into the grip of a porn addiction.
“The first thing I would say is you’ve got to admit it,” believes David. “You’ve got to face it. You’ve got to confess it to God and to someone, to a wife, to a friend, to a pastor. I’m not going to lie and tell people that I’m not tempted, but what I’m going to say is,
‘God’s given me the strength, He’s given me the knowledge, He’s given me the help that I can make better choices, and I can resist.’”
“I don’t deserve His love, I don’t deserve heaven, I don’t deserve eternal life,” says David.
“And yet God says, ‘I forgive you’ and He washes that all away.
And He says, ‘come unto me, be a part of me.’ And it just, it just floors me.”
By Rod Thomas
The 700 Club