This afternoon, while praying, I received distinct revelation as to how I should go about step 9.
I haven't started on step 9 yet because I wasn't completely sure how I was going to do it this time (and there were the relapses and the horrible week and stuff that made me stop and just have to get a grip on life and stabilize before pressing onward in the steps). Yesterday and today I've been thinking I'm close to ready, but I was just waiting to figure out how to approach it.
I'm ready now. Ohhhh I'm SO ready! While I was praying, God told me exactly what I need to do, and I'm excited! Don't you just love personal revelation?
For those of you who are going through the steps for the first time, step 9 (restitution and reconciliation) is not as intimidating as you might think it is from just reading it. Upon completion of this step, you are free. You are free of the inventory, the confession, and the pain your weaknesses have brought because you just made it all right. You've repented. You've turned yourself over to God. You're trying to do His will. And you have made every effort to restore peace to relationships that have been harmed. You've made restitution and reconciliation.
My first time through the 12 steps, I was really focused on relationships outside my house. After all, I had done an inventory of as much as I could think of from my life, and I had a lot more relationships to restore then than I do now. Because I've done step 10 (daily accountability) already, I've even done a pretty good job at repenting, seeking forgiveness, and restoring peace in my relationships as I make mistakes. Right now, I feel that the relationships I will be focusing on for step 9 are my relationships with Jack, self, and God. Well, my relationship with God is something I'm always working on, but I threw that in for good measure. Really, it's Jack and myself. Those were the main ones I identified in step 8.
Something that I have been struggling with a lot for the past two weeks is love. Love for Jack. I love him because he is my husband. I married him because I loved him, but do you see how I just got that backwards? I love him because he is my husband. He has hurt me a lot. We worked hard, and the move we made in December has been really good for both our relationship and his addiction. Things have been great this year until the past couple of weeks. Now, with his relapses, we've been fighting. A lot. I've been angry. A lot. I initiate a lot of the fights--kind of because I want his attention, and kind of because I just want to bring him down with me (sigh. just like Satan). Because of all the tension and anger, I've felt like the giddy love, the happy love is slipping away.
That sounds horrible. I really do love him at a very deep level. I also have moments where I feel that giddy, happy love slam me in the face. Like today, when we were driving home from the temple, and we were dancing in the car (I taught him how to have car dance-parties). I looked over at him, and I just had this feeling overpower me that he is just the cutest guy ever, and he is 100% perfect for me. And, I definitely wouldn't want a divorce. I actually let my thoughts go there one day last week. What would life be like if we divorced? The answer? Empty. My life would be empty because I do love him and he brings me so much joy. Our marriage brings me so much joy. But right now I am hurting. When I am hurting this way, the little things that annoy me, and the big things that hurt me all pile up and bring me down. And my love feels a little empty because of my pain. My love for him goes deep, but I feel like I can't reach it right now. I can't reach it from the beach I am stranded on. I feel like our love is floating away, and I don't want that to happen!
Really, he is in recovery mode. He has sincerely apologized. He has taken my crap and Satan-like attempts to bring him down with me. He hasn't gotten as mad as he maybe should at the way I have treated him lately. Granted, I also haven't gotten as mad as I could have about the relapse thing, so maybe we're even on that. Anyway, overall, he is recovering. He is trying, and that's all I can ask for right now. I really can't expect him to just be clean. He is trying so hard, and he sometimes gets more depressed than I do about the fact that he hasn't mastered his addiction yet. He is still learning. And so am I.
And I won't let the addiction tear away my love for him.
Wanna know something funny? Jack is a tad shorter than me. Whenever I get mad because of his addiction, there is always this unsettled anger that he is shorter than me and addicted to pornography and masturbation. As if him being taller would somehow make up for his addiction. It's ridiculous.
Remember that letter I wrote to Satan? Well, it was a little bout of courage and ferocity God gave me to gear me up for the hard times coming my way. I was prepared. I think that little fire helped me make it through the past couple of weeks. Now, I'm here to remind that evil being that God is on my side, and I like it that way. And He is helping me. Today, He gave me distinct revelation as to how I will restore and reconcile the love that is floating away in our marriage. That's what I was praying for, and that was the fastest answer to a prayer I've had in a long time (yet another sign that He is there, and I need to wait patiently on his timing for things...).
The Love Dare. Or the Husband Challenge. I haven't decided which one I will do yet. Both came to mind at pretty much the same time. Maybe I'll do both!
The Husband Challenge is something I was invited to on facebook a long time ago. There was a PDF and everything, so I saved it. I didn't actually do it because I was like, "Oh, we're fine" at the time. But I still have the challenge on PDF, so I can do it whenever I want to.
If you haven't heard of the Love Dare, go watch Fireproof. It's a Christian movie about a firefighter who is going through bad times with his wife (including his pornography addiction). They are on the verge of divorce, when, as a last hope, his dad challenges him to do this love dare. Then if things still aren't working, he could go ahead and file for divorce. It's not the best movie in the world (acting-wise), but the message is awesome. I actually wish we had more corny awesome-message movies in the world. It's by the same people who did Courageous, which was a great corny-awesome-message movie.
Restitution and reconciliation.
The Love Dare. The Husband Challenge.
Both of those are there to help us gain appreciation and love for spouses. God gave me revelation that it will help me restore the love I'm feeling is starting to get lost.
I'll probably do the Love Dare since it's Christian-based. If you have seen Fireproof and are wondering how I will do it, they made a book called The Love Dare. It's based on that movie. Jack got it for me for Valentine's day. That sounds a little self-serving on his part (haha, which is totally what I thought too at first), but he actually wanted to do it for me, and then I wouldn't let him. I said he got the book for me, and I was going to do it when he least expected it. Since I just made it public, and he reads my blog, he will know what is going on. But, hey, who cares, right?
I am seriously SO EXCITED for step 9! Like, you have no idea how much hope and light I feel right now, and it's a huge relief because of the dark hole I have felt like I've been in lately.
I'm excited because I know the Love Dare will bring me closer to Jack. I know it will bring our relationship closer to God. And it will help me feel peace and forgive myself for the pain and heartache I have caused.