I am on my face before the Lord as I write this because I need Him to fill me with abundantly more grace than I’m feeling right now.
Yes, you are my first one-star review and very likely not my last. I would disregard your review as oh-so-many who have gone before have advised. However, because of the nature of your review, I simply cannot ignore it. (I think many can learn from this unfortunate tale.)
While I was on vacation with my family this summer you sent an inquiry through my website that simply asked:
I have a question … did Mrs. Tiede divorce her first husband because of his addiction to porn?
Or did she divorce him because he had physical relationships with other women outside his marriage?
The book was unclear to me.
I prayed long and hard about whether or not to reply to your questions. I get a lot of emails and comments from readers and though I try to reply as often as I am able, I cannot possibly respond to all. …You might not believe this, but … I have a life beyond this book. (See? Something else you didn’t know about me!)
Nevertheless, I asked God what I owed you (my reader). I value, respect, and am so grateful for my readers and know that they wouldn’t be reading my book unless they had a need for it. (Translation: Their husband is struggling with pornography.) So, Mrs. OSR, let me begin by telling you that I’m sincerely sorry that you had a need to purchase my book in the first place. I know you must really be hurting. I know, because I’ve been in your shoes. I know, because I’ve talked to thousands of women who have been in our shoes.
Here’s why I didn’t respond to your email last month…
- You gave me no context to know why you were asking the questions.
- I believed (and continue to believe) that I was as transparent as God called me to be in When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart.
- My ultimate reasons for getting a divorce were between my first husband, God, and me.
- In my book, I did not set out to bash my first husband. I was very intentional about giving only as much information about his addiction as was necessary and no information about his identity in order to protect his privacy. I didn’t feel it was necessary to share every sordid detail of my marriage with my readers in order to lead them to the cross, so that they might find healing for their wounded heart in the arms of the Wonderful Counselor.
- Instead, I focused on me in the book; my response, my need to turn to my Savior for healing, and the mistakes I made.
- Writing “When Your Husband” was almost as difficult as walking through the experience the first time and I do believe that I’ve done exactly what God asked me to do. I’ve told as much as He’s asked me to tell. I wept over the pages of the book, but it wasn’t necessary for me to bleed too.
- In order to lay it all on the line and not lead my readers to have any confusion, I stated very clearly in the introduction of the book that I am not in favor of, nor was I setting out to promote divorce – quite the opposite. (Please reread the introduction.) I also made it very clear that I believe God restores marriages and desires for us to live according to His standard.
Then I read your review on Amazon …
… and I realized that when I chose not to respond to your email, you opted to jump to many erroneous conclusions.
I could leave it there – shake my head – walk away from it knowing that God and I are still good. But by casting the judgment on my life-choices without the most significant information, you cast the same judgment on every other Sister-in-Christ who has had to make equally painful decisions.
(I’m making an assumption now too … that you are, indeed, a Sister-in-Christ, but I’ve looked at your other reviews and based on your reading selections, I think I’m making a safe assumption. I also see that I’m not your first one star review, so I feel a little bit better. One star reviews love company?)
I’m left with a choice now … do I tell you more or don’t I? How do I share information with you? You’ve managed to quote my written words out of context once already; can I trust that you won’t do the same if I send a reply to your email? I’ve prayerfully concluded that a blog post is my best option. If you are asking the questions and forming opinions, then perhaps there might be others who also haven’t read the book closely enough and need me to be more clear. So this post is to clear up any confusion. It may also serve as a poignant lesson for others who are tempted to judge without all the facts.
Scripture has something to say about throwing stones. I’m guessing there’s a lot of pain behind your words and if knowing the answers to the pointed questions you asked will somehow relieve your pain, then I will tell you more than I believe any of my readers need to know …
Did I divorce my first husband because of his addiction to porn? Absolutely not (Nor do I advise my readers to do so. Likewise, I never suggest that self-gratification is a sufficient reason for divorce. However, I wouldn’t presume to judge someone who did need to make that decision, because I’m not -nor should I be- privy to all the details of their relationship.)
Did my husband have physical relationships outside of our marriage? (My paraphrase of your question) Yes
I’m going to take this a step further and answer your follow-up questions too …
Did he move well beyond level 1 or level 2 sexual addiction? Yes
(See the introduction of my book in order to refresh your memory of what these levels are. Oh, wait, you returned the book. Never mind.)
Was my physical, emotional, and spiritual health endangered because of the choices he was making? Yes (I endured years of testing for STIs – particularly those that are incurable. It’s been 17 years since our divorce and I still have occasional nightmares as a result of the trauma.)
It doesn’t seem to be a very Christian response to judge what I’ve been through, just as I wouldn’t presume to make judgments about what you’ve perhaps been through. I’ve spoken with thousands of women about this issue and I have NEVER promoted divorce, though I did feel that I had a responsibility to address the fact that there are sometimes circumstances that make a marriage irreconcilable.
May I be so bold as to offer some unsolicited advice, One Star Reviewer?
Please remember that you don’t know what you don’t know. Unless you are able to have a face-to-face conversation with a person, and you have earned the right to be trusted with their deepest hurts and the pieces of their broken heart, then DO. NOT. JUDGE.
I really don’t owe you any further explanation. I sincerely am sorry that you seem to be bearing the pain of someone else’s choices – but please take care not to cause others to bear the pain of your choices too. I pray that if/when God calls you to be transparent … to walk out 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 … and to demonstrate compassion and care to those who are hurting, that your ministry would be met with grace and that no one would feel the need to wound you further with their words.