In the Counselor's Office - Part 4 - Writing the Full Disclosure
Burris shares what it was like to write his full disclosure letter:
“Randy, this week I would like you to write out your entire sexual history from as far back as you can remember. When you come in with your wife next week, I will ask that you read it aloud to us and we will discuss what comes next. The more truthful you are with yourself and us, the better.”
I felt overwhelmed because I knew I had an extensive sexual history.
I felt skeptical about writing it, wondering if it would even help. But I was convinced I had nothing to lose, so on that fourth day I came home from work and plopped down on the couch to get busy writing.
When I first began to write, the history poured out onto the computer screen quite easily. But something happened when I came to a particularly bad season in my life where I gained a ton of sexual knowledge. It started around the time I was nineteen years old and I couldn’t help but wonder, had those explorative years not happened, what might have I been spared?
I felt guilty for giving away all of my sexual curiosity when I could have saved it for my wife. Something I hadn’t thought about before.
Because I work full time, and wanted a chance to really sit and ponder every detail of my history, the letter took me three days to write. I felt thankful once I finished because I had this sense of being at rock bottom and hoped for a chance to start over. Of course, that feeling changed the day I was scheduled to read it aloud in the counselor’s office.
As I sat down in the chair I felt scared as I began to read the letter aloud.
I was nervous, wondering if I was going to get an opportunity to make things right with my wife. In one aspect I reasoned that losing my marriage might be an easy out. But I couldn’t shake that losing her would not be easy because my wife and kids make up so much of who I am; losing them would mean losing half of myself.
Despite the tears of sadness, shame, guilt and inferiority, I finished reading the letter. I glanced to see the look on my wife’s face, instinctively wanting to distance myself from the pain I caused. Instead, I leaned into the truth of who I really was.
I hadn’t done that before.
It seems that in this moment (and possibly at the cost of my marriage) I was freed from living an exhausting double life. Everything was out in the open. Although this pain was not going to rewrite my history, it was going to drive me to repentance, and give me the choice to walk in the light of truth from here on forward. Now the scary question; would my wife decide to stay married to me? Could she ever forgive me for betraying her so badly?
Could anyone possibly love me after knowing everything I had locked away?
The counselor turned to my wife, and declared;
“You have the right to know everything your husband is doing. The ball is in your court and I would like you to come up with a list of boundaries and expectations for your husband that will help you feel safe. Anything goes. Here is a list of ideas and you can add anything you want.”
As we walked out the office that day with a homework assignment out of my control, I had this sense that walking in the light from here on forward was about to test me in ways I never knew possible.
And this is where I step back and let her share the list she came up with.
”But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)