We both grew up in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. We were both young professionals with lots of friends. We met at a church, at a Bible Study. Sam was 29. Beth was 25.
It was the perfect, Christian romance. Beth was on the worship team and Sam was in seminary. Beth was a social worker and Sam had been in youth ministry. We courted, mostly at church and in the context of ministry functions. When we got married, four ministers–all friends–performed the service. Beth supported Sam while he finished his studies. Upon graduation from seminary, Sam took a job working in a ministry with young adults and Beth got a job working for an adoption and counseling agency. Then Sam took a job as an associate pastor in Florida and we moved to the Jacksonville area.
The job as an associate pastor led to a job as a senior pastor. Beth quit working outside the home to raise our three sons. The church grew and Beth led a vibrant women’s ministry. And so it went for over 20 years. Everything was working out–on the outside.
On the inside, there were growing tensions. Fueled by this new thing called the internet, Sam’s secret addiction to pornography was growing. After a particularly stressful season at the church, Sam’s dysfunctional sexuality caught up with him. In a time of moral and spiritual weakness and physical exhaustion, Sam had a brief affair. Sam revealed the affair to the church and resigned.
One of the painful effects of Sam’s resignation was that not only did he lose his job but we also lost our church community.
We tried to get counseling but we soon discovered that very few counselors were familiar with sex addiction or knew how to help couples repair from an affair. No one, it seemed, could help us out of the quicksand in which we found ourselves.
Finally, after much searching, we found a therapist who helped us to see our marriage in a new way, using the framework of a therapy called EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy). The insights of EFT were helping us see our negative patterns from a different perspective. The negative cycle into which we had fallen over decades was the enemy, not each other. We were surprised at how quickly we were able to progress seeing each other and our relationship from this perspective.
In the meantime, Sam was learning new things about the nature of his addiction–how it worked in his body and how it wreaked havoc in his mind and spirit. Beth and Sam, together, took the training to become CSATs (Certified Sex Addiction Therapists). In the two years it took to get the training, we were the only couple we encountered who took the training together. It opened our eyes to the nature of the problem and the path toward using our struggles to help others heal.
Today, we have a new marriage—better in every way. We are walking together, side-by- side, true partners on our journey. Still, we each have our scars and sometimes we each limp a little. But there is an old saying, “Never trust a leader who doesn’t limp.” We are ready to walk with you on your journey, to share what we have learned–both from our studies, our training, and our own journeys–and to offer a new sense of hope and purpose to you for your journey.