Accountability was a huge step in my journey into sexual healing. But the next major moment of change in my lust story happened when I met HER, that is, Shauna — the girl I’d end up marrying.

She was just so…so… wow. It didn’t take long before we were the best of friends. Soul mates. It wasn’t much farther down the pike from soul mates that we realized we were going to spend the rest of our lives loving each other. Which meant she needed to know what she was getting into. Aw, nuts.

I’ll never forget the moment. We sat on my bed in my basement room, and my face felt like it kept going from beat read to deathly white. My shame was so palpably heavy that I couldn’t look her in the eyes. I told her everything. EVERYTHING. For twenty minutes (half an eternity), I poured out my heart. Cried. Felt my stomach turn. Dreaded what would happen when I was done. There was about five seconds of silence, and then she began to speak. I couldn’t hear her. I was too numb. And then she touched me. I felt her hand on my chin, raising my gaze until my eyes were locked on hers. And instead of disgust I saw… I saw… God, looking back at me through her. I saw love. I saw grace.

From that moment on, I wanted, I needed, to be clean for Shauna. She deserved my purity. With a newfound determination, I managed to prayerfully whittle my falls down to once a week. Then twice a month. Then once a month. Pretty awesome. But you see, those once a month falls still wrenched me pretty badly because I knew they hurt her. That’s when God and I had a monumental chat. I was so angry at myself. So disgusted after one particular fall that I was beside myself. “I wish I could just promise You and her that I’d never masturbate again!” I muttered angrily.

“Why don’t you?” He asked.
“Why don’t you?”
Huh? But isn’t that impossible? Isn’t that just setting myself up for failure? All I can say is, that time it felt different. Fateful. Powerful. So I made the promise. With all my heart. And I told Shauna, adding another promise: “I will never masturbate again,” I said, “but any time my heart crosses the lust line in any way I’ll tell you. Not what I did, to spare you the details. But that I did. So you never have to wonder where I am in this whole struggle.”

That was sixteen years ago. Four years later, I broke the masturbating promise once. Just once, and believe me, it nearly killed me. And after that, never again. And I have never, ever, NOT confessed when I’ve slipped. Ever. More on that tomorrow. Because the best was yet to come.

Read Part Six: Self Control