Plenty of marriages end in divorce. But today you are going to hear from a couple who’s divorce didn’t really work out for them. Tray and Melody Lovvorn share their story of marriage, addiction, divorce, and remarriage to one another. Their story is going to strengthen your own marriage.
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Tray and Melody Lovvorn are a husband and wife team who have created the Undone Redone Ministry. In addition to their podcast, they provide seminars, coaching, a website, and support for men and women needing help in their marriage and parenting. Tray and Melody were married for 11 years before pornography addiction dissolved their marriage. After six years of divorce, God brought healing and transformation to their lives. They reunited in marriage together and are now on their second 11-year anniversary. I highly recommend that you visit their website and their podcast.
- I began looking at pornography at a very young age, and I didn’t know how to deal with emotions going through me at that time. It became my go-to escape and where I went when I had emotional problems.
- You can have a sin addiction, but you can be fooling yourself that it’s not that bad because you can see growth in other areas of your life, including spiritual areas.
- God doesn’t cut us off because we have one or two messed up areas.
- The more I was struggling, the more I felt like “Well I know God’s faithful on His side, but I keep messing up my end of the deal.”
- Porn is a gateway to the Gospel because it actually introduces us to the reality of Gospel – that it was never about our good choices. It was about the finished work of Christ.
- I thought marriage was going to fix my problem with sexual sin, but it didn’t.
- For me, the problem wasn’t something that you could put your finger on. Tray would be there physically but not emotionally. I thought we were a team, but I would look around and think “Where’d he go?”
- There’s a lot of confusion and you think: “Wait, I thought I was taking care of you, I thought I was loving you well.”
- The enemy loves to come in and just stir all that up.
The Path to Divorce
- All the hidden emotions and secrets exploded after 8 years of marriage, but I (Tray) was very motivated to not be divorced.
- We felt like God was bringing us back together, but I (Tray) had not gone to the root issue of the problem. I was so focused on the outward behaviors.
- It was like a tree – I was looking to saw off the branches, but I had not really gone to the deeper root issues of my brokenness.
- Community is absolutely key.
- When we look at just how shame grows and thrives, it needs three things. It needs silence, secrecy, and isolation. And so, if we need an antidote for that, we need to show up and share our stories in community with one another. And that’s what’s going to dispel shame.
- Clinically what we’re dealing with is an intimacy disorder.
- You can’t find healing from an intimacy disorder in isolation.
- Life got stressful and hard and I (Tray) reverted to what I had always done to medicate the pain in my life – pornography.
- Many women don’t understand that sometimes loving someone and letting them go and turning them over to the Lord is maybe the most loving thing you can do.
- The opposite of love is indifference.
- Indifference means you have separated in very unhealthy ways.
- After our divorce, I began to hear the Gospel and understand that the purpose of the law is to see our desperate need for grace.
- I had to really wrestle with the Father in the deep places of pain and understand that I had spent my life avoiding and medicating pain when the healing was on the other side of the pain.
Healing and reconciliation
- There was no win in the divorce. Tray’s sin was exposed before our marriage ended and my heart was exposed after our divorce. Outwardly, I looked really good, but privately I could be as angry as I wanted with him.
- We tried to hide it from our kids because we didn’t want them to feel like they were caught in the middle. ‘
What made our reconciliation possible was:
- Melody kept me alive in the home. Sharing memories of me and praying with the kids for me.
- Understanding the Gospel that I had never really understood, which was God loved me and His grace was transforming power not only saving power.
- I didn’t know who I was as a man in Christ and so I looked to Melody to validate me and then to pornography and other women to justify who I was as a man.
- If you’re looking for somebody else to complete you, you will be perpetually incomplete.
- One of the main things we teach couples is that marriage is difficult by design. God uniquely uses the relationship of marriage as a part of our sanctification.
The Journey to Remarriage
- As we journeyed individually back to a deeper understanding of His heart, we realized that we weren’t the same people we were married to before.
- I began to realize who I was as a man and I began to live out of my true identity.
- Understanding that God loves me gave me courage to go into my brokenness.
- We dated in secret because we didn’t want our kids’ hopes to get up if it didn’t work out.
- By facing our fears, seeing a counselor, and trusting in the Lord, we finally got to the point where it was time to come public and get remarried.
- We slowly let our kids and family integrate back into this.
As a parent, how do you set a culture that doesn’t drive your kids to shame if they find themselves faced with the issues of pornography and its manifestations?We’ve got to prepare our children. we’ve got to shepherd their hearts. We don’t expose them to inappropriate things, but we don’t pretend the world is different than it is. If we have ongoing conversations with our kids, we are communicating to our kids that we care and that we want to protect them. We create connections with our kids, and we create trust. It’s about shepherding their hearts and not so much being focused on their outward behavior. When we’re focused on outward behavior, shame is a very good tool to get to that desired behavior. But it does nothing to shepherd their hearts. It is damaging to our children’s hearts in the long run.