When I was a young girl, I loved playing on a teeter-totter. I don’t see many teeter-totters on playgrounds anymore. Perhaps the need for protective helmets and shin guards take some of the fun out of my childhood playground equipment!
It is necessary to have a partner in order to use a teeter-totter. I remember one of my friends was not a very good totter partner. She and I would get a nice up and down rhythm going. I would love the cool breeze against my skin as I gently swayed toward the sky and then gently glided toward the ground. It was absolutely heavenly until my friend would purposely put her feet out so her seat would hit the ground hard and then she would just sit still without allowing the totter to move. The hard hit always gave me a jolt. I was helpless as I dangled up in the air. There was nothing to reach out to for safety. All I could do was hold on to the metal bar in front of me until the board moved and allowed me to find the safety of the ground again.
Sometimes I feel that living with a sex addict is like riding a teeter-totter.
My husband has been diligently and successfully working on his recovery for a while. I am progressing well in my healing from betrayal trauma. There are days and weeks when my husband and I fall into a nice steady groove of doing our daily self-care of, among other things, praying, studying scriptures, healthy eating, exercising, and getting plenty of rest. It is heavenly as we develop a healthy rhythm to our relationship. Communication is open and transparent. We laugh. We cuddle. We are optimistic about our future.
Then, without warning, we experience a rift in our relationship. It is often rooted in a small misunderstanding, but it almost always results in a temporary emotional withdrawal. When my husband suddenly becomes overly defensive, or withdraws emotionally, or is just irritable, I get jolted. The jolt is especially painful after enjoying a period of time when things seem to be moving along smoothly. I feel like he is hitting bottom and I am simply up in the air without many options. I become fearful and begin to believe that I can’t get back to the ground until my husband makes a changing movement.
But I am not helpless in my see-sawing life. There is a strong metal bar or rod in front of me that I can grasp. The bar does not bend. It is always there whether I’m the one in the relationship that is up or the one down. If I can cling to the handlebar long enough, I know things will eventually change. Life, like a teeter-totter, does not stay still for long.
The reliable thing that I can always grasp in order to get a handle on life is the Atonement of Christ. No matter if I’m enjoying a high or a low point in my marital relationship, Christ is always there in front of me. He is always waiting for me to come to Him again. Always waiting for me to reach my hands out and find a tight grip for safety. My life teeters, but Christ is always constant.
Helaman taught his sons this lesson when he reminded them that Christ, the Son of God, is a sure foundation, “a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall” (Helaman 5:12). We cannot fall nor will we teeter our way through life if we cling to Christ, our Redeemer and Savior.