I’m a terrible counselor,

I’m a terrible counselor,

One day, after 3 back to back coffee meetings with a couple of staff members and a new family in our church, I noticed that my phone had about thirty unread text messages. A twenty-something year old married guy who I actually considered a friend was relentlessly texting me. He requested that I call him immediately. It seemed like an emergency, so I called him and he franticly asked if I could come sit with him to talk about something he’s going through. Without pause I said, “of course, where are you? Is everything okay?” He held his cards close and kept it a mystery on the phone, and I agreed to meet him within the hour. I drove to our meeting place, a discreet coffee shop in Apex, and ordered my 4th cup of coffee for the day.

When he arrived, he was acting overly happy. He waved at me from the front door, loudly asking me if I had already ordered, and he even poked fun at the barista who had obviously seen him there before. It no longer seemed like there was an emergency. He sat down at the table with a cup of joe, and started telling me the backstory about how he met the barista at a party in High School. After a few minutes of small talk and acting like nothing was wrong, I interrupted him and asked, “So what’s up bro? You seemed really bothered by something on the phone, and I cancelled my afternoon to be here.”   

“My wife thinks I have a problem with lust,” he said. “Well, do you?” I asked. “I don’t think so,” he replied. “Then what’s the problem?” I asked.“She knows that I watch porn when she’s not home,” he responded.
I sat silently but I never broke eye contact. I really didn’t know what to say, but in my head I was thinking, “well obviously you DO have a problem with lust, but go ahead and keep dodging…”
Then he broke the silence, “Okay look, I probably do have a lust problem. I’ve been watching porn and jerking off about two times a day since before we ever got married. And the main thing I’m most concerned about right now isn’t even the porn. It’s snapchat. I’ve been snapping her best friend for the past few weeks and we have been talking about meeting up soon. I’m afraid if I don’t follow through it’ll make her mad and she will tell my wife that I’ve been sending her dick pics. So I have to go meet up with her, otherwise she’s gonna tell on me… and I don’t need this kind of drama.

His last sentence stunned me. I remained silent, collected my thoughts, and then my hands started to shake a bit. Unsure if it was the 4th cup of coffee or if it was my blood pressure rising, I asked, “Ok, why are you telling me this?”

“I dunno, maybe just so you could pray that I find a way to get out of this without hurting anyone,” he replied. The fire inside me overflowed into my eyes, “Look,” I said. “I love you and your wife. Both of you are my friends. I really don’t know where to start. On one hand, I want to pray with you. On the other hand, I want to kick you in the balls. Seriously bro, how the hell did you get this deep into a sexting relationship with another woman? And were you thinking that by talking to me, you could just unload all your guilt and keep living the way you are living? I am not a confession booth bro. I’m a friend, I’m a dude, and I’m pissed. You said you don’t want to hurt anyone. Well you’ve grieved the Holy Spirit, and you’ve sinned against your own body, and now you’ve pissed me off.”

He did not reply. So I took my pastor hat off, and continued,
“If you don’t man up and tell your wife, I will. And don’t give me any crap about it either or I’ll have to kick your ass for her. She deserves better, and you can do better. You have tell her by Friday what you’ve done, and I’ll be calling her this weekend to discuss it with her.”
He went home that day and confessed everything. I called on Saturday and referred a real therapist who helped them navigate the complexities of their relationship, and to this day they are still together and happily married.  

By now you are realizing something that I already know; I’m not exactly a candidate for “counselor of the year.”  If there was a way to score my levels of empathy, in most situations I’d score close to zero. However, if you are the wife of an idiot, then you would be happy your husband had a friend like me. I know it’s not eloquent, but if I can help your marriage by kicking your husband in the balls, then count me in. “But what do you do when wives have gone astray and aren’t being faithful to their husbands?” Well, wives don’t have balls, so I’d just skip that part and jump straight to the therapist referral. 

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