I have been a Christian, a member of the church of Christ, since the age of 13. I also have been in the grasp of sexual addiction all that time. I married, almost a quarter century ago, a beautiful Christian lady who deserved better. Through the years I have used porn and escorts to satisfy my addiction.
The porn my wife knew about. The escorts came to light recently. We've been separated for several months and she has filed for divorce. The decree will be signed soon.
I have been repentant and asked God and my wife for forgiveness. She claims to have forgiven me, but she still wants the divorce for closure. I have been attending a Christian-based sex addiction group since these things came to light, and I am making good progress. I am able to measure it by new feelings. When I see women on the street, they are no longer just objects. I am also going to a Christian psychologist to get a better understanding of my addiction. I informed the elders of our situation. They are supportive but feel they cannot get involved unless asked by my wife for counsel.
I don't want a divorce. I want God to change me into a better man and Christian for both me and my family. The question is I feel that my wife is not giving me a chance to change. Do I deserve one?
There is a difference between deserving a chance and receiving one. You spent a good portion of your life living a lie. You knew you were living in sin. At any moment during your life you could have died in your sins. It is only by the grace of God that you lasted this long and have a chance to change your life around.
The problem is that all sins have consequences. You stated your wife knew about your use of pornography. That tells me that she was very likely unhappy in her marriage and that you two had a lot of unresolved issues, yet she held on for a long time. Perhaps she believed she couldn't leave you without a cause of fornication. Many Christians hold that belief. Once your sins found you out (Numbers 32:23), she chose to leave. It won't have been because of just the last sin in which you were discovered but because of all the unresolved problems which had been building because you remained in your sins through the years. The reality is that she did give you a chance to change -- decades of years -- but you didn't until forced to face up to your sins. I'm sure your protests sound hollow to her after all these years.
All sins have an addictive property to them and, obviously, sexual sins are no exception. I'm a bit disappointed that you prefer to call what you have done an addiction rather than address it as God does by calling it sin. "Addiction" leaves a person with the impression that it was out of the person's control. "Sin" is a full acceptance of responsibility for the choices made. "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear" (Isaiah 59:1-2). A portion of coming out of sin is admitting that it had a hold of you. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:8-10).
It sounds as if you are making strides in overcoming sin, and I pray that you continue down this path. If the divorce does become final, then you will have to accept it as the consequence of a life of foolish behavior that it is, just as the murderer must often face the death penalty even though he has repented of his sins. There is a chance that even after the divorce she might change her mind and remarry you if you do show a complete change, but it will likely take years to gain any trust of you. Meanwhile realize that she does have the right to choose to marry someone else. You, however, have no right to another marriage because of your choice of sin.