From the Blog

Married to a Sex Addict? 3 Important Tips to Help Your Relationship

After you learn of your spouse's pornography addiction, you’ll probably experience a whole gamut of emotions including shock, anger, desperation, depression, and more. You may feel like distancing yourself from your spouse and marriage, but there are better things you can do for healing.

 

Follow these three tips to learn how you can slowly, but surely, improve your relationship and begin to move forward on the path of forgiveness.

 

1. Educate yourself on addiction. The first thing you can do when you learn about your spouse’s addiction is to educate yourself on what addiction is, how it starts, and why it’s so hard to stop. Learn about the symptoms of relational trauma you may be going through during this time, such as fear, obsession, the need for control, and the unhealthy actions that might go along with these emotions.

 

Speak to a professional therapist for answers to your questions and to get the support you need, which can include a support group, therapist, spiritual leader, or trusted friend, in order to move forward on the road to forgiveness and healing.

 

2.  Distract yourself. At this time of struggle it’s easy to get into the trap of analyzing every last detail of your spouse’s sex addiction. Resist the urge. Dwelling on unpleasant details won’t help you and will probably make you feel even worse.

 

Instead of keeping yourself in misery, now is a good time to invest more energy in yourself. Here are a few productive ways you can build your spirits up during this difficult time:

 

  • Set recovery goals and write them down
  • Connect with a support community and/or clergy member
  • Set up a weekly night out with yourself or with friends
  • Learn a new skill or start a hobby you’ve always wanted to have
  • Start a new exercise regime
  • Get plenty of good sleep
  • Serve others who are in need

 

By giving yourself a positive distraction from the struggles, you’ll replenish your soul and have more energy to effectively deal with your relationship.

 

3. Work to rebuild trust. The most important thing you can do for your spouse and your marriage is to encourage them to seek professional help from a marriage therapist (preferably who specializes in pornography and sexual addiction) to help them quit porn.

 

At the same time, the two of you can talk openly with your therapist for relationship guidance and healing. Set boundaries with your spouse to stop behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Once these are set and followed, trust can start to build up again.

 

Communicate openly and non-aggressively throughout the healing process. Have the hard conversations. Learn to use “I” and “me” to avoid sounding accusatory, such as “I’ve noticed that…” or “Lately, I’ve been feeling…” By formatting your sentences more around your feelings, your spouse will not go on the defensive and will, more likely, hear what you have to say.

 

This is not an easy time, so remember to practice patience with yourself and with your spouse. Each day is each of you must recommit towards healing and working together (and individually) to rebuild the trust, improve communication, and focusing on your future.

 

About the Author: Danielle Adams is a freelance writer who works with Lifestar Therapy (http://www.lifestartherapy.com/). She is committed to helping people practice open communication and build healthy relationships.

 

 

 

 

Summertime Survival for Wives

Summertime used to be my favorite season...that is up until my heart and mind was tainted due to my husband's addiction to porn. As a young person and even into my young adult years, I loved all that summer represented including swimming pools, beaches, water parks, suntanning, boating, hiking, biking and the great outdoors.  However, throughout the years of my heart being wounded, something changed in me.  The season I used to look forward to and enjoy immensely, I began to dread. As each summer approached, my mind would fill with apprehensions and uneasiness.  I knew that as the temperatures went up, many would be stripping down to the bare minimum.  String bikinis, short shorts, crop tops, high hemlines, cleavage and simply put, bodies put on display just to catch the eye of MY husband...at least that is how it felt. Unfortunately, I began to resent everything to do with summer.   I know I am not alone.

Many women who have walked through the aftermath of their husband's sexual addiction experience the same overwhelming, unwanted feelings.  Though it is not talked about, there is a silent battle raging throughout the summer months for these precious and beautiful wives.

You see, if we are not careful, sexual betrayal can cause this hyper-sensitive response and insecurity in us towards anything and everything that we feel may cause our husbands to "lust".  We worry.  We fear. We wish we could just skip the season all together.  For many, this kind of stronghold becomes the new "normal" and instead of facing the root of the problem, those roots only grow deeper as each summer comes and goes.  Not good!  SO does it have to be this way?

Let's step back and think about this.  I don't know much but this I do know;  Summer comes every year, and our enemy knows He can use it to steal our JOY and cause us to miss out on creating so many beautiful memories and moments with our families. Friends, hasn't he stolen ENOUGH from us already?  He doesn't stop at trying to destroy our husbands with porn,  he is out to destroy us as well! He will use our husband's past, our already struggling insecurities, and God's beautiful season of summer to strip us of the very strength and dignity that God has already picked out for us to wear!  

SO, what's a girl to do? How can we overcome this and take back our summers?   There is no easy answer but this is what I came up with.

What we CAN'T do....(kind of obvious, but good reminders)

We can't protect our husbands from seeing beautiful women with lots of skin showing.
We can't change our culture and the trends of short shorts, low midriffs, string bikinis and cleavage galore.
We can't make our husband's look the other way.
We can't be hermits and live secluded from this sexualized culture.
We can't be our husband's Holy Spirit...though we may try, it will only hurt us more than it will help them. (trust me on this one!)

What we CAN do....

*We can get on our faces before God and ask Him to heal us from the unhealthy consequences that our husband's porn addiction has had upon our hearts and minds.

*We can release our husbands to God and trust Him to convict and speak to their heart when necessary.
We should be open and transparent with our husbands about our triggers and struggles. Once this is done, we must let it go. WE are responsible to be honest and to allow God to work in US.  It is our husband's responsibility to allow God to work in Him.

*We can quit watching our husbands to see if they are bouncing their eyes OR taking that second and third look. This is a hard one.  Let me stop here and say that in the initial days of recovery, I believe you should expect your husband to bounce his eyes and even look away as part of his steps towards deliverance. However, as time goes by and your husband continues to prove that he is serious about his recovery,  it may be you that needs to check to see if you are now the one obsessed with looking.  Not at others, of course but at your husband to "catch" him looking more than what you feel is appropriate. As wives, there is something in each of us that longs to be the ONE... the ONE our husband adores, the ONE he wants to look at, the ONE that catches his eye and keeps it.  Sometimes your husband may pass your watchful test and sometimes he won't.  Sisters, why do we let this control us and steal our peace? Why do we have to KNOW?  Lord help us! Where does trusting God with ALL of our hearts play out in these kind of scenarios?

We need a strategic battle plan on how to respond to OUR triggers...(again, it is OUR triggers, not our husband's triggers that we are to work on.  Every woman's battle plan will look a little different but here are some ideas to get you started.

1.  STOP scanning the area for women that you THINK will catch your husband's attention..  I know you do it...just stop! Has doing this helped you any?  Has it benefited your marriage?  Does it encourage you to be more like Jesus? YOU can overcome this!

2.  THINK GOD THOUGHTS. When you are feeling insecure and the need to watch your husband and what he looks at, stop.  Get a scripture that you can remind yourself of during this moment, or something to think about that turns your focus AWAY from your husband. This will take hard work and discipline at first. Do it and keep doing it.  It will get easier!

3.  PREPARE AHEAD OF TIME.  One sweet lady suggested that when you are going to be in an environment that you know is going to be hard for you and possibly your husband, be very intentional to start the day by getting into God's word and praying together and then end your day sharing about your day.

Consider this:
Think about how you feel when you go to dinner or out for fun with your girlfriends. You are not at all worried or concerned or feel threatened by the other women around you...how they look or how they are dressed.  Practice this same "freedom" with your husband.  ENJOY your time with him instead of allowing the enemy to torment your mind with imaginations and insecurities.  Life is way too short! Sister, Christ came to set you FREE and enable you to walk in divine freedom everyday!

Have you considered the root problem of what you are dealing with? Of course all wives want to be noticed, adored and the most beautiful woman in the eyes of their husband, but you and I both know that this goes beyond the normal feelings of a wife to a downright stronghold if we are not careful. I believe the hard truth is that within these insecurities is an ugly, stinkin' cesspool of jealousy, pride, and even fear.  ALL of which the bible talks about as SIN. Is it worth it?  Sin separates us from the very ONE who loves us unconditionally!  Seriously, no man on this earth is worth separating us from our Lord and Saviour.

Over the years, I have battled this very same yuckiness. So I get it.  I have won some and lost many.  However, since my husband began his recovery over five years ago,  I have been very intentional about where we go on vacation.  I believe in the get-go of recovery for both husband and wife, there may be a season that you forgo placing yourselves in environments that could cause issues for either spouse.  However, you can't stay stuck there, at least that is not what my heart desires. In the last five years, we have been to the beach one time and it was not easy.  Do I remember the moments that upset me, NO.  But what I do remember is allowing my insecurities to steal my peace, my joy and oneness with my husband.  Just next week, we will return  there.  It has been several years now since our last visit.  We have grown, we have matured some and we are further along on this journey of healing and restoration.  Am I worried? I am not sure if worried is really the appropriate word.  I am more concerned than anything.  No so much about my husband but about me.  I want to let go of my pride, my selfishness, my past and take back the JOY of summer!  It is not up to my husband, it is up to me. I WILL be implementing some of the things listed above.  I WILL choose ahead of time how I am going to respond to my insecurities and that choice is easy when I remember that my security is NOT in my husband, but in my God who is with me, for me and loves me extravagantly. You see,  Jesus and I have been through a lot together and I know in my heart He is faithful as He has proven Himself time and time again. I believe you have experienced that, as well!   It is Him who makes me brave and able to overcome the messiness this unintended journey has brought upon my heart.  He has clothed me with strength and dignity and I will choose to act like it and think like it! I will not allow the enemy to strip me of the beauty that God sent His son to purchase for me!

What about you?  Are you ready  to experience freedom and actually have some summer fun for a change?  The truth is, the only real security you and I have in this life comes from our relationship with Christ. Is that enough for you?  Let. It. be. Sister, even if your husband was to never struggle with eyes that wonder, He will fail you in some other area.  He is not God, nor should he be elevated to a place in your heart that gives him the power to steal your peace and joy.  Lean into Jesus and pray for a deeper revelation of how very much you are loved. God created you unique and special.  Remember who you are in Christ and do NOT throw away your confidence with the changing seasons! Now go, sweet friend and ENJOY the rest of your summer!

We need your help!

When I see the stats regarding “Christian” men who are struggling with an addiction to porn my heart breaks! Why? Because for every husband who is struggling there is a wife who is broken.  She is left hurt, isolated, full of shame… not knowing where to turn. Her husband’s secret is now her secret and she is being destroyed from the inside out.  These wounded sisters need help.  They need a safe place where they can be understood and encouraged.  I am SO thankful to share with you that Freedom Begins Here is offering such a place.  We have created a closed Facebook page for these women to find HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT from other women who have experienced healing and wholeness in Christ.  The Facebook page is called "In Your Shoes" and can be found  by clicking on the link above.

We also have a support group of women in Northwest Arkansas who meet on a monthly basis.  You can find out more info about that OR encouragement for starting your own by visiting www.freedombeginshere.org and clicking on the contact tab.

SO……………. How can YOU help?

**If YOU love someone who struggles with a porn addiction, this ministry is for YOU!  It may be a husband, daughter or son.  It doesn’t matter.  This is your personal invitation to join us.  You do NOT have to walk through this difficult season alone.  There is HOPE in Christ and in community with sisters who will love you, support you and encourage you on your journey towards healing and wholeness! Friend, be courageous and join us today!

**If YOU are a woman who has experienced healing in Christ from this kind of betrayal, please carefully consider joining us in ministering to those who are wounded.  (2 Cor 1:3-4)  The pain in your past can be used for GOOD!  Friend, Trust me, you do not have to be a counselor or psychologist...all you have to be is available.  As God has comforted you, you can comfort others and give them HOPE.  You WILL be blessed by being a blessing!

**If YOU know of anyone who you feel would benefit from this ministry, please pass this information along to them.

**If none of the above applies to you, we STILL need YOUR support.  We ask for your prayers.  

Pray for our sisters, husbands, children, families, churches, and nation to be set FREE from the seduction of porn that is running rampant in our world today.  Pray that darkness would be brought to light.  Pray that the body of Christ will step up and address sexual issues as boldly and unashamedly as the world portrays them.  Pray that our churches, families and future generations will KNOW the TRUTH and be equipped to handle this war strategically and intentionally.

Together we CAN make a difference!

Just for Today; Encouragement for my Hurting Sisters

As a NEW YEAR begins, many will take time to reflect on the past twelve months;  the joys, the growth, the changes, the challenges along with the tears, the regrets, the losses, the hurts and the pain.

Although a new year is dawning, many have hurts from yesterday that will carry over.

Some sisters are still on their arduous journey of healing while others may have just begun. Friend,  I don't know where this new year finds you, what hurts you woke up with today, what wounds are gaping open or what thoughts torment you. However, I do know that in the darkness of betrayal, Jesus illuminates that darkness with the light of His enduring love and there He embraces His beloved, broken daughter.  Friend, this is where your healing begins!

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What If I Can't Trust My Husband?

When you got married your expectations were high, you were so in love. You had found someone you could finally give your heart to.  Unfortunately, soon after the honeymoon,  you found out that just because he was your husband and vowed to love you "till death do you part", he was human, imperfect and capable of causing you much pain. Two imperfect people coming together did not equal perfection like the childhood dreams you envisioned. This wasn't supposed to happen,  Your husband was supposed to be the ONE person you could finally TRUST.  With much disappointment,  you realized that trust would, once again, be a struggle. SO then what?



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A Wife's Misplaced Anger

When a wife has been wounded by her husband's choices, many emotions come to the forefront.  Anger is one of them. 

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Love Letter to a Porn Star

My love letter to you.....

This is a very hard letter to write, I am struggling to find the words.  I know you don't know me but  I am all too familiar with you. I hope you will hear my heart as I share with you the impact you have had on my life and my marriage.  Please bear with me as I preface this letter by giving you a glimpse of what my world has looked liked........

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