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:
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.
When you read the bible, you realize that sexual sin issues and strongholds are NOTHING new. It is an area that will always be satan's battleground this side of heaven. He horrifically takes the beauty of what God created for GOOD and twists it and darkens it only to bring destruction. That is why, as followers of Christ, we need to hold on the the GOOD and expose the bad by speaking TRUTH about such things.
However, most churches just skim the surface and/or avoid addressing these subjects all together and the TRUTH that brings freedom is being replaced with the LIES that are holding many captive.
Unfortunately, it is so difficult for there to be transparency within the body of Christ when it comes to sexual sins and addictions. If an alter call is given for those struggling, the alter, in most churches, will remain empty. It is far too shameful and risky. WHY is that? In a world where we are bombarded with sexual images and promiscuity, it really makes NO sense!
Just walk through the halls of your local high school campus. NO fear there! Teenagers are talking about it and not even batting an eye. Young girls are becoming comfortable sending pictures of their nude bodies or "selfies" to their boyfriends. Sexting is now the "popular" was to communicate. Our young people are being trained at an early age that sexiness is what's important and brings significance to who you are. Our young boys are believing it, as well! Girls bodies are only objects to be glorified! As a senior girl in high school if you are not happy with how your are built, parents are giving the gift of boob jobs to only confirm what the world is telling them. UGH!!!! We are all buying into what the world says is important.
NO doubt, the pathway to destruction is an easy one. It starts with lust...with one look, with one selfish thought. Why arn't we talking about these things?
Where is the LIGHT that the church is called to be? Could it be that our light is being overshadowed by gray, luke-warm Christianity?
WHY isn't the church a safe place to address such things? Our young people WANT answers and guidance and WE as a whole are failing them in a huge way! WHY do we make it such a taboo subject when it is ALL around us?
These issues are REAL and they are destroying families and tearing our nation apart including "christian" homes.
Statistics prove that the majority of those addicted to porn are NOT outside the church any longer, but sitting in our church pews, leading our youth groups, teaching our children, and even preaching from our pulpits. Last I read was that 52% of the men sitting in our congregations are struggling with porn. That does NOT include all the young people who are struggling!! What? 52% is HUGE especially when you think of all of the wives, families and homes that are affected. These men are our spiritual leaders!
Yes, satan knows exactly what he is doing! It's the secret sin in our churches today! You can dress your Sunday best, speak your christianeese, attend every church service, give a great sermon, all without anyone ever knowing about the bondage that holds you captive. Sadly, even though the stats say that at least half of the men in our congregations are struggling, it seems that the church as a whole doesn't want to believe it nor address it! What's it going to take?
The TRUTH is, our men and boys are being bombarded with sexual JUNK everyday! How DOES a man live in this society and remain pure? Are they being equipped to handle the enemy's seduction or are they just being patted on the back and sent on their way as prime targets?
The silence has left ALL of us vulnerable and an open door for the enemy and his destruction to invade us to the very core. Shouldn't Pastors EVERYWHERE be speaking TRUTH about these issues and WARNING the body of Christ about these types of seductions? NOT just once a year, but continually!!! After all, let's be REAL....what do most men and yes, even "christian" men think about? What do most teenagers think about. SEX. Now days you can't avoid it with the way the world blatantly displays it!!! Our silence is allowing the dark seeds of this world to permeate and grow in the confines of our own churches and homes! Seriously, are we being courageous or cowards? Think about it!
Our culture handles it just the opposite. NO guessing what the majority boldly proclaims! They make it quite clear with no apologies! The MORE skin the better. Sex sales! THEY are not ashamed of it at all!! The bombard us with sexual images and innuendos day in and day out. It's ALL over the TV, the movies, in the media, the news, sporting events, billboards, on the internet....it is EVERYWHERE! The world is portraying a twisted, tainted, view of sexuality and they have everyone's attentions, including those who claim to be followers of Christ. They ARE influencing our hearts and we just accept it without saying a word.
The longer the church keeps silent the MORE casualties there will be in this WAR against the enemy!
How are our boys AND men going to know how to handle this kind of assault if they are not equipped? How will they learn the proper way to view women? ALL men need to be equipped BEFORE the addictions start and families are destroyed!! Isn't that what the church is for...the equipping of the saints? How about being PRO-ACTIVE instead of having to be reactive when a marriage is on the brink of divorce because of such things! Instead of practicing damage control why not educate, encourage, and speak TRUTH in hopes to HELP them avoid the minefields and the traps that satan sets for them on a DAILY basis?
This rant is long, I know and I have repeated some things over. However, it is my heart's cry to encourage Pastors, leaders and parents everywhere to be BOLD, to speak the REAL hard TRUTHS, and to expose the LIES of the enemy when it comes to sexual sin issues. Last time I checked, God takes it pretty seriously, why shouldn't we?
Let's get the conversations started! Let's talk about the MANY consequences that the world ignores! I won't go there on this rant but there are not only spiritual consequences but physical consequences, as well. UGH!!! There is a high price to be paid alright for our silence and you can be assured that our future generations will be paying for it long after we are gone if we continue to put our head in the sand. These issues are NOT going away, actually I am confident that the worst is yet to come! Then what?
The TRUTH is we need to teach AND equip with regards to these kinds of issues as boldly and unashamedly as the world portrays them! We need to take back the values that exemplify the character of CHRIST!
Sadly, instead of finding FREEDOM from such things at the alters of our churches, in community with believers...those held captive are walking away bound, wounded and fearful of being exposed. If our alters are empty because men and women are afraid to admit they are struggling (because MANY are), then something desperately needs to change! We need to create an environment of FREEDOM and HOPE where they can be REAL and transparent. Where else can a man or woman turn who desires HELP and needs deliverance and support? THEY NEED JESUS. They need the church to act and be as CHRIST intended. A place they can run to, not run from. Just sayin'. What do YOU think?
1 Cor 6:18 FLEE from sexual immorality.
Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to CONTROL his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the gentiles who do not know God.
Ephesians 5:5 FOR YOU CAN BE SURE OF THIS, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure or who is covetous (that is, an idolater) has no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
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!
Nearly 12 million people in America today fight a sexual addiction, according to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Pornography is recognized as an addiction in the counseling and psychological community. It has been treated similarly by Alcoholics Anonymous since the late 1970’s.
Addictions are labeled as diseases and disorders by the medical community. I’m not writing this to dispute those labels, but to speak to what my experience and education by said experience has taught me about addiction. And in particular, my (past) addiction to pornography (sexual addiction).
Pornography in and of itself is sin. Therefore, a pornography addiction is sinful. The bible teaches us this in 1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” Galatians 5:19 “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;”
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!
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........