In this guest column for SeekersHub, Danielle Adams from Lifestar Therapy offers advice to couples dealing with pornography and sex addiction.
Pornography and sexual addiction is a complicated issue, especially if you’re married to someone who is struggling with this fixation. You’ve probably felt shocked, angered, depressed, and resentful over your spouse’s problem. That’s normal. However, there are things you can do to help yourself move past the hurt and into a better place emotionally.
Follow these five tips to learn how you can improve your relationship, move toward forgiveness, and start feeling more love for yourself and your marriage.
1. Acknowledge the Addiction
When secrets are kept and problems aren’t acknowledged, distrust and fear will develop within a relationship. Before the healing process can begin, you and your spouse both need to recognize and admit that (a) there is an addiction, and (b) that relational distress is one of the many consequences of that addiction.
2. Get Help
Addiction isn’t something your spouse can just “get over.” Seek answers to your questions and get the support you need from a professional marriage therapist, a spiritual leader or trusted friend, and a support group. They can help you more fully understand how and why sex addiction starts, help you through your emotional trauma, and get you and your spouse on the path to recovery.
3. Invest in Yourself
Resist the urge to dwell on the unfortunate circumstances you now find yourself in. Instead, take this time to invest more fully into yourself. Write down some recovery or spiritual goals to work toward, serve others who are in need of help or support, enjoy healthy eating and exercising, and distract yourself with a new, fun hobby.
By focusing on your own goals, you’ll be distracted from your difficult situation and will give yourself some much-needed, much-deserved positive attention. By having more love for yourself, it’ll be easier to have more love for your spouse.
4. Support One Another
One of the most important things you can do to support one another during this trying time is to have full and open communication. Talk non-aggressively about feelings and struggles, trials and triumphs. Listen with an open heart and allow yourself to feel love and empathy.
You may also want to set clear physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual boundaries regarding your spouse’s behaviors and actions that might make you feel uncomfortable. By setting and keeping these boundaries, your spouse will be able to start earning your trust once again and you will have some control over how the situation affects you and your family.
5. Look Forward
There’s no need to continually dwell on the actions and mistakes of the past. It’s an ugly trap that you don’t want to find yourself residing in, keeping you miserable. By looking forward, together, each day will get a little easier. Recommit to rebuild trust, improve communication, and focus on the bright future of your marriage. Some days will be more difficult than others, but with time and patience, healing can be achieved and you will once again feel whole.
Resources for seekers
- How Can I Wean Myself off From Porn? – SeekersHub Answers
- Does Viewing Pornography Break One’s Fast? – SeekersHub Answers
- How do I Stop my Husband from Watching Pornography?
- How Can I Wean Myself off From Masturbation?
- What Should I Do to Make up Fasts Missed Because of My Addiction to Pornography and Masturbation?
- How Could Watching Porn Be Worse Than Zina?
- Help Your Kids Confront ‘The-P-Word’: Pornography, by Hina Khan
- “Too Embarrassed to Talk About It”
- My Father Watches Pornography, What Shall I Do? – SeekersHub
- Finding God Through The Chains Of Pornography Addiction
- How Can I Reconnect to My Husband Who Is Addicted to His Phone?
- A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation