153 How do I trust my spouse after pornography use

Aug 07, 2022


153 How do I trust my spouse after pornography use

25 min 5 sec


I'm Zach and I'm Darcy, did you know that pornography doesn't have to destroy you or your marriage where the parents of eight, active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and we love to help people just like you, we're here to share hope and healing as we take you through our journey, the journeys of our amazing clients to Greater Joy and love Come Grow With US to a happier more meaningful life, Welcome to the self-mastery podcast. Everybody and welcome to another beautiful Mastery Monday here on the self-mastery podcast. I'm your host Zach Stafford and I brought Darcy with me. So, I told you guys last week, we said that last week, we would be doing an episode to last week's episode was on, how do I become more trustworthy as a partner this week? It's how do I trust my spouse after pornography? So, hey Darcy, they do good to see you. I think this is a really good topic because last week essentially with like, you know, I guess we got you at the title which was how do I get my wife to trust me? But the truth is, don't you become more trustworthy? This is something that is in a lot of the literature and a lot of the groups out there. The idea that if you're betrayed your partner has to make you safe and we see this slightly differently, we see this as a 2-way street and that's not to say that if someone makes a breach within the relationship, their viewing pornography or there may be having an affair, whatever that is that they're not 100% responsible for their action and that has an impact on you, right? That is important to recognize but it's also the meaning frame that we bring to our relationships. 


Has many times. Been you make me happy and I make you happy. And I think one of the things that we're going to talk about today is the framework of how do I trust my spouse. After pornography use is really that it's there's a lot more that you have control over in your own happiness and we're going to see that in some of the work that we talked about the first one that we want to talk about tonight is creating realistic expectations. So, Darcy, when you think about the journey that we've made, how does this fit into that? A lot of us and our Ideal World. It said, you know, her husband's look at pornography or, you know, that he looked at pornography again. Want our husbands to commit. Stopping that behavior right with want? Stop it. For a lot of us. It's like, no, I want this to stop now or I really want this to stop last, right? I want this to stop before it happened. Yes. Being able to trust. 


Some of the things that come to mind for me is instead of looking at my partner and you know what, I expect him to do is to take a step back and look at myself and think, okay? There's what is it that I have to deal with my emotions shopping and can be eating? It can be just social media, any number of things, and look and say, okay. 


How likely is it for me to stop? Whatever it is that I use to cope with the difficulties of life. Now imagine if your partner comes to you and says hey the way you've been handling your emotions, it needs to stop. I can you stop now, think about what that would be like for you. And I think oftentimes that's kind of what we do with our spouses around the struggle of pornography. And so Okay, if I myself would not be able to just stop, whatever it is that I'm doing, just because my partner wants me to or heck, even if I want to stop it. Then how realistic is it? For me to expect, Perfection around, pornography any imperfections, which wouldn't be able to do. And I think it's, you know, oftentimes we want the right answer. We want our partner to be like yeah, I'll never do it again. Done. I always think, you know, when really strict expectations and really strict rules, oftentimes. I think it creates a lot of Heidi and a lot of dishonesty. And so, if we're setting the expectation so high, which yeah, of course, we don't want our spouse to look at pornography and we don't think it's a good thing to look at pornography and we don't like looking at pornography writing. But when We have really high expectations around this, then it creates an environment. I think that oftentimes creates a perfect environment for lying. Yeah. And I think this leads, to the next one, which is don't make their behavior about you and this is really important. Their behavior is going to impact you. There's no question about that. I think it's really important to, you know, there's a lot of coaches out there that say, you know, you're feeling. 


They're your own, and no one else gives you feelings know else, creates feelings and to a certain extent, I think that's true. But I also think it's important to recognize that in a marriage or in a, you know, clearly defined relationship. Your partner does impact you, they don't create your feelings but it really does impact you. So, knowing that we have the work that we have to do which is don't make their behavior about you. I think for a lot of us when we think about pornography, We, oftentimes look at it especially in the church as like sexual deviance or, you know, sexually acting out or we just we very much. Look at it as an oftentimes. We look at things, you know, sexual nature as being next to murder. So it makes complete sense that when we think about pornography and we think about our spouse looking at pornography that automatically it. 


Even if we don't, even if we know, it's not about us. We still often times under the layers, make it mean, something about us. How do you get to trust? Not making it about me. I think that the trust comes from an honest assessment that their behavior isn't designed to hurt you, you know, so often we deal with, you know, we have clients who have couples that come in and, you know, the wife wants, the husband to stop this behavior immediately. And You know, they'll go to any lengths but it's his problem, it's only his problem and it's not something that she can fix or do anything about. And I think that in part is a distancing that's occurring, but that behavior is, you know, we feel like well it's about me. I can't tell you how many times I talk to clients and their pornography viewing started when they were 8 9 10, 11 12, High School even after their mission before they ever knew their spouse existed. And so, not, not thinking well, it doesn't matter that he chooses this Behavior, but being willing to understand his behavior is, is about him trying to deal with something in his life. And I don't like that and I want to help him. And that's what’s going to create a space for you to be able to choose to trust Not just that you have to trust him or that it's you know, it's required. It's if I'm taking a step back from his behavior and not making it about a, I might be able to trust him to be able, to be honest with me more. And I always like to just do the reversal. So if something that I was doing to that, that I use to cope with my struggles. If every time I went to Zach and was 


Then share it with him. What was going on for me around that behavior he got really crushed by it, really upset about it, and just like it broke his heart, and he couldn't handle it. Or, you know, I would really, honestly, I would struggle to keep opening up to Zach about that. And, you know, I and I think that's natural and it's normal, and it's part of being human. And when I'm saying all this, it's not saying like, oh, you need to be a robot and you need to not respond, but being able to look at that, just go, okay. Like I could see why we might have created the dynamic of dishonesty around. Pornography is used in her marriage. Yeah. And I think that leads 


Really well into the next. Just being willing to be wrong. The first part of that is re-evaluating your understanding of pornography so many Partnerships come to an understanding of pornography that it's painful and it hurts and maybe it's adultery and all kinds of things. And if we just take a step back from that, and we take a moment to re-evaluate that. That is going to give you. You know what, what's a valuable meaning frame to put around pornography so that you can move past it rather than be stuck by it? I know, for me, when I started thinking about, pornography differently, when I stopped making it, I know that I made it early on in our marriage and I looked at it more from a behavioristic standpoint. 


I was able to then look at myself and think, okay? And in what ways have I not been kind? In our relationship. And in what ways? Have I created an environment that created dishonesty and somebody might be listening to sing going like no that's, you know, he's not your fault. Yeah. Like and I'm not a knight, I totally get it. Like I know that his dishonesty is in line with pornography in his pornography. Like I know that that wasn't about me, but when I'm only focusing on my spouse, I don't have any control. So, I always like to think and look at my side of it because that's what I do have control over and Me growing and being the best version of myself. 


Am I showing up as the person I want to be? And some were unkind around this and it wasn't being who I wanted to be. Yeah. You know, it's interesting that you have apologized on occasion about the way that you treated me when we were early on in our struggle which, you know, lots of people without their listening are probably like, well, why would she apologize to you? You're the one with the problem, but I don't think it's really so much that I think that's a very, you know, you got a beam in your eye and you got to fix that beam and I'm not even going to bother. 


They're looking at what's in my eye. Kind of way of looking at things. What we're talking about is if you want to trust your partner is willing to see where you have not been trustworthy, I think is a very valuable tool in helping both of you recognize that you would like a different version and allowing them to be more honest. Not because they should lie to you if you're not trustworthy or not capable of 


1:36 PM

Is going on on your side of the street, but because you probably want to be a better version of yourself. And that's for you, that's not for your partner. And if you want a better relationship, who is it? Jennifer, the family survived talks about this. It's a unilateral move to become more trusting, you get to choose how you become, you know, how you create your relationship and your partner doesn't have to come along but they probably will, if you lead out. And, it's really important to be capable of evaluating where you were, and how you behaved, and I've appreciated you leading out in that in our relationship, which has been, I think very impactfully if we go back to the idea. Okay. How can I create an environment where I can trust my spouse? 


I think it starts with the willingness to see your partner as a human and not a robot, right? And be willing to create realistic expectations. As a partnership around pornography around, what honesty looks like around expectations of what it is that we do talk about when it comes to pornography. You know, there are some lives that just want to know nothing about it and I think that's an honestly, a really dishonest position because it's basically saying I don't want to know anything about you because one if I know about it, then I'm going to have to deal with it. And I would rather not deal with it because what, I don't know, can't hurt anything. And so being willing to 


Hear the truth about your partner and be willing to say, okay, I get it like you're not going to be perfect around this and I don't expect you to be perfect. But what I would expect is that you just be honest with me about where you are at in your journey and what's going on for you. And I'm going to do my best on my side to deal with my emotions and feel with how it is that I react and respond and learn how to deal with my side. Of what's going on for me, when I do hear you tell the truth because sometimes hearing the truth is sucky and it's hard and it's not fun but the more times we can hear the truth and Deal with it. On our side, the better at it. We're going to get and I think it creates an environment where the truth can come out and be addressed. And that's the last one that we had was to become willing to hear the truth about where spouses and their Journeys. It's interesting we had and I think we've mentioned this on the podcast. We had a client who brought his wife too. So we do group coaching at the beginning of the year, I only do one group coaching at the beginning of 


Here. It's kind of like the New Year's Resolution Group coaching, and get you in and get you a space to get going at a somewhat lower cost than my individual coaching, or even than the membership. And this partner came to one of our group coaching images. The group coaching calls that we have for the wives. So we do a wife's call within that group coaching and she was one of the things that she said was that after talking to us and after seeing the work that her partner had been doing? 


All she had wanted in the beginning was for him to just tell her the truth and after all that work and all the stuff that he was doing, because he had started telling her the truth and he was working through that with her, she found that it was harder for her because as she was hearing the truth, it wasn't the magical thing that solved everything for her. Yeah, couple because oftentimes we think okay, if my partner was just honest with me, then that would be better if your spouse does hide this Behavior. But the truth is, is that sometimes the honest truth hurts and Makes it so that then we have to deal with what's going on us around. Your spouse is a pornography struggle. Yeah, and so, as you know, as you go through this, you're probably listening to this, you're going well, how do I looking at me, you know, and becoming more capable of hearing the truth and becoming willing to be wrong and not making their behavior about me and creating realistic expectations, make it, so that I can trust my spouse more. And here's, here's the same news that we told them, we told people who are using pornography last 


It's not how can I make them trust me? How can I become more trustworthy than you becoming more trustworthy sets up a framework? Where openness and honesty are not simply the expectation but they're more likely And you know, for some of you this is going to be a hard road because you've created a reality in four wives. It's I think the exact same reality as it is for the spouses you're about the same level. Now, your issue may not be as bad as his, and I'm certainly not telling you that you're the way that he is treating you is your fault, I want to be really clear about this. This is not your fault. His behavior is not your 


Your behavior is not his fault, right? It's a two-way street and becoming more trustworthy sets up, a meeting frame. A reality where your partner is, as they are becoming aware of Your Capacity to hear, they're open honest reality, they're going to become more willing to share that open honest reality with you. And you become more capable of confronting the reality of what your partner's actually doing without having to enfold into the anxiety of that reality will help. You become willing to say, I see that my partner is doing their best and I can trust that. Even if I can't trust that they won't look at pornography, I can trust my partner to be someone 


Who will share with me, their reality, share the difficulties in their lives, and openly discuss that with me, so that we can come to a resolution together? I think it probably sounds like something you don't like most people don't know. This is hard work. It really. Is it really hard work because Honestly in the beginning when I was just angry and it was all a tax problem and it was his problem that he needed to fix. And that, you know, I kind of took the one up high road position That's a really easy position to be in compared to the flip side of having to look at yourself and figure out. Okay, you know, what is going on for me around this and looking at my own behavior and seeing how I also play a part in this, and Again, it's not my fault. Never, right? Like he looked at porn when he was eight. I was nowhere there. You know, and high school and all of the years before me. So, it's not about me but we are married. And we are a partnership and what he does in packs him. And it impacts me. And what I do impacts me and impacts him and so when it comes to pornography, I think both Partners have a lot of work to do, have a lot of honesty, growing up to do around some really hard Parts things and it comes down to really looking at your belief system around. Pornography looks at what it is that you make or not, and graffiti means in your relationship and even what it looks like, to be honest. And what it looks like for your spouse to be trustworthy. Because if you're looking at your spouse to be trustworthy and the sense that he will be trustworthy, when he never looks at pornography again, 


I'm not convinced, that's the right-meaning friend. Let me ask you because, you know, you talked about being in the one-up position, being an easy position to be in. But that was also hard work because not that you not that. It was hard work per se but it was hard. It was difficult because they were so little control, you in this, like on the righteous one here position. And so you feel Justified, but didn't you also feel out of control? And incapable of solving this problem and all of the difficulties and misery that come with that. Yeah, for sure. I mean when I was in that position. Yeah, I was completely out of control. I didn't have any control and the more control that I didn't have, the more control I tried to get Right. And out of that workout. It didn't write. It was really miserable. Yeah. That's so instead of that hard work, which is kind of the hard work of You know, for lack of a better term, the suck. There's the hard work of progress, there's the hard work of looking at ourselves, learning to South validate, learning to front, our own behaviors, learning to confront the meaning frames that we bring to our relationships that aren't helping us succeed. And moving through those in an honest and open way through dialogue through self-reflection. Sometimes you're crying sometimes through shouting sometimes, you know, there's a lot that goes into it but it also is the hard work of maintaining our sense of self and becoming the person that we want to be in a relationship. So our partner can see us as that person. Not that we have to trick them anymore. We also have to realize that 


Trust that state time, it's not an overnight thing and when you've been dealing with your spouse's unwanted pornography and your marriage that it does take time to rebuild that trust but looking at it from a different lens what does rebuilding trust look like And that goes back to does rebuilding. Trust me never looks at pornography again or he never, you know, looks at some other woman, then it's probably going to be a really hard road to trust, but if you can look at it from a different one, which goes back to all of the things that we talked about in the For me, a lot of years, I did not trust back, and I can say, Now I just I trust that he will be honest with me and tell me the truth even if it's something that I don't want to eat. And I still don't like telling you the truth. When I know that you're not going to want to hear it, but I would rather tell you what's happening. 


One for me, really? Really for me because I want to be the person that I did, I can trust, and I know you can handle it. I know you're not going to lose it all. And that’s a big deal to me because I still have a fragile ego and I still want you to see me as your knight in shining armor but I don't think that that's I don't, I'm not convinced that's entirely healthy but I recognize that you are more capable than I ever gave you credit for thanks. Darcy for talking about this. I really appreciate it. I hope that those of you who have wives or spouses are hearing this and saying, well, how do I trust them? 


We love you. Guys were so grateful to be able to do this. We'll talk to you soon. Thanks for listening to the self-mastery podcast every day Darcy and I work with amazing men and women to remove pornography from their lives and relationships. If you're ready to take the next step in your journey, let us help you sign up for a console at Zach's. slash work with me, you can set up some time for you or your spouse to be with me or with Darcy. We can help you get started on your self Mastery Journey.


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