Episode 170: 6 Proven Shifts For Wives to Move Beyond BetrayalDec 05, 2022
Episode 170: 6 Proven Shifts For Wives to Move Beyond Betrayal
Welcome to another episode of Thrive Beyond Pornography! We are so glad you are here!
As we shift our podcast from focusing mainly on the person who struggles with pornography to the relationship and all parties involved, we will have a variety of episodes. Some with be geared specifically for the person struggling with porn; in our podcast dialogues, we will assume it is the husband, although we are well aware that women struggle with porn too; some will be directed towards the wives, and others will be for both.
We would recommend if you are in a relationship that you listen to all the different episodes because we believe it is helpful to learn all sides of the struggle.
I want to start off by saying that no matter where you are on your journey, your feelings are valid, and the struggle is REAL!!!!
I have been where you are, and this is not easy work to do. I also want you to know that there is so much room for hope and healing!
I would never have thought it was possible to get to where I am today, and in this podcast episode, we will discuss some of the shifts I decided to make on our road to healing.
If the things we discuss today are a bit hard to hear or maybe cause you to be defensive, that is ok too. I would invite you to ponder on what we talk about, and when you are ready, challenge yourself to grow. One of the things I have learned along this journey is that growth is really, really hard. It is uncomfortable, and often times it is way easier to just stay in the same cycle on repeat.
Anytime I talk about my journey, I always like to point out that I was and I am married to a good man who struggled with unwanted pornography. I realize that not all men who struggle with porn are good, and only you can decide what kind of man you are married to and if your marriage is worth fighting for. We have personally known and worked with hundreds of really incredible men who struggle with unwanted pornography. If you are married to one of these men, I believe this episode will benefit you.
So let’s get started!
When I stopped judging, criticizing, and vilifying my husband's struggle surrounding unwanted pornography, things changed for both of us. Here are the different ways things changed
1) Understand his side of the issue - I began to seek an understanding of all the different aspects of Zach's unwanted pornography. I did this not to provide myself with fuel to justify my angry position but out of a desire to know him better and to understand what it was like on his side of the street and what porn did provide him.
This was a massive shift for me. For years I looked at Zach's pornography struggle as a moral failing. In some way, he was just not good enough, and I looked for all the evidence I could find to prove to him how his actions would destroy us. I was not really interested in learning what was actually going on for him from a behavioral standpoint. I was very much fixated on the moral failing and all the pain and damage he was causing me and our relationship. Taking the time to really get to know Zach and what was going on for him around his pornography struggle while also being able to hold onto myself was a huge turning point for both of us,
2) Questioned the story - I began to question the story my brain was playing on repeat about what unwanted porn was going to do to our marriage, what it meant about my husband, and what was going to happen to our family. I realized that my brain was just regurgitating all of the fear bass lessons I sat through at church. And reliving the horror stories I had heard about so and so’s divorce. I never questioned what I believed about this trial or whether or not the story my brain played helped me create the results I wanted in our marriage until I was utterly miserable.
I was miserable because I was trying to live out someone else idea about what all this meant instead of creating the intentional dialogue I genuinely believed about this trial. I stopped letting FEAR run the show and chose to create a story based on my own reality, not on the story I was told I needed to believe that was not serving us or helpful in any way besides keeping us stuck. .
3) Focused on similarities and de-emphasized differences - I began to focus on the ways my husband and I were more alike than different I realized that what was going on for him around pornography what's the same thing that was going on for me in different ways. I wasn't turning to porn, but I turned to other more acceptable things like food shopping and social media. I stopped focusing on the porn and turned my focus toward what caused it to be there.
It can be so effortless to focus on porn as the problem. To put ourselves in the one-up position because we don’t struggle with porn, and our partners do.
Been there, done that!!! Honestly, we come by this so easily. The reality for most wives is that we can have an army around us sporting us and holding us up on a pedestal because we don’t struggle with porn and our husbands do.
I am having a hard time typing this out. Still, hopefully, you understand what I am trying to say and that it is easy and justifiable to put ourselves in the one-up position with our husbands when it comes to porn and their behavior to choose porn.
Personally, after many years of standing firm in the one-up position, I realized that this was not helping our relationship or helping me be someone I was proud of. I did not like myself when I took the self-righteous position of being better than Zach.
I am embarrassed to look back on my behavior because the more I genuinely learned about the struggle with unwanted pornography, the more I realized we were much more similar than I would care to admit.
The beautiful thing that came about from me realizing we are more similar than different was that we were able to discuss our different challenges and bounce ideas back and forth off each other in a non-threatening way.
4) Recognize our unhelpful behavior - I began to realize that criticizing, threatening, and judging him was not helping the situation, it seemed to worsen the problem. It also made me feel worse. I hated how I felt inside and the behaviors I exhibited, for example, anger, trying to control everything, and obsessing about porn. I'm pretty sure porn was on my mind more than Zach’s.
5) Challenged my own position - I began challenging my position on how I faced unwanted porn in our marriage. At first, it was him against me. This was his problem; this was something he needed to fix and quickly, or I was leaving. This was all his fault, and I was the innocent victim of his actions. He was disgusting in my mind, I threw out all of these threats trying to get his behavior to change. I realized that all the other trials we faced in our marriage we faced together, we were a United team, and once we became a United team around porn, that was when things started to shift. I changed the narrative in my brain from this is his problem to this is our problem, this is something he needs to fix quickly to this is something we can fix together, and it will take time; this is all his fault, and I am the victim to we have both played a part in the struggle, and neither of us is the victim nor are either of us responsible for the other's behavior. The less I became the victim, the more empowered I became. These were not easy shifts to make, and they required a lot of humility on my part because, for over five years, I stood firm in my previous position.
6) Relationship Battle or relationship builder - I began to realize that unwanted porn was either going to be the thing that tore us apart or the thing that challenged us, stretched us, and required us to grow up. I am not going to say that this was easy! It was hard, sometimes super ugly, and one of the most challenging things I've ever done, but in the end, it was so worth it. I am so very grateful for the wake-up call that I had that helped create the marriage that Zach and I have today. It is not perfect, but it is one I am proud of. We fought hard for it.
If you are ready to create change in your life and your marriage, set up a consult with us!! We would love to help you create the results that you want in your marriage.
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