Episode 204: Trust In Overcoming Pornography

Jul 31, 2023


Episode 204: Trust In Overcoming Pornography


Zach Spafford: Hey everybody, and welcome to another episode of Thrive Beyond Pornography, the podcast where we dive deep into the intricacies of overcoming pornography and rebuilding individually and as a couple so you can build lasting and meaningful connections. I'm your host, Zach Staffer, and today we will explore a thought-provoking question with my wife, my lovely co-host, Darcy.

Hey. Hi guys. How's it going?

Darcy Spafford: It's been a long time. I know it's been

Zach Spafford: a while since you've been on the podcast. I know. She's been busy raising eight children. I know. Hey guys, just in case you're wondering, raising eight children is a lot of work.

Darcy Spafford: It is. I really don't recommend it. We

Zach Spafford: showed, so we have an app on, I have an app on my phone that tells me how many loads of laundry have gone through our washer and dryer, and we are very fortunate.

We have two washers and two dryers standing right next to each other. There are two towers. They're a washer-dryer tower, and they're right next to each other, and between the two of them, in about a six-day period, we do ten loads of laundry in each and today, just today. And by we, he means mostly mercy, mostly me.

But just today, you did four loads in one of those towers. I didn't check the other one. So yeah, I think it's crazy. It was about the same. It's probably about the same. So eight loads in one day. So just in case you're wondering, that's where all of her time goes is into the laundry, which is excessive, but that's not why we're here to talk today.

Today we are gonna talk about trust, and we had a client. You

Darcy Spafford: had a client. Yeah. So this was a this is coming from me because I was just, I was working with a client and. I can't even remember who it was, but they brought up the idea of that they can't trust their partner, which kind of got me thinking because when I think back for a lot of years was Zach and I, he was dishonest with me about his struggle with pornography.

He did not tell me I had to catch him. It wasn't until years into our struggle that he was finally open and honest with me about it. And so this is where it got my wheels turning where I was like, okay, wait, so your husband is being honest with you every time he views pornography, but you don't trust him.

So then I was just playing with the idea was Zach, that I was like, basically, does it mean that in order for us to trust our partner, they have to do what it is that we want them to do and expect them to do? Or does trusting our partner come when our partner is open and honest and vulnerable with us?

And so that kind of just sparked a conversation between us. And so yeah, that's why we're here. Discuss. That's what we're gonna talk about here to discuss

Zach Spafford: And I'm just gonna read these questions that we laid out because I think they're important and I want you guys to hear them up front, and then hopefully within this conversation we can answer these questions in a meaningful way.

So the first question was, does trusting my partner mean we are always on the same page? And does it mean my partner has to do what I want them to do in order for me to trust them? Or does it mean that I can trust him? If he tells me the truth, even if it's something I don't like or I don't agree with, and I think this is an interesting and a really common topic that arises within relationships, trust, and its connections on being on the same page.

Many of us might have wondered, at some point, does trust mean that my partner has to do what I want them to, or can I still trust my partner if they tell me something that I don't like or I don't agree with? So let's talk about

Darcy Spafford: that. And I can see how some might think this is totally directly at the women and trusting their husbands, but I think this can also be flipped around on does my wife have to respond in a certain way?

Mm-hmm. In order for her to be trustworthy enough for me to tell her the truth. Because I think we both, this can go both ways and we both do this

Zach Spafford: Yeah, in relationships for sure, because I don't think you were very trustworthy about what was going on for me because you would make what was going on for me about you.

Mm-hmm. And I certainly wasn't trustworthy because I wasn't willing to share what was real for me. With you. Yeah, for sure. And I think that's a, that's definitely a two-way street

Darcy Spafford: for a lot of our clients, especially the ones I work with. Trust is a huge, huge is issue. In a lot of ways, trust in a relationship is the foundation of emotional security and intimacy.

It's about having confidence in your partner's reliability, honesty, and integrity. Trust allows you to feel safe and vulnerable with your partner, knowing that they have your best interests at heart.

Zach Spafford: And I think you're so right. So let's tackle that first question. And I think if we can just go through these and see what is it that we learned and offer some reliable assistance for people, something that they can take back and put into their relationship.

Many individuals believe that trust hinges on always being on the same page with their partners. Tell me what you think about that. I

Darcy Spafford: think it's a common misconception, but the reality is that trust isn't solely dependent on always seeing eye to eye, like in a relationship. If you think I've gotta be on the same page as my partner all the time, we gotta think the same way, feel the same way, act the same way in order for

Zach Spafford: for us to continue this

Darcy Spafford: relationship or, and just to be trustworthy.

That's probably not a very realistic expectation in any healthy relationship. There's always gonna be differences of opinions, different interests, and our partners make different choices than us no matter what. That's just life and that's relationships. Trust comes from acknowledging and respecting those differences, even when we don't agree with them.

Zach Spafford: And here's, I think, a really key component of that, because if we are we, if we believe that we have to have. The exact same opinion about everything. That's boring to be honest. Now, there are a lot of things that you're gonna want to have agreements on, but that doesn't mean that, there are a lot of people who raise their children in two different faiths, let's say.

And so you might come to an agreement on how to raise your children, even though you don't agree on what faith you want to raise your children in. And that's a really important distinction is that you can believe different things, but you can still come to agreements of how you'll approach things, and it's more important to accept and understand our partner's individuality rather than seeking constant agreement.

How do you think couples can embrace this aspect of trust without compromising their own values? That is a good question. I know that's why you ask it,

Darcy Spafford: right? I think it's pretty essential for couples to engage in open and honest communication and being willing and able to share our perspectives, our feelings, and our desires allows us to gain insight into each other's values.

I think oftentimes when you are raised in the same religion, you practice the same religion, oftentimes you think that. You agree on everything. Yeah. And that everything, that you are one and of the same. But I think the more you get to know your spouse, the more you get to know people in your faith communities, you start to realize that not everybody has exactly the same feelings, perspectives and desires

Zach Spafford: around, especially around religious topics.

And I think what's even more interesting is that you may. Begin a relationship with a very similar set of values or ideas that you believe you're both on the same page with. And over time, that may change. Mm-hmm. That may adjust as one person experiences life in a meaningfully different way than another person.

And I think that's important to realize that when it comes to trusting your partner, what you're trusting is not that they're just like you or that you are the same, but that you are willing to work together to. Be a partnership and love each other and do the work of creating joy and happiness within your relationship.

Not just we agree on everything.

Darcy Spafford: Yeah. And that doesn't mean that we have to give up our own beliefs. But more importantly, we have to find common ground and learn to work together and coexist with each other. Even with our differences trust can be strengthened when we're authentic and transparent with one another.

Zach Spafford: Oh, yeah. And I think a lot of times we have this fear that we're gonna be disagreeing and in disagreeing, like we just don't wanna bring it up. I don't wanna bring it up with you because I know you're gonna disagree with me, but how do we address that fear in ourselves? And then how do we bring that conversation up in our relationships?

Darcy Spafford: Yeah. So for me, like the fear of disagreement is a pretty natural thing, right? Nobody likes to, to disagree in a lot of ways.

Zach Spafford: You have told me on occasion that you feel like I'm, you're disappointing me because now you disagree with certain things in my life, right?

Darcy Spafford: Yeah. But it shouldn't hinder communication, right?

If we shut down communication, just because we don't agree on something, that's pretty much not a way to create an intimate trustworthy relationship.

Zach Spafford: Well, and this is a good place to practice differentiation. Because, In our relationship, especially recently, we've been having some really meaningful discussions about things that are changing in our lives.

And as you have brought those things up, you've been really afraid of of me and how I will react to those things. Mm-hmm. And as you talk about those things, I'm like, yeah, I think we're on the same page. I think that we're definitely moving in the same direction together, but as a, as an individual, I'm working hard to.

See, well, what's my actual solid owned position? And am I losing myself in any anxiety that you have? So I'm trying to make sure I'm not getting lost in your anxiety over these issues. And then along with that, I'm working to maintain intimacy, maintain closeness with you, and I think you're doing the same thing.

That's really the kind of communication that's going on for us around these. Ideas that we are afraid might, we might disagree on.

Darcy Spafford: Yeah. And I think couples can really practice active listening and empathy to better understand each other's viewpoints. Like I think it's easy for us all to say no, we both agree that porn is wrong.

Like, we don't want porn in our relationship. So I think that's, it's really easy to agree with that. But I think where it gets tricky. Is navigating the idea that one, one party is doing something that is out of agreement. Yeah. With this agreement. And I think that kind of makes it tricky especially when it comes to pornography, because I think, you can have an agreement of say how you're gonna spend your money, right?

Mm-hmm. And then one party. N doesn't necessarily follow that agreement. Exactly. But it doesn't create so much upheaval. Well, it might, yeah, it can. Right. But upheaval and distrust and it can, like if it's a really big financial Yeah. If I

Zach Spafford: went out and spent a hundred thousand dollars on something, That we couldn't afford, that wasn't really necessary.

Maybe I went out and bought a brand new a hundred thousand dollars truck. That would probably be a position of great discord. Yeah. But I think, and I think this is really the point, is that when we have agreements it's best to honor them, but. I think that it's important to recognize that sometimes those agreements will become renegotiated over time.

Mm-hmm. We might have an agreement about pornography when, there are a lot of relationships. I, you know, we coached a couple where she comes there, they were both divorced, they got married to each other, she came to the relationship unhappy about the idea of pornography use in their marriage. He was like, yep, I'm not gonna use porn in our as a participant in this marriage.

And then over time he chose, To decide that it was okay for him to view pornography as a way to manage his emotions and entertain himself. So that agreement changed, and now she has to renegotiate how she feels about that for herself. But at the very least what's happening is he's being honest, which is a trustworthy position.

Mm-hmm. And if he's not saying, well, I'm just not gonna tell you, versus him saying, this is my newfound position, even if. I wouldn't have agreed with it when we first got married. This is my newfound position, and I'm willing to again, choose closeness with you. I'm willing to not get lost in your anxiety.

I'm willing to own this position openly and honestly. However, that isn't, I'm not gonna. I'm not going to step back from this position. I'm gonna maintain this position for the time being. Mm-hmm. And that gives the wife a posi a position that she now has to renegotiate. Do I want to participate in this?

Do I want this to be a part of my life? That is her opportunity. It's a tough one. So being honest and having honesty within these conversations is a huge component of trust. Now a lot of people out there, a lot of people who, you're listening to this and you're like, yeah, but this is a. Podcast about how to quit porn.

So, we should unequivocally never talk about porn as though it's something that someone can choose. The reality is that people are choosing porn all the time. And while Darcy and I are certainly not advocating that pornography has benefits that supersede the meaningful relationship that we have, that doesn't mean that we are saying you guys shouldn't have a choice.

In fact, we're really very much about choice. Agency is an important component of making yourself closer to the person you wanna be and driving towards your values. So being aware of that is really cl important in this process of. Being honest, because one of the ways that I think we justify ourselves in dishonesty is we feel like we have the right to take away somebody else's agency.

For instance, in our relationship, if I came to Darcy and I said, Hey, I'm gonna look at porn, I don't think Darcy would say, no, you can't do that in her relationship, she would probably say, I'm out. Because I, I don't, that's not something I want in my relationship. However, I understand your values and I now, you've been honest with me, I can make a meaningful decision based on my own position.

That's a difference. Where if she said, no, you can't do that, I might just go back into hiding. It's kind

Darcy Spafford: of funny you just brought that up because in my brain, I'm sitting here going, okay, if Zach were to come to me and say, Hey, I'm just gonna start looking at porn, and I'm just gonna choose to do that, and.

That's who I'm gonna choose to be,

Zach Spafford: which that's not gonna happen,

Darcy Spafford: guys. Yeah. Just so you know. No, this is all hypothetical. I'm like, I'm sitting here going like my feelings, like I don't like that. I don't, I really don't like that, but he's automatically oh, I think you would just say, okay, that's what you choose.

Then I'm out. And I don't, I don't know if that would necessarily be the case, honestly, if I'm being totally honest, because I think. There's a lot more to our relationship than you making what I would consider a dumb choice in your free time.

Zach Spafford: Right. So, and I think that position allows honesty to exist.

Like I think you guys can hear in this very conversation, which is somewhat of an off the cuff conversation, that we are making allowances for honesty to exist more fully. Knowing that we can come to an understanding where each of us can trust the other. That's really what it is. And I think we have a much better trust with each other than we have had in the past.


Darcy Spafford: and I think, you know, honest honesty, even when it's about difficult or uncomfortable, Truth to me is a sign of genuine trust. Like being able to trust your partner means believing that they respect you enough to be truthful, even if what they're saying is not what you want to hear. And by, and that they can handle it.

Yeah. And by appreciating their honesty, you can. Both work together to understand each other's perspective and strengthen your bond. And I think especially when, the men that we work with are not wanting to actively engage with pornography and they find themselves. And so being able to honestly look at that and have those conversations can be a real a real source of strengthening your relationship.

Zach Spafford: Yeah, and I think I really like the term openness. Honesty's kind of one of those terms that feels a little bit judgy, I don't know, but openness about what's really going on for me, just being real about what's going on for me and my clients, being real about what's going on for them. That openness allows each of us to create greater intimacy.

And I'll be honest with you guys, greater intimacy is difficult. At least one level in that the more intimate you are with somebody, the more likely it is, or the more, maybe not the more likely, but the greater the capacity that someone has to reject you. The more someone knows about who you really are, the more they can reject

Darcy Spafford: you.

Yeah, if you're just putting on the front of what you know your partner wants you to be and what would be agreeable to them. Your chances of being rejected are a lot slimmer.

Zach Spafford: Yeah. If you're, yeah. If you're like, oh, let me show you Prince Charming only all the time.

Darcy Spafford: Yeah. Or let me just do whatever you want whenever you want and meet all your needs and do everything and not require much of you.

That wouldn't really be a good position.

Zach Spafford: Yeah. That's not intimacy. , it sounds like you're saying as a wife, what you do is you just manage your husband. That's not intimacy. Yeah. That, and that's not honesty either, because you're not really saying, this is what I want.

You're just saying, let me give you what I feel is my duty to give you regardless of what I want. Yeah. And that's something that you've got to negotiate, but it's tough. And I, I can give you an example of that on your side Darcy? In our relationship, you have had to work to be willing to say what it is that you want more often, especially in the household chores, in the bedroom, in a couple of different places.

You have really been working the last couple of years to say, this is what I want. Where I think previously, one of the things that you did is you would just hide behind the idea of what you were supposed to do and who you were supposed to be and take on all the responsibilities of the household

Darcy Spafford: and just quietly resent you.


Zach Spafford: Or like in the bedroom, not ask for what it was that you want, but just. Go along and if you got what you wanted, great. But that wasn't a very satisfying reality. Yeah. In either place. And the more you were able to be open about what you really wanted, the more I was able to reject you. But the more I had to work to not reject you out of hand to be like, oh, I need to listen.

I need to be clear. I need to be willing to hear what's going on for her. Yeah, I agree. Yeah. So we wanna talk, we wanna give you let's say seven valuable strategies to create greater trust within your relationship. And I hope that we've answered these questions 'cause I think they're important questions.

So let's go back and just touch base on these questions, does. Let's see. Does trusting my partner mean we are always on the same page? No. I think the short answer to that is no. But you're working together to create agreements that allow you to choose each other. I think that's kind of the right answer.

At least that's an answer. Yeah. And

Darcy Spafford: what comes to mind for me is the idea of, you not agreeing to something that you are not willing to actually do, willing and capable. To create in that moment. So like for instance, I'm not gonna make the agreement that I'm never gonna look at porn again.

Zach Spafford: Yeah. A lot of guys, the first time they tell their wife, Hey, this is, I'm never gonna do this again. I'm choosing porn, or This is a struggle. And the wife says I want you to, I want you to never look at that again. Automatically. We wanna agree, and we've talked about this on the podcast before. Instead of automatically saying, yes, I am never gonna look at porn again.

What you probably need to do is take a step back and

Darcy Spafford: say, what can I actually do? Yeah. And agree to, so what do I have the skills to do? I can agree to be open and honest with you right about if I do look at porn Yeah. Or I can agree that I'm going to be working on this and these are the things that I'm going to be doing to work on this.


Zach Spafford: But if you don't have a skillset, it's really, it's almost like saying to someone, somebody comes to you and says, Hey, can you build me a house? And you go, yeah, I can definitely do that. And if you don't know how to do that, you're gonna fail in that agreement. So try not to agree with things that you don't have the skillset to do.

So be really careful when you're having those conversations. The next question was, does it mean my partner has to do what I want them to do in order for me to trust them again, the short answer is no.

Darcy Spafford: I think that's interesting because I don't know that the short answer is no, because I maybe is it, maybe as a woman, I sit here and, and really this, I'm telling you this is a really, really to me, a deep, hard thought provoking reality.

Does my partner have to do what I want them to do in order for me to trust them? That is seriously just take that question and. Think about it for a minute and reflect on it. Yeah. And really take an honest look at yourself. Because for me, honestly, when I first thought about that, I was like, Ugh, I don't really like who I'm being when I think about that self, my myself in that question.

Yeah. Right. Because I think like deep down inside, I want to say, That, or I guess rose colored. I wanna be like, no, of course they don't have to do everything I want them to do in order for me to trust them. But I think the ugly side of me is yeah, of course. Like of course they have to do everything I want them to do in order for me to trust them.

Especially around pornography. Yeah. I don't think it's as simple and easy, but I do think it's worth really examining, and think about. Think about the complexity of that

Zach Spafford: question. Yeah. It's not as simple as it appears to be on its face, but I think the answer is no.

However, I think that we need to work to agree on what it does look like. Like

Darcy Spafford: to me it's like to be trustworthy. To me that's a lot of self confronting. Yeah. Of, of. My reality. Yeah. Of who I choose to be sometimes.

Zach Spafford: Yeah. , it really is a much more difficult question than just as it looks on the face.

Now, last one that was in here was, does it mean that I can trust him if he tells me the truth, even if it's something that I don't like or don't agree with? And I think the answer I, I think we teach people who we are and how to treat us. And when we do that we have to trust that. So if he's being honest about his reality, whether you like it or not, can you trust him?

And I think the answer is, yeah. He's teaching you, he's showing you how to interact with him. And that's a, that's a two-way street. She does the same thing. If I tell her the truth about my reality and she gets completely lost in and disorganized in that anxiety, that shows me that I really cannot trust her with my reality with who I am now, that may not be forever, but it may be something that we have to confront and say, Hey, it looks like when I tell you what's real for me, you get lost and you make it mean something about you.

And that may be something you need to work out with a coach or somebody. But the truth is that if we don't like or we don't agree with someone's reality, that doesn't necessarily mean we can't trust them. It probably means. That we have to look internally and ask ourselves, what about this don't I like?

What about this don't I agree with? What about this is making me get disorganized to the point where I can't handle their reality? And when you address those issues, those underlying issues, you may find that you're more capable of handling the reality of somebody else because you make it less about you and you let them.

Be with their reality without it being something about you.

Darcy Spafford: Yeah. Something that comes to mind. If I think about when you were viewing porn was what about your behavior created such insecurities and anxiety in me and I feel like your behavior in a lot of ways showed me the holes in me that

Zach Spafford: I needed to fill.

Oh my gosh, that's deep. Because you have to, when you see something you don't like in the world, you have to confront yourself and you have to say, you, you either have to confront and change that thing, which in this case was me and you couldn't change me. Or you have to confront yourself and say, why is it difficult for me to handle this?

That's tough. It's tough to look internally and say, why is something that I don't like in someone else difficult for me to handle because he's supposed to be, behave, be behaving in a certain way. Yeah. And if he would just behave in a certain way, I would be okay. But you can see how that sets your power apart from you.

It takes your agency and your power and it sets it off into somebody else. And how powerless that must feel. It must have felt for you, I imagine. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So here are, I'm gonna give you seven key effective strategies that you can use. To help improve trustworthiness within your relationship.

And again, this is a two way street so both partners can practice these and get better at them as you go through. One is effective communication, so again, engage in open and honest conversations, actively listening, being empathetic and not making necessarily what your partner is saying about you.


Darcy Spafford: The next one is embrace vulnerability, which. This is a really, really, really hard one to do. If we're all being honest. Mm-hmm. Being vulnerable is scary. Being able to share your thoughts and your feelings and allowing your partner to do the same that's hard. Right? Because our partner might say things that we don't like, that we don't wanna hear.

For me, when Zach tell me he looked at porn like, I didn't always have the best things to say to him. And she was sometimes really mean. Yeah. Especially in the beginning. I was super mean. I would say I was actually abusive and so yeah, like that's a hard thing to

Zach Spafford: do. Next one is set boundaries.

Now I'm gonna read something from. Somebody that was, this was posted on the internet by Kristen Hodson and she said, do you know the difference between agreements and boundaries? Too often when I meet with couples in my office, I see one partner try to set what they think is a boundary in an attempt to control their partner.

It becomes ineffective because we don't actually have control over our partners. Guess. Guess what? Newsflash, you don't have control over your partner as much as we wish we sometimes did. So let's review. Boundaries are what you will or will not do. They tell a, they are a reflection of who you are and what you want.

Telling your partner what they can or cannot do is not a boundary. Lemme repeat that. Telling your partner what they can or cannot do is not a boundary deciding. On what you'll do in the face of your partner's, action is a boundary. An agreement is what you decide together as a couple that you will or will not do even in an agreement.

You only have control over your side if and when agreements are broken. A boundary can help you decide how to navigate that particular situation. Respecting both boundaries and agreements are foundational in building safety and trust. In a relationship. So I think that's a really good analysis of what boundaries are.

And I want you to recognize, I hope you recognize that you can set a boundary that your partner may not like, but as long as what you're doing is about you and taking you to the place where you are pleased with how you're showing up, that is probably the best case scenario for a boundary. We, Darcy, I'm just

Darcy Spafford: gonna, I'm just gonna be open here.

Yeah, go for it. I remember back in the day, I was like, When I found out he was looking at porn I set up a boundary that, okay, if you look at porn, then you're not gonna see me naked. Which I don't know what that had to do with anything. But that I remember being like that. Yeah. And to me, if I look at that, it wasn't really about me or my safety or about.

Respecting me, it was, I'm gonna punish you, right? I'm trying to punish you for your behavior, and the way I'm gonna try to punish you and control your behavior is by putting this consequence in place. Like it wasn't. I can look back and say it wasn't really a boundary set up. Entirely for yourself and , from a good place.


Zach Spafford: And I want you, everybody to recognize it's tough. It's difficult to navigate what a real boundary is and how to interact with a real boundary. And that's not to say like if, if in your relationship the boundary that you set is exactly the same one that Darcy just described, that doesn't mean that it's wrong.

Darcy Spafford: Yeah. Because for you it might be coming from a clean place, right? It might be coming with the best of intentions. S. Yeah. Sometimes sad, but for me, I'm just saying for me personally, that was not where that was coming from. Yeah.

Zach Spafford: And I think it's really important to recognize that sometimes we do the exact same actions with different meanings behind them, and when the meaning behind it is.

From a good values driven place, that action can be much more effective and valuable to you. Whereas when it comes from a punitive or unhappy or not well-meaning place, that action can be less effective. And that's not to say any given action is wrong or right. What it is to say is what you have to do is navigate what it is that's going on for you as you.

O undertake that action or that boundary.

Darcy Spafford: I just, this just popped into my head, which is totally off topic but I'm like, it's like cleaning the church building. Yeah. If you're cleaning the church building because you have to, and you're doing it for outward appearance and all of the things that's probably not gonna get you where you want.

But if you're like, genuinely, Cleaning the church because that's who you wanna be and that's where you, how you wanna show up in the life, joy and you're doing it with a true heart of service. That's gonna be very different. Yeah. Even if it's the same exact action. So that's, I think what you're trying to say there.

Yeah, that's

Zach Spafford: exactly it. Okay. Number four.

Darcy Spafford: Celebrate differences, right? Understand that differences enrich your relationship and foster growth. If you are just all the same, like we said earlier, yeah, that's boring, that's not really gonna be super exciting relationship in the long

Zach Spafford: term. And I think those differences, especially between men and women, Those are what make a relationship in a lot of ways.

The things that you bring to the table are not things that I bring to the table. Mm-hmm. The things that I bring to the table are not things that you bring to the table, and those differences make us so much better in terms of a partnership than if we didn't have those differences. If we were the same, that would be much more difficult.

Yeah, and I think lots of relationships thrive in differences. Number five is practice forgiveness. This is important on both sides. Accepting that mistakes are part of the human nature or part of the human condition And the human experience. Yeah. All of the human things and the human experience. And just be willing to say, I don't like what you did, but I can move forward.

I can move beyond it, and I'm gonna ask you not to do that anymore. That is a huge component here. And being willing to say, I forgive you for what you've chosen to do. Even though it goes against our agreement, maybe it goes against my boundary. Maybe it goes against our religiosity, whatever it is, our faith, mm-hmm.

Our whatever. Being willing to say, I see you and I acknowledge that you're not perfect, but I can also understand what is happening and I can move forward because you are willing to move forward with me. That's huge. Yeah,

Darcy Spafford: for sure. The next one is support each other's. Individuality and autonomy trust go grows when we as partners can support each other and encourage each other's individual growth and our personal goals.

Respecting each other's autonomy fosters a sense of independence within the relationship. And I think we can see that. I think it as women sometimes, like we're so focused on supporting. Everyone around us and helping everyone else reach their goals and personal goals and their growth. I, we went to a marriage retreat with our friend Dan Purcell, and we, what did we do?

Yeah, we helped out. It was awesome. We participated in it. We spoke at it and I remember one of the women made a comment saying, I like, I've supported my kids like my husband. I. Support him through dental school and now he's a successful dentist and I help my, four sons get on missions and my, my daughter, whether gymnastic, right?

Saying all the things that she had done to support her family around her. And I think that this could be one that could go both ways a lot more than it does sometimes.

Zach Spafford: Meaning you think that? Not only can a wife support her husband and all of her children, but her children and her husband can support her to do things that aren't just managing a home.

Yeah, managing the household. And I think that's a good, I think that's a good call. I think it's important for everyone. We had a conversation a couple nights ago, deep into the middle of the night, and Darcy's I'm drowning here. And so I said, okay, let's figure out what needs to be done.

And that's not. That's not typical because I think Darcy often does the thing of I'm just gonna do what I think I'm supposed to do and I'm gonna bury my head in the sand and I'm gonna be upset and resentful about it when it comes to mind because I'm supposed to. But the truth is, you're not supposed to do it all alone.

You have to be able to say, here's what's going on. And. Then each partner and each individual within that group or that relationship of a family has to be able to step in and say, let me support you in doing something that you want to do, rather than just doing the dishes all the time. Yeah. All right.

Number seven, consistency and reliability. Being consistent and reliable in our actions and commitments reinforces trust. This is as much, I always say this. Say what you're gonna do. Do what you say you're gonna do. That's it With our kids, that's how we talk. Just tell us what you're gonna be doing and then do it.

Darcy Spafford: I remember when Zach worked for corporate, I would be like, just, if you're gonna tell me you're gonna be at home at five, like be home at five. I would just, I'd rather you say, I'm gonna be home at 10:00 PM and come home early than tell me you're gonna be home at five and not get home till seven.


Zach Spafford: I had to learn. To hedge a little bit with Darcy when it came to what time I was gonna be there, because she would say, are you gonna be home at X? And I would be like, yeah, I think so. And I didn't realize, or I didn't really take the time to make a plan to actually be home, then I would just keep doing my work.

And two hours later I'd still be at work trying to complete a project without having really communicated that with Darcy. So for me it was one of those things where I had to start to think through what does my day look like, and then communicate that openly with Darcy, rather than living

Darcy Spafford: in this bubble, rather than giving me an answer that you thought I wanted to hear.

Yes. In the moment. Yeah,

Zach Spafford: exactly. So really, being as consistent as possible, being able to say, this is what I'm gonna do, and this is. What I think I'm gonna do, and this is what I'm gonna have it done by, that's a huge difference that we've had to grow through and it helps build trust. So if you think about pornography in this particular aspect, if you're looking at porn every single day and your wife comes to you and having found out that you're looking at porn and she demands, I need you to stop looking at porn immediately, and your natural reaction is to go, yeah, absolutely, I'm definitely gonna do that.

It might be worthwhile to say, I am going to try not to look at porn. It may be that I choose to view pornography on occasion because I don't yet have the skillset to resolve that. However, I'm going to work on getting that skillset. Yeah. Rather than saying, yep, I'm never gonna look at porn ever again.

And then you start looking at porn and then there's no trust there. There's no consistency, there's no reliability in that. So it's a two-way street. On the one hand, you have to be willing to say what's actually gonna happen, and she has to be able to hear that and recognize that for what it is. It's not a cop out, it's a.

It's an understanding of your capacity and lack thereof, frankly.

Darcy Spafford: Yeah, and just remember that rebuilding trust requires time, patience, and really a lot of work and dedication from both partners. The process begins with being open. I. And honest about what's going on and being willing to talk about the breach and its impact it has on you and acknowledging the hurt caused and showing genuine remorse and is really, really quite critical.

And then from there, really just focusing on rebuilding through consistent honesty and transparency. Yeah. And just, Working on that, and it really is, it's totally doable. You can do it.

Zach Spafford: I think that's true. And the truth is that if you need help rebuilding, if you need somebody to talk to, I know that when Darcy talks to wives, it's I say this to people and I know that it sounds crazy because it is when a, when Darcy has a conversation with a wife, it's magic.

It's an extraordinary and opening mind boggling and mind opening conversation that allows people to start fresh and move forward with their partner. If you have not had a conversation with Darcy as a wife and you want to please just. Let's get that on the calendar. If you're a husband and you're struggling with pornography and you're like, my wife definitely needs to hear this, I'm gonna give you a real hot tip.

Don't say that to her. Yes. But what you may want to do is say, Hey, I listened to this podcast. It was a really great conversation and. That may give her a space to open up and start down the path of learning where it is that she wants to go with this,

Darcy Spafford: unless she listens to this, and then she's gonna be like, oh, he, my husband did exactly what he said to do to get me to

Zach Spafford: listen to this.

So maybe you'll wanna be transparent about how you're doing that, but Point is, this is really it. It's rebuilding trust and having these conversations can be difficult. And if you really do want intimacy, you have to be willing to go through the difficult, and that is not some, I tell people all the time, especially when they sit down for a consult, people come into my consults and they're like, Can you help me?

And I'm like, yeah, absolutely, I can help you. But let me tell you a little secret. It's not gonna be magic. It's gonna be hard work. I'm gonna teach you how to feel bad and it's gonna help you so that you don't choose porn. I'm gonna teach you to deal with the underlying issues in your life, and that's gonna help you.

So you don't look at porn and none of that's easy and none of it's necessarily fun. So it's a really ter terrible sales pitch,

Darcy Spafford: but I totally think it's 100% worth it in the end. Oh, a thousand

Zach Spafford: percent worth it. Because if you think about all the time and the energy and the effort that you're putting into quitting porn or beating yourself up because you're choosing porn or the cost of a divorce, or the cost of your spouse being deeply upset with you, all of that time and energy, if you could learn a skillset, That's proven, that's been studied, that has actual results behind it, and you could use that skillset to eliminate your pornography struggle.

Would all that effort that you've been spending on those feeling bad moments, would all that effort be put, could be put into creating a better life? Would that be worth it? And I think the answer is yes. I a hundred percent think that's,

Darcy Spafford: yes, I think it's agree. Okay, so I have this goal. And we have seven months to do it.

Or six. Sorry,

Zach Spafford: six months. How many more? Six months. Months. There's only five more months left in the year if that's what you're talking about. Ah, because August is in two days.

Darcy Spafford: No way. Yeah, that's crazy. Five months anyways. By the end of the year. I would really love it if we were over 200 podcast reviews.

We are at one 70. And I know there's a ton of you out there listening 'cause we can see the stats of how many people listen to it. Yep. So we would love it if you would leave us a review, especially on Apple Podcast. That's how,

Zach Spafford: And like I said last week, if you review us and you email us, you'll be in a drawing for a $50 gift card.

So do the review. Send me the review in an email, [email protected] and I will. I will put you in the drawing for a $50 gift card. I think that's, I think that's reasonable. Yes. Do it. Do it now. Just take your phone out right now while you're listening to me. Say, do it and do it. And you don't even have to write the review.

You just have to click on the stars. And if it's less than four stars, don't click. Just kidding. Alright, we love you guys. We really appreciate you. We hope that these conversations are helpful to you. I know that these conversations were helpful for me as I was eliminating my pornography struggle. And as Darcy and I have grown and continue to have these conversations, we're so grateful that we get to help so many people do this same work on their relationship and in their lives.

Darcy Spafford: And my other plug is, yeah. Sign up for a consult. If you've been listening to this podcast, sign up for a consult. We just had someone. Yeah. Why Haven have you signed up for a consult? We just had someone sign up for two, two people for our program that literally have been listening to our podcast since 2020.

Don't wait.

Zach Spafford: Why are you waiting? You might as well start now. What are you waiting for? Let's get it done. All right, my friends. We will talk to you next week. Bye.

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