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Are You Doing Accountability The Wrong Way?

Has someone talked to you about the importance of community recently?

How about the value of vulnerability?

I bet you’ve seen content on both subjects at least once in the last six months.

Interestingly enough – science has shown the percentage of people in this world without ANY confidants (not even one) has doubled in the last 20 years. Somehow, loneliness is on the rise. 

I talk to men regularly who struggle with pornography.

Each of their stories is unique, but one thing remains the same. 

The man has felt or currently feels lonely without fail. 

Then I ask… what have you done about it?

The answer usually includes one of the following:

-They told a trusted leader and never followed up with them

-No one in their friend circle can be trusted with the details of their struggle

-Tried an accountability partner system and it’s not working

All of these experiences can cause a lot of frustration, but I have a particular bone to pick about the accountability partner system that is so commonly preached.

Almost every guy I talk to that is looking to get free of porn has tried a form of accountability at some point.

Here are some examples:

  • A client of mine attended a workshop on freedom from lust and sexual sin. In the end, he was matched up with a stranger to be his accountability partner. They texted back and forth for about three weeks and haven’t communicated since.
  • A university student asked a respected leader in his community to be his accountability partner. The arrangement? He would text him after he watched porn and ask for prayer. The leader would write back, “praying for you!” This lasted for about three months. 
  • A friend created a penalty system. Every time he looked at porn, he had to give a $500 donation to a charitable organization! 

The upsetting part is that accountability is a good thing! When it’s done properly, it can be so helpful. But most of the systems out there are so lackluster that they usually make the problem much worse. 

Here are a few common mistakes that I see a lot of men making when it comes to accountability.


Source: XXXchurch

Video

How Honest Can I Be In Recovery?

When we step into our recovery journey, we learn a lot about ourselves and how we’ve numbed out to life’s pain/trauma. Often, we struggle to know how much we can or should share with others about our recovery journey. Rodney Wright joins us to speak about how honest we should be in our recovery?

To hear the full episode: puredesire.org/relationships-recovery



Source: Pure Desires Ministries

2 Things Your Spouse Doesn’t Need to Know About Your Porn Use

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If there are certain things you shouldn’t tell your spouse about your porn addiction, it must mean there are important things s/he does needs to know. First and foremost, that you are using pornography.

Confessing to your spouse, either before or after you’ve been caught, is crucial for your recovery and for your marriage to be healthy and whole. Secrets like this kill relationships. They breed darkness and shame. One of the greatest things in life is to have relationships where we are fully known and fully loved. If we harbor our sins, we will never be fully known and will always doubt whether or not we are loved because of who we truly are or for the image we project.

Honesty is of prime importance, but so is knowing what is appropriate to reveal. Here are two things you can plan on leaving out of this conversation.

1. Your Spouse Doesn’t Need the Gory Details

In our situation, I first found out about my husband’s addiction alone in a room on his computer when I started typing in the URL bar. Though the title of the webpage very clearly indicated that I would be taken to pornography, my disbelief and shock compelled me to check it out.

I wish I hadn’t.

I can still see those images when I recall the circumstances, even though this event happened seventeen years ago. The truth is, however, one doesn’t have to actually see something in order to form an image in our mind. If that was the case, books would be incredibly boring, right? When you tell your spouse about your porn use, you can leave out the gory details. She doesn’t need you to recreate the scene or let her in on what you like in your fantasy world. She definitely doesn’t need you to actually show her what you’ve been viewing.

What this does to your spouse:

  • These details can create unpleasant mental images, which can lead to traumatic flashbacks and increased distress.
  • It’s been well documented that social media and pornographic images of women have distorted both gender’s views on what constitutes a beautiful, sexually-appealing female. The last thing your spouse needs is to come face-to-face with unhealthy expectations and unmeetable standards. She is already feeling insecure in herself and in your relationship and this will only exacerbate the situation and lead to even worse consequences.
  • When her world has been rocked with your confession, a myriad of thoughts and emotions will pass through your spouse’s mind. One of those thoughts may be that not only does she needs to conform herself to look like these images, but to be pleasing to you, she must also act in the same ways. But physical intimacy within the context of marriage is the opposite of what happens in pornography. You don’t truly want her acting like the porn star on the screen, nor do you want her to feel the pressure of her doing something doesn’t want to do.

What to do instead: 

  • Affirm that your pornography use is not about her—who she is, what she does, or what she looks like.
  • Share (if you know already) what is behind your addiction, i.e. “I’ve been looking at porn since eighth grade and I haven’t yet been able to cut it out of my life” or “Every time I get stressed, I’ve turned to porn to try to escape because I didn’t know how to talk about it.”
  • Validate her feelings of betrayal, shock, anger, sadness, or whatever else comes out and don’t justify your porn use with something like “All I’m doing is looking at pictures.”

2. Your Spouse Doesn’t Need the Half-Truths

When you do tell your wife about your addiction, it may be tempting to only tell her pieces of your story in an effort not to overwhelm her. But think about it this way: if you were majorly injured playing your sport and had to have surgery, you’d be a little hesitant to perhaps engage in your sport in the same manner after you’ve begun to recover. You’d be more protective, tread a little more lightly. You’d ease into doing things that you used to take for granted because you felt safe and secure doing them before the injury. Overtime, though, with the right physical therapy and support, you’re pretty likely to get back in the game.

One injury is traumatic. But what if instead of one big blow, every time you got on the field, you hurt something—not bad enough to have surgery, but still incredibly painful: a twisted ankle, a broken forearm, a concussion. After every practice, something would go wrong and you’d feel more and more beat up, injury compounding injury. How long until you give up going to the fields?

Lest you’re considering expanding the sports analogy, I’ll tell you why we end it here. Sure, in sports, the more you train, the more you can do, the more your body can handle. But, confessing your addiction to your spouse is not an endurance sport. You may be tempted to think you’re building her resilience by giving her small things and that will help her work up and be able to handle the big things. But your brain is not a muscle and it doesn’t recover or process trauma in the same way as your muscular system.

What this does to your wife:

  • Half-truths only intensify her trauma. If you share part of your story and she thinks she knows the full extent, the next time you further reveal details or events surrounding your addiction, she will experience both the new trauma and re-live the entire first round. This is compounding trauma.
  • It makes her unable to begin to trust you again because she never knows when the story is really out. If you confess piecemeal, she will fear there’s going to be something around another corner down the road.

What to do instead:

  • Prior to talking with her, think through your whole story and what you need to tell her.For example, if your story includes watching porn AND corresponding with someone from a pornographic or dating website, make a plan on how you will stay the course of confession, knowing it’s going to be hard and you may be tempted to stop after her reaction about the first thing. It may be helpful to role-play this with a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor.
  • Know she will probably ask you a lot of questions.Pray and ask God to give you the strength to answer each one honestly and carefully. Pray also for your wife before you tell her.

This is will be a difficult conversation for both of you. It will rock your spouse’s world and will feel like the foundation of your relationship is gone. However, through this conversation, you also have the opportunity to begin to lay a new foundation and to rebuild something out of the rubble. We serve a God of restoration and reconciliation and with Him, all things are possible.

Source: Covenant Eyes

015: Dishonesty Will Destroy Your Marriage

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My point of brokenness occurred when my wife (fiance at the time) took her engagement ring off and slid it across the table and said: “I won’t marry you”. It was as if the Lord was saying: “You’ve nearly destroyed your life, I won’t allow you to destroy my daughter’s life.” Dishonesty is a destroyer of marriage. The moment you stop being honest with your spouse is the moment you have given up on your marriage. This week, Frank shares from his own life what it took to come out of addiction and into freedom. Also, what is temptation really? Should we be worried or concerned when we’re tempted?


If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.

014: The Truth About Transparency

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Transparency in recovery means you’re completely honest with your spouse, doesn’t it? What do you really share with them? How far do you go in explaining to them how you struggle? This week, Frank & Tracey both attempt to address these questions and more as they talk from their own personal experience of addiction & recovery journeys. Husbands AND wives: You don’t want to miss this episode.


If you and your spouse are struggling and would like help on your journey, please feel free to contact us! Or, if you’re a wife and need some extra help from another wife who’s walked through what you have, head on over to the “Support for Wives” section and shoot Tracey a a message by filling out the contact form. All communication is strictly confidential.