One of the hardest things about recovering from an addiction is that I have broken the trust of several people around me. Now in recovery, I’m suffering the consequences of having broken trust with my wife, my close friends, and my former employer. It is a hard consequence to face.
My wife would be more qualified to speak on the things that have helped her trust me again, but here are some things that seem to have helped:
1. Setting up roadblocks, and letting my wife know – I have worked out several roadblocks to help me stay clean when I’m on the computer and TV. Marsha has the passwords for our computer and for heavier content on the TV. We also talk about my purity strategy when I’m away on a trip, or when she’s away on a trip.
2. Let Her Be Involved in My Accountability – I have determined to tell her whatever she wants to know about my purity struggles. Recently, we got to talking about a tough one…objectifying women. We had some challenging conversations. I let her pilot the ship on that one, and honestly answered each question. Sometimes I prefaced my answer with, “Are you sure you want me to tell you this?”
3. Going to Counseling – I think that my going to counseling every other week and paying money for help, helps her see that I’m serious. I give her a synopsis of my counseling appointment, and of the things I need to be working on.
4. Going to a Recovery Group – When I’m carving time in my schedule to make sure that I go to group meetings, it means a lot to her.
5. Open, Honest Talking – I rarely used to talketo my wife about the struggles I was having inside. Now we both have an honest (sometimes raw) exchange. Sometimes the things we say are hurtful. But we are growing because of it, and I think the trust is building because of it.
My accountability partner has challenged me with a question “Are you hiding anything from Marsha?” He encourages me to talk to my wife about the important things, and the things we’ve agreed on. This is helping me to press in toward her and is a relationship helper.
6. Confession – Saying “I’m sorry” and “Forgive, me” and “I was wrong” go a long way. I am learning to say these quicker.
7. Taking My Anger to God, Not My Spouse I want to be trusted. Sometimes I feel like I even deserve to be trusted. It really makes me angry when my wife doesn’t show trust in me. I have to realize that I’m the one who broke trust. It is never helpful for me to blast her about it. I am learning to take my angry feelings to God and let them dissolve in His lap.
8. Lots of Patience – I feel like I should be trusted soon … probably more quickly than I should. I think that because I’m going to group, working hard, and reading all of these books that that I should be trusted. My accountability partner surmised that on the things that I thought I was trustworthy on, it would take my spouse 6-12 months to get there. His summation and admonition seem to be right.
A friend of mine admitted some sexual sin to his wife. Their world broke apart 8 years ago. He’s been doing really well and their relationship has made some good strides. He recently asked her how much did she trusted him now. She said “about 90%”.
I’m not sure my percentage matters to me. But what does matter is that I am trustworthy. God knows where I am, and is helping me to not be deceitful and false about my life. He is helping me to be open with my wife and with others about my struggles and slips.
Jeff & Marsha are an amazing couple who have been through the fight for their marriage because of pornography. They now run a ministry called Porn To Purity which has helped many people and even more couples reunite their relationships.