I'm a wife dealing with her husband's addiction to pornography. I hope to be a resource for wives (and family members) dealing with similar struggles. Please join in the conversation and leave comments--even if you are here for curiosity's sake and are just learning about this kind of struggle! You can read my story here and the 4 things I think every addict's wife should know here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Our husbands have a problem. It is so easy to blame them for the problems in our marriages. We are hurt, we have trust issues, we have sex issues. And, let's be honest, it makes us plain crazy sometimes. If only our lives could be easy. If only our husbands didn't have this problem. Our lives would be perfect and we'd live in a dreamy glow if it weren't for our husbands' addictions.

Right? I'm not so sure.

It is so easy for us to concentrate on our husbands' problems and view ourselves as the perfect spouse who would never do anything like this to someone we love. Easy for us to say since we don't have the addiction.

While I don't think we should be blaming ourselves for our husbands' problems, I do think we should use this opportunity to evaluate the ways we are negatively affecting our marriages. If our husbands are expected to work incredibly hard to fix how they are hurting our marriages, we should be doing the same.

Let me give you an example. I am realistic. My husband is a dreamer. I would prefer to have conversations about things that have to do with the here and now. He would prefer to talk about what could be. Because of this, I feel the need to ground him when he starts getting (what I consider to be) too far away from reality. I didn't realize how much this hurt him in the past. Every time he'd bring up a topic or an idea, I would shoot it down with every possible "logical" response as to why it wasn't feasible. I thought I was just being reasonable. He eventually stopped telling me things that interested him.

Let me repeat that: My husband stopped sharing things with me, because he (rightly) assumed I would shoot down everything that came out of his mouth.

I have only seen my husband cry about three times in the years I've known him. He does not show his emotions through crying, so for him to actually break down and cry means that he has likely cried over and over and over inside until he couldn't take it anymore.

The first two times he cried to me were because he was so broken down and defeated by me shooting down all his dreams and ideas. I was suffocating his creativity.

The third time was the most recent time he confessed to lying to me about his pornography use. Do you know why he cried? He cried out of relief and gratitude when I didn't get mad at him. I didn't get angry. I didn't cry. I didn't shut down or keep my distance for days on end. I didn't make him feel worse about something that already had him lower than low. He cried tears of gratitude, because I showed him that I loved him, was worried about him, and was there to support him.

I'd love to say that I cause my husband to cry tears of joy more often, but he has cried more from me hurting him. I'm not perfect. I do things that hurt my husband. I do things that weaken our relationship and our marriage.

Please take a step back and look at how you affect your relationship. Is there anything you can work on? Do you say or do things or act certain ways that, if your husband were doing those things back to you, would hurt you? Are you bringing positivity or negativity into your relationship? Are you being honest with yourself and with him?

We can't fix our husbands' problems, but we can fix our own. Now, if your marriage is truly on the rocks and you are likely headed for divorce, you may be thinking, "Why should I work to make our marriage good if he is ruining it and leading to our divorce?" The answer is this: If you can figure out how to positively contribute to marriage even under the worst of circumstances, consider how prepared you will be to contribute your absolute best self when you some day find yourself in a healthy relationship.

Ladies, let's do our part. If we expect our husbands to work day in and day out to rid themselves of the huge "imperfection" that they carry, let's make sure we are fixing our own imperfections.

{Upcoming topics: confidence, marriage as the scape goat, teaching our kids about sex}

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What I've Learned: Part 3

I've learned that being a control freak doesn't really fix anything.

That doesn't mean I don't still have my moments, but I'm slowly accepting that my husband's battle is to change and my battle is to support him in that change. I can't cause that change, no matter how much I try.

I may be quite radical in my philosophies here, but this is the way my brain works. This is what I think, and you may have a different approach.

We don't have special filters or locks on our computers. Our Google searches are set to a moderate-high filter just to keep some of the temptation (and inappropriate material in general) at bay when we're doing regular searches. But we don't have any special parent locks or anything like that. Why? There's always a way around it. If they want to find it, they will. I recently read on CafeMom about a husband who is a computer whiz and goes around every block and lock they have on their computer. I'm not interested in putting everything on lock down. I'm interested in my husband taking control of his life and being accountable for his actions. That involves agency.

I don't check the browser history anymore. Did you know that you can delete individual entries in the history in most web browsers? Did that just make you sick to your stomach? I had a paranoia moment the day I realized that. If my husband is looking at pornography and not telling me or deleting it so I won't see it, then he has things he needs to work out. Me finding it on the history is only going to lead to me being upset. That's not going to fix the problem. My husband needs to learn how to not look at it in the first place and how to tell me when he messes up. Communication and honesty are more important to me than checking browser history.

And I don't ask him a bazillion times a day what he's doing. He doesn't need me hounding him. He knows he has a problem. Sure, he could keep from looking at anything if I were standing next to him all day long, but is that really fixing anything?

That said, I do think it is important to set healthy boundaries. If he tends to look at things on a laptop late at night, it's important that he plan to only use a laptop in a location and at a time when others would be able to walk by and see what's on the screen. If he tends to mess up when he's on YouTube, he should block YouTube and make a commitment to never go on YouTube for anything. He needs to find out what is triggering him and then make a plan for staying away from that. If that plan involves putting a lock on the internet, then that's what he needs to do. If he looks at things on his smartphone, perhaps he needs to consider going back to good old fashioned cell phones.

What I'm saying is that he needs to set boundaries for himself. He needs to figure out his triggers and the necessary boundaries. We cannot control what he does, and trying is only going to make us crazy.

Instead of trying to track his every move, work with him to figure out what is causing his episodes. Then work with him on a plan to stay away from those situations. Ask him how you can help and then be that help. But don't be a control freak. I know (from experience!) that it's hard, but it is possible.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What do you have to give?

A Blog About Love
Okay, I know I said I'd post about being a control freak today, but I may save that for later tonight. For now, I want to refer you to another blog. Yes--this blog is written by a husband and wife who are madly in love with each other and have figured out how to be happy and show each other the perfect form of love. Does that sound like something that makes you want to rip your hair out at this point in your life?

Well consider this. They both went through separate and painful divorces before meeting each other. Each was left by their spouse. They have gone through difficult things in their lives and have learned how to be happy despite their trials. Even happy in their trials (they struggle with infertility as well). They write in order to help other people find the same happiness.

Now do you want to read what they have to say?

Danny's latest post is about giving what we want to receive. The golden rule. Or even trying to give what we want most in life even if we think we don't have it to give (love, confidence, kindness, forgiveness, trust). What I love most about his post is that he says that whatever you send out into the world will come back to you. He doesn't say that your spouse will suddenly be perfect if you're perfect to your spouse. He says that what you send out will come back to you--some how, some time, in some way.

And I believe that's true.

Do you feel capable of giving at this point in your life? When you feel like so much has been taken from you? When all you want is for your husband to love you and only you and be honest with you and leave everything worldly behind just to keep you, do you feel capable of providing others with what you want? Even him? Being kind to him? Supporting him? Being loyal to him even when he isn't being loyal to you? (Thanks "R" for talking about being loyal.)

I think this is a hard question. There are so many factors involved. At what point are we being too hard on our husbands? At what point are we being pushovers and enabling our husbands to keep doing what they're doing? Can we show full love and compassion without being a pushover?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hi. My name is Mac. And I have bouts of paranoia!

Actually, I'm not that bad anymore. But we all go through it. Take the other night for example. My husband got home before me (which never happens--this set off alarm number 1). His car was home, but he wasn't anywhere to be found. Eventually I found him in bed. (Alarm number 2 goes off.) Why would my husband go to bed at 6pm? I ask him how he's doing. "Just tired." (Alarm number 3--is he really just tired or emotionally unstable??) Then alarms number 4, 5, and 6 go off just because I'm already full swing into the paranoia. So while he was getting out of bed and going to help make dinner, my mood was spiraling down and down and down.

"You're just tired?"

"You sure that's just it?"

"Did you do anything?"

"For sure? Are you telling the truth? For sure? For sure?" (My husband has lied to these questions in the past, so there's always a part of me deep down that thinks if I ask him enough times, he'll spill the beans.)

I tried to resist. I really did.

But when I went back into the room to change into sweats, I found myself doing a quick sweep under the covers, under the bed, in the hamper for any signs of masturbation.

I felt so dumb. I felt like someone else was controlling my body. When did I become this paranoid person trying to catch my husband in the act? If I found something, would it really make any difference? Would it fix anything?

I went back in the kitchen and shared my concerns with my husband.

The look on his face made my heart melt. He hugged me and truly felt terrible for making me worry. He didn't realize that taking a nap in bed as opposed to on the couch would bring all these thoughts flooding into my head. He explained that he had been falling asleep at work so he left a half hour early. He came home and decided to take a quick nap before we got home so that he wouldn't be exhausted all evening, but we came home right after he lied down. Nothing happened. He hadn't even been having tempting thoughts that day. As we talked, it was obvious that he felt so responsible for the fact that I have these kinds of trust issues. He knows it's his fault that I worry like I do.

Sadly, if this had happened in the past, it wouldn't have mattered. If he had been so tired at work that he came home early, I probably would have told him to keep sleeping. I would have made dinner, gotten the kids in bed, and then snuggled into bed with him. I would have been concerned about the fact that he was tired. Instead I made him get up and did a sweep of the bedroom, half expecting to catch him lying to me.

It breaks my heart that this is plaguing our relationship.

That's what happens when addiction and lies enter a relationship. We stop taking care of each other and only focus on the addiction. Tired husbands lie down for a nap and wake up to the Inquisition. Wives come home happy and are triggered into paranoia by something as innocent as a nap.

I'm working on the paranoia. Most of the time I'm great. But remind me of the lying and I turn into a mess. We're working on it. He's slowly learning what triggers my emotional scars and I'm slowly learning to trust him.

What do you do to keep yourself from being paranoid like this? Have you gotten to the point in your battle where you can let things go and be more calm about it? I am WAY better than I used to be. How are you doing?

{Tomorrow's post: Being a Control Freak Fixes Nothing}

Monday, December 12, 2011


My reason for writing this blog is to help all of us strengthen our marriages from the inside out. Putting all our effort into fighting this addiction is only going to help so much if our marriages aren't sound to begin with. We can keep bailing water out of the boat, but we can't ignore the slow leaks that are letting water in.

I have noticed that the more my husband and I strengthen our marriage, the better we are getting at fighting the addiction. I do not think this is a coincidence.

Today we're going to address the topic of nagging. I hate the word. HATE it. My husband knows that there will be hell to pay if he even jokes that I'm "nagging."

Merriam-Webster defines "nag" as "to find fault incessantly," "to be a persistent source of annoyance or distraction," and "to irritate by constantly scolding or urging."

Ladies (and gentlemen), the topic of nagging has two sides to it.

(For simplicity's sake, we're going to assume that the ladies are the ones doing the "nagging." I know it goes both ways.)

So let's concentrate on the ladies first since it is healthy to find the beam in our own eye before criticizing the mote in others'. Are we constantly finding fault in our husbands? Are we always annoyed with them? Do we feel like they aren't pulling their own weight? Do we have real conversations with them about interesting topics or do our interactions with our husbands consist solely of logistical matters?
  • Hey--have you had a chance to ______? 
  • When you're done doing that, can you _______? 
  • Don't forget to _______. 
  • Um, did you do anything while I was out? 
  • Seriously? You still haven't ______?? You have been saying you'll do that for weeks! 
  • I swear it's never going to get done. Why do I have to do everything myself?
  • Have you been doing your scripture study? Have you talked to the bishop lately? What did you do with your time today? Why did you spend so much time watching TV? You need to get out and exercise. Why do you stay up so late?
Sound familiar? How would you like it if every time you got together for lunch with your best friend she pointed out all the things you were doing wrong in your life? Trust me--she would not be your best friend anymore. You'd feel like crap around her and avoid her at all cost.

Let's look at the other side of this "nagging" coin. The connotation of the word takes all the responsibility off the husband and makes the wife look like the bad guy. The persistent source of annoyance.

Do you know what the common use of "nagging" really refers to? Reminding someone to do something that should have already been done. I am very straight forward with my husband. I once told him, "If I remind you to do something, it's because you already agreed to do it and you haven't yet. It is not my fault you haven't gotten it done. I am not the bad guy for reminding you. Reminding is not nagging."

If he takes responsibility for his tasks, I do not have to remind him. The choice is up to him.

So how in the world do we make this work?

A friend once told me that studies had shown that couples are happiest when the roles of each partner are clearly defined--not necessarily evenly divided, but clearly defined. (I have no idea if this was an actual scientific study or not, but the concept is good.)

The key is to sit down with your husband and talk it out. Who is in charge of what? Which roles are we sharing? Is he assuming you're going to do the laundry? Are you assuming he's going to take out the trash? Have you ever asked him if he wants to be in charge of taking out the trash? Has he ever asked you if you want make dinner every night? Talk about what roles you normally hold. My husband and I recently decided that I am in charge of making sure we read scriptures together. He is in charge of making sure we pray. Do you know what? We are reading and praying together more than we ever have before. There is no resentment that I'm always the one suggesting we read. I'm not "nagging" him to read scriptures with me. We decided together that that was going my role.

This goes for things related to the addiction as well. Decide when you will discuss it. We designated Sunday evenings after the kids go to bed. We talk about how the week went, how we're doing emotionally, and what our goals are for the week. This way I don't get angry if he goes all week without wanting to talk about it. I know the time will come, because we designated a time together.

Sit down with your spouse and talk about these things. Of course, not every role has to be divvied out. My husband and I actually share most roles and chores in our home, but those tasks that end up being sources of contention should be sorted out. And when the roles are defined, let him be in charge of his tasks. You are not his mom. He is an adult. If you weren't in his life, he could probably handle taking out the trash without you reminding him ten times. Let him be an adult. And if he slacks off, let it go. Do your tasks happily and let him do his.

Then have a real conversation with him. About something interesting and fun.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What I've Learned: Part 2


I've learned that there are so many of us struggling silently together. We feel so alone, but there are more of us going through this than we realize.

Some are newlyweds. Some have been married for 20 years. Some have kids. Some don't. Some knew about their husbands' addictions before they were married. Some found out when the problem started a few years into marriage. Some found out after years and years of secrecy. Some husbands only look at pornography periodically. Some husbands are so deep into their addiction that they have have cheated on their wives. Some husbands are loving and kind and trying hard to stay sober. Some are in denial. Some are emotionally abusive and blame their wives for their problems. Some women have been left by their husbands. Some were the ones who did the leaving. Some are still walking alongside their husbands in the battle to beat this problem.

Our situations are all different. There is no one right or wrong way to get through this. We are different, yet we are the same in so many ways...
  1. It hurts. IT HURTS. I didn't know before this that you can actually feel emotional pain. It hurts in my chest. It's an emotional and physical pain you can't describe. But we don't need to be able to describe it. Our sisters in this struggle understand. Oh how it hurts. 
  2. We are concerned about the future. We wonder if it will every really go away. Will we be able to fully trust again? Is this my life? What if things get worse? When do you fight with all your might and at what point do you call it quits? Just the thought of those questions makes our hearts heavy.
  3. We want it all to go away. Forever. We wish this didn't have to be part of our lives. 
  4. We feel so alone. For most of us, our closest friends and family have no idea. We tell people we're doing great even when our hearts feel like lead. We reach out to our religious leaders and to our therapy groups and to our online friends. But we long to be honest with our friends and family and say, "No. No, I'm not okay. I'm struggling. I need you."
  5. We are strong. Some of us may think we aren't cut out for this kind of battle, but look at us.We're fighting it. We can do it, because we are doing it. We are strong.
I am grateful for the women I have found online. I don't know you, but I feel you are my friends. We all have different stories, but we can relate. It is so comforting to know that someone out there knows exactly how we feel.

I want so badly to send an email out to all of my friends--every last one of them--and share my story. There is no way I'm the only one of my friends struggling with this. If only we could find out who is struggling without having to tell everyone. If only we could all secretly throw our names into a hat and magically know which friends are going through the same thing.

We're not silent to protect ourselves. We are silent because we love and respect our husbands. This is their problem. We were caught in the storm by association. We keep the secret out of love. Their struggles and dealings with God do not need to be out on the table for everyone to gawk at. So we do our best to support their efforts and find our own support system (whether that be a few close family members and friends, a therapy group, or solely anonymous support groups online). But we don't publically divulge their sins. It's not an easy thing to go through.

But we're not alone.

Friday, December 9, 2011

let's talk about sex

Come on, ladies. Let's get it all out on the table. This topic is huge.

Number 1) Many of us grew up in environments in which sex was a hush-hush topic. Taboo. You don't talk about it. And the only time you did was in church lessons where you were told that sex should be saved for marriage. So the message was conveyed (perhaps inadvertently) that sex and anything related to sex was bad bad bad. Tell me--can you say vagina or clitoris or orgasm or penis or ejaculation out loud without cringing or laughing? No? Can your husband? We are grown adults who can't talk about sex, because it was just something you don't talk about. Not everyone grew up in this environment, but I think it's safe to say that the majority of us did.

Along these lines, lots of young men are exposed to pornography way too young. Some of them avoid it after that. Some of them are addicted right away. And then they have a totally skewed idea of what sex should be. This can lead them to be disappointed in their sex lives right from the start because it wasn't all sparks and fireworks on the wedding night. Porn is purely physical and teaches young men nothing about the emotional side of intimacy.

Both scenarios leave out some important aspects: Sex is a huge part of relationships. Good sex is something that is learned and developed over time. Sex is good. Sex is fun. Sex is not something you should be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about (or do!) with your spouse! You know how people cringe when someone makes a joke or mentions their parents having sex? Well you know what? I hope my parents still have sex and I hope they have fun doing it! Yep. I said it. I hope my parents are happy.

Answer this: Do you think you have a healthy sex life?

Number 2) I know. I know. It's hard to answer that question, because we feel that our problems with our sex lives are a direct result of the addictions our spouses face. How are we supposed to separate the sexual urges our husbands feel toward pornography and their desire to have sex with us? It's a downward spiral. They look at pornography. That makes us feel angry and repulsed and our gut reaction is to not let them touch us. Not let them see us naked. Protect ourselves. Why would we want to share something so sacred as our bodies with someone who looks at other naked women for sexual pleasure? So we are distant. And they try so hard to get close to us again--emotionally and physically. But the more they hug and caress us, the more we try to avoid their touch. And that becomes our excuse for not wanting to have sex. I know you've all gone through this cycle. It's terrible. I go through it all the time.

But let's dig a little deeper. Let's ignore the addiction for a minute. How is your sex life when times are good? Does the excuse not to have sex just change to something else? I'm tired. I'm pregnant. I'm not confident in my postpartum body. I'm bloated. I'm hungry. I ate too much. I haven't shaved. I haven't brushed my teeth. Our house is dirty so we should be cleaning up, not fooling around. I'm stressed about work. I'm grumpy. The list goes on and on and on.

Is the pornography excuse just one more excuse in our big long list of reasons why we don't want to have sex? Don't get me wrong--I think the addiction excuse is probably the most legitimate of all of these, but is there something deeper that we should be working on?

Answer this: If all were right on the addiction front, would you still not want to have sex?

When I'm having sex, I love it. No, really--I do. It's thrilling. The problem is getting past all those millions of excuses when I'm "not in the mood." I'd love to blame it on how the addiction affects me, but I'm smart enough to know that that only escalates an issue that I already have.

Answer this: Have you talked to a counselor about this? Have you had deep conversations with your spouse about this? What wise advice do you have about maintaining a healthy sex life? And what advice do you have for maintaining a healthy sex life with a sex addict?

That last question probably sounded very strange. BUT (barring an abusive relationship) intimacy is an important part of marriage and healthy relationships and should not be abandoned or overlooked in the face of our trials.

Let's hear what you think.

Note: I know that a range of people will read this. Newlyweds, long-term relationships, those struggling with addiction, those who are in or have escaped abusive relationships, or even those who are just here for curiosity's sake. I'd love to hear everyone's perspective. 

{Upcoming topics: nagging, confidence, designating roles, imperfections, and teaching our kids about sex}

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What I've Learned: Part 1

I have learned so much throughout this process. We've had ups and downs. The ups are great and the downs are so so so hard. I'm not a pro at this by any means, but I've been dealing with this for years and have learned a thing or two. I'd like to share that with you---in no particular order.

I've learned that this problem will be with us forever. How's that for depressing? ;) Actually, although the realization of this fact was depressing, it has also made things so much easier for me to deal with. Let me explain.

I want this to go away. I want it to be GONE. To never have to deal with it again. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Addiction doesn't go away. The addict can become "sober" and stop "using" but the addiction will always be there.

I'm someone who likes to plan for the future. This understanding has made planning for the future so much easier. Relapse will most likely happen. Once I got that into my head, I was able to prepare myself for the next relapse instead of just praying and praying that it wouldn't happen. I was able to assure my husband that I would be supportive and understanding if he would just tell me when something happened. And the next time he admitted a relapse, I kept my cool. I hugged him. We talked about it. We made a plan. I didn't break down. I didn't get angry.

He actually cried when we were done talking. He was so scared that I would lash out at him and not talk to him for days. He wants to tell me but is so afraid of hurting me. Knowing he can trust me as a support and not just as someone who will yell at him and cry and ignore him every time he messes up has helped him open up to me.

You see, the trust issues go both ways. I have trouble trusting him because he lies. He doesn't trust me as someone who will actually help him, because he knows how hurt and mad I'll be. He admitted that he needs to start trusting in my ability to love and forgive and support him. Would you go tell your Bishop you made a mistake if you knew he was going to start yelling at you and give you the silent treatment every time you saw him at church? No. You would never go talk to him.

Realizing that my husband was going to relapse some day made me realize that he would need my support when that day came.

I've learned that supporting him means listening to him, helping him, loving him. It also means being firm with him and being honest about his behavior and my expectations for him, but that feedback needs to be positive and constructive.

Friday, December 2, 2011

my story

I first wrote my story for a "How She Does It" series on my friend's blog (see my post here). I would encourage you to go read her "How She Does It" series from 2010 and 2011. We're all dealing with things we never expected to deal with in life. And people who find out say things like, "I don't know how you do it. I would never be able to do that. You are amazing." But we all know that we do it because it's our life. We do it because we have to, and we do it because WE CAN. We are capable. Heavenly Father knows what we can handle, even if we don't. Trust Him. We can do this. Her series includes the stories of women and how they do it.

I am re-posting my story below, but I'd encourage you to go read her series as well.

My story:

No one has ever asked me how I've done it, because no one knows I've had to do it. No one but my husband, and he was the reason I had to "do it." So I'm asking myself--how do I hold it together while helping my husband through an addiction to pornography?

To many people on this earth, looking at pornography is no big deal. In our faith (and for many who share our sentiments), it falls into the category of having "sexual relations" outside of marriage. It is very serious and something we covenant not to do.

When my husband and I were dating, I felt prompted to ask him if he had ever looked at porn. He painfully told me the truth--that he had struggled with it off and on since high school, and that he still looked at it occasionally. He felt ashamed. I was crushed. This was the man I wanted to marry. I had to decide if this was something I wanted in life. We talked. He promised to stop. He talked to our church leaders. He stopped. He promised.

Fast forward a couple years. We were happily married. I asked him about it occasionally, and the answer was almost always that he was doing great. Every once in a while I would find something on the computer or just feel prompted that he was hiding something. He would admit that he had relapsed and looked at porn. I would cry. I would shut down. I would feel so hurt, so betrayed. I was disgusted.I couldn't look at him, talk to him, change in front of him. I had shared my life and body with him, and only him. He in turn looked at other naked women. He couldn't explain why. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn't stop.

For anyone who thinks pornography is not an addiction, I would ask them to reconsider. Ask anyone who looks at pornography on a regular basis to give it up cold turkey and forever. They won't be able to, because it is an addiction. It is like drugs. My husband learned this the hard way, and I in turn struggled in the wake of his addiction. My only consolation was that, no matter what, if I asked him about it he would tell me the truth. He never came forward on his own because he was so terrified that he would hurt me or, even worse, that I would leave him. He was scared, but he always told the truth when I asked. At least I knew he wouldn't lie to me.

I told him I didn't want to have kids with someone who looked at pornography, because pornography addiction leads down a slippery slope and often leads to cheating and divorce. Who would want to bring kids into that situation? He agreed to start going to an addiction recovery program through our church (link: http://www.providentliving.org/content/list/0,11664,4177-1,00.html). Things were going great. He made progress. The program was a huge blessing in our lives and we both highly recommend it. It helped me understand his addiction. It helped me see things from his perspective. Seeing him turn to our Heavenly Father for help made it easier for me to do the same.

Our lives continued. We were happy. I continued to ask him about it on a regular basis over the next couple years. The answer was always the same--that he was doing great. That he hadn't looked at it. He promised. One day I found something on the computer and he assured me over and over that it wasn't his. He promised. He promised that he hadn't had any problems whatsoever. I wanted to trust him, because "at least I knew he wouldn't lie to me." I broke down and told him I refused to be one of those poor wives who blindly believe their husbands while their husbands lie behind their backs. That was not the life I signed up for. He broke down. He admitted that not only had he looked at porn, but that he had been lying to me when I'd asked about it.

Do you know what it's like to have your husband lie to you to your face? Do you know what it's like to feel stupid for believing him? It hurts. It rips a hole in everything you have known. Everything you have built your life around. Then you find yourself in a dark hole wondering what else he's capable of lying about. It's hard to forgive. It's hard to trust again.

So how have I done it? My husband is a very good person. Everyone who knows him can attest to that. Everyone loves him. Because this was my husband's struggle, it wasn't mine to talk about. In order to do so, I would have had to divulge his addiction. He wasn't ready for that. He was ashamed. He beat himself up for hurting me over and over. He didn't want that to be the thing for which people remembered him. Out of respect for him, I kept it between the two of us. I felt alone. I didn't have anyone to talk to. No one to give me guidance. No one to tell me it would be okay.

I turned to my Heavenly Father. Many times did I sob and pray for comfort. "Please help me stop crying. Please help me understand this. Please help me know what to do. Please help me have the desire to forgive him." I know it was my Heavenly Father who helped me through time and time again. He helped me understand the addiction and separate it from the way my husband felt about me. I could see my husband trying to fix things. Trying to improve. Trying to leave this horrible beast in the past only to be beat down by it again and again. It was also through prayer that I came to the realization that this problem started long before I knew my husband, which helped me to never have the terrible thoughts that maybe I was the problem. That maybe I wasn't pretty enough. Maybe he wasn't happy with me. Heavenly Father helped me keep these false sentiments far away. He helped me see that it wasn't my fault. It was something my husband had to endure, but not because of me.

Luckily for me, I have always had a very strong self-image. One day it clicked and I walked up to my husband and told him how amazing I was--I was educated, I was smart, I could sing, I could play sports, I could play the piano, I had a good relationship with Christ, I was attractive...I went on for a long time. I was anything but humble. I told him that I am amazing and that he needed to treat me as such. I didn't deserve this. (I think I needed to hear that more than he did.) Then I cried and went on to tell him how amazing he is. He didn't deserve to have his life ruined by this addiction. There is so much more to him. This does not define him. I vowed to help him and love him and stand by his side forever. All I asked in return was honesty. I felt peace in my heart.

We have an amazing relationship. Things are going well. We have been blessed with children and are very happy. No one would guess that we have struggled with something so painful. I trust my husband. He is my life. I am his. Even so, we are very much living in reality. We know this beast could show its ugly head in the near or distant future. That's the reality with addiction. I have come to accept this.

I asked for his honesty and he asked for my support. We both ask our Heavenly Father for help. We talk about it often.

That's how we do it.