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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

On masturbation

My opinions on this topic have been all over the board in my life. I've become quite accustomed to being "all over the board" on a lot of topics as I work through things. I've decided that's just fine and probably healthy.

When I was young I stumbled upon masturbation somewhat by accident, as I'm sure many young people do. I had an understanding that it wasn't right and I avoided it for the most part, but still did it every once in a while. I never really felt like it was a terrible thing, but I also didn't feel great about it. I'm sure this stems from the idea of sexual purity as taught in my religion. As I've gotten older, I've realized that I am actually glad I had those experiences when I was younger. I have heard my fair share of stories from women who don't love sex in part because they don't usually get much pleasure from it. I would hate sex, too, if that were the case. However, I learned quite young how to please myself, so unless I'm just having a really bad day, I normally climax during sex. This may sound like way too much information for you, but my point is this--I think that knowing our own bodies is important and okay and healthy. In fact, I think young married women who have not explored this should get to know their bodies in order to enhance their intimacy with their husbands. People tend to like sex more when it's something they enjoy. It's hard to enjoy it if you aren't ever getting pleasure out of it.

Now let's venture to the other end of the spectrum. I also have an intense "hate" relationship with masturbation because I associate it with pornography and dishonesty. I want to acknowledge that I use the words "masturbation" and "self pleasure," but you will never see me refer to it as "Mr. M." (If you read Maurice Harker's blog--in my side bar--you will see that some of his patients use this term in therapy sessions, likely because they are not yet comfortable using the word "masturbation.") I have a dear friend who went through chemotherapy for breast cancer. She told me that she refused to call it "chemo." She said, "We are not friends. It's not cute. It does not deserve a nickname." This is how I felt about masturbation. It did not deserve a nickname. If I was going to talk about it, I was going to face it for the ugly thing it was in all its horrific glory. It made me mad. It was a dirty word.

Then one day I had a great conversation with some friends during a girls' weekend. One of my friends mentioned that she and her husband are totally okay with self pleasure. If she or her husband found themselves aroused when the other was not around, he or she would go ahead and please him/herself and send a text to the other with something short and sweet like, "Just had myself a good time! ;)"

At that moment, the light bulb went on in my head.

This is what a healthy sexual relationship between a husband and wife looked like. Open. Honest. Trusting. Playful.

I've heard many times (from my church leaders and others) that what married couples do in terms of intimacy is totally up to them as long as both partners are comfortable with it. And that makes perfect sense to me. Regardless of what the world thinks about pornography and regardless of what my church preaches about pornography, I do not feel comfortable with it. And if my husband respects that, it does not belong in our relationship. Unfortunately, the self pleasure that was going on in our home was so interconnected with the pornography and the hiding and lying that I viewed it as a terrible thing. And because I've known about the pornography since before we were married, it never occurred to me to explore self pleasure as a positive and useful tool in our relationship.

As soon as I separated the two in my mind, I realized that I was really opposed to one but not the other.

My husband and I have discussed this a few times, but it is still hard for him. He still has trouble separating the two in his mind, but I think it's a work in progress. The bottom line is that I wish I had realized a long time ago that self pleasure can be a healthy part of a healthy sexual relationship.

Jane asked me in my last post how I plan to address this with my own children. To be honest, I have no idea. I would like to be open with them. I'd like to have conversations with them about what is healthy and what is not. I'd like to encourage them to see that "what is healthy and what is not" is driven by how those things will affect their relationships with their future partners. To ask themselves, "Will this be a positive influence in my future?" I'd like to think that exploring and understanding their own sexuality is healthy. I think that masturbating uncontrollably is neither healthy nor productive. I think that gaining a skewed understanding of sexual relationships through pornography is not healthy, especially since pornography tends to be addictive, and being addicted to pornography will not be good for their future relationships. Having a clear understanding of sex as a good thing that should be cultivated in an honest, loving environment is healthy. This is what I hope to teach my children.

Like I said, how I see things is a work in progress. I feel like I'm figuring things out in a way that works for me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shamed: and my opinions

I know some of you have seen the posts about the upcoming film project called Shamed, but for any of my readers who have not, I want to share it here. Shamed is a documentary about the hush hush nature of sin in conservative Christian communities, particularly with regard to pornography addiction. I've posted the trailer below. Please read all the way down to the trailer.

I have mixed opinions on this topic, but I don't feel pressured to resolve my mixed opinions any time soon. They will likely just simmer on my mind for years, which is actually okay with me. Here are some of my opinions, even if they contradict each other:
  • We need to be more open about sex with our children and teenagers: about the joys of sex, about the dangers of sex, about the realities of sex.
  • I believe that sex is sacred, but that it does not need to be secret. By never talking about sex, we are teaching many of our youth to either be afraid of it or ashamed of it or experimental in unhealthy ways.
  • I don't think airing our sins before everyone around us is necessary. If this were a perfect world and everyone were accepting and understanding, I think we could talk openly about our vices and weaknesses. Unfortunately, too many of us judge people according to their weaknesses and tend to remember only that about them long after the "sin" has been overcome. Regardless of whether they are part of the conservative Christian community.
  • At the same time, I think we should be able to talk about it openly. I'd love to convince myself that I don't care what anyone else thinks.
  • I've said this before, but I don't think the naked human body is bad and it bothers me that the exploitation of the human body in addictive pornography makes nude or semi-nude art a problem in our homes.
  • I don't actually think masturbation is bad but it crosses a line with addiction that makes it a problem, and I think we need to talk to our youth about this.
  • I do think we need to have more open communication with the people we trust and love. I'm afraid to tell my family members (who are my best friends) about my husband's pornography addiction out of fear that the conservative ones will judge him and the liberal ones will try to tell me that porn is no big deal. How sad that this is keeping me from seeking their support in my struggle.
  • I think stern warnings against the dangers of pornography addiction from our church leaders are glossed over by most of our youth, so I think what we really need are brave men who will sit down with a group of youth at church on Sunday, look them straight in the eye, and tell them how addiction has ruined their life. I will always remember the sister in our ward who came into our youth class and told us how incredibly difficult it had been for her to give up her baby for adoption as a teenager. Real people sitting in front of you telling real life stories have the most effect.
  • I wish I were strong enough to be one of those real people telling my real-life story. Maybe some day I will be.
The people in this documentary are brave enough to tell their real-life story. I think this is an important project that will spur more open communication.

In order for the project to move forward, they have to raise $40,000 in pledges by February 15th. I don't have much money, but I pledged what I could. It's an all or nothing project. If they raise $40,000 in pledges by the 15th, then your credit card will be charged with your pledge amount and the project will move forward. If the $40,000 is not met, your card will not be charged and the documentary will not be completed. Please watch the video below and, if you are able, pledge your support here. People don't know how much of a problem pornography addiction is until they are in the throes of it. Let's help raise awareness before that.

Shamed Teaser - V2 from Girl with a Curl on Vimeo.

What are your thoughts on this project? Is it something you want to support? As Jane put it for those of us who are not yet ready to talk openly about our experiences, are we willing to put our money where our mouths should be so that someone else can?


Friday, January 20, 2012

What I've Learned: Part 5

I've only just learned this recently. You know? This entire thing is a learning process. I'm learning things now, I'll learn things years from now. Isn't that just life in general?

The latest thing I've learned is this: working through and overcoming our trust issues will likely take just as long as it takes our husbands to work through and overcome their addiction issues.

I think we feel pressured to forgive and support and fully trust. Or at least we tell ourselves that we need to trust again. Or maybe it's just that we want to trust again. We want to go back to that blissful time in life when trusting was second nature. Back then it wasn't something we had to work toward.

It took me a very long time to understand that the recovery process for my husband would likely be a long one. I wanted him to magically be cured: suddenly never have any urges to look at pornography, never be tempted to click on any questionable links, never look at pornography again. Just like that. With the snap of a finger. I thought that if he just worked hard enough or wanted it bad enough or committed to it or something, it could just go away that quickly.

Once I truly accepted that this is not the case with addiction, I felt so much more peace than before. (Note that I do not say I felt complete peace or that everything was better. It was just so much easier to understand.)

And only after I accepted that did I realize that my trust issues would be around just as long. I'm going to be honest with you: I don't have any desire to be blind to what has happened in the past and trust my husband 100% and pretend it never existed. No, that would go against every logical bone in my body. I'm not willing to put myself in that kind of vulnerable position. I will allow my trust to build up slowly over time as my husband proves to me that he is trustworthy.

You see, my husband is wonderful. In almost every aspect of our lives, he is supportive and kind and loving and understanding. He has given me every reason to love him and respect him and want him as my own. I am very lucky for this and I acknowledge that. Many women I know do not have husbands as supportive and helpful as mine. But in this, the realm of pornography, he has given me very little reason to trust him.

So I cannot expect him to suddenly never have any wayward thoughts or urges or temptations, and he cannot expect me to suddenly believe everything he says and have no trust issues.

As we support each other and lean on each other, we can both work through these things.

Any husband who says, "This is my problem. You don't have to deal with this." has much to learn. The issues we have as a result of their addiction is very real and will require a lot of time. It's important that they understand this as well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lest You Think We're Perfect

I've been meaning to write this post for some time now. I know I'm quite positive on this blog, but I don't want to give the impression that my husband and I are perfect. We certainly still have our struggles, but I have been learning to deal with all of this for almost a decade and I am more at peace with this now than I ever was before.

But I have to be careful not to fool myself. I like to think that I'm okay. In fact, most days I really do feel okay. My husband and I talk about his problems quite often. He is opening up to me more than he ever has in the past. However, I realized the other night that the scars run deep for me. I was in bed falling asleep and started to imagine what it would be like if I walked out into the living room and found my husband looking at pornography. (Keep in mind that my husband was at work at the time, so I really was just imagining this.) To my surprise, I envisioned myself smashing the TV. Yep. Smashing it. Violently. To smithereens. This kind of surprised me.

Does this sound like the reaction of a woman who is okay? I don't think so. It was a rude (but much needed) reminder that I have a long way to go.

You see, I have never caught my husband in the act. (I've mentioned in previous posts that I don't think trying to catch your husband in the act is healthy, but that's another matter.) My husband has never come to me and told me that he slipped up. I've never actually known until much, much later when I get a really strong feeling that he's not telling the truth and I practically beg him to be honest with me.

I've been lied to more times than I know. I tell you this not to make my husband look bad, but for you to remember that I'm just like you. I feel the pain. I experience the anger. I have the trust issues. But I have also learned so much throughout this process and am attempting to share what I've learned and how I've grown.

I am in a very good place right now, and I attribute much of that to the degree to which my husband and I have truly relied on our faith this year, praying together, reading scriptures together, and listening to inspiring words on our ipods as we drive our separate ways to work. I also attribute much of the peace I currently feel in my life to my outlook on life. I don't know where I'd be without gratitude. Gratitude doesn't just keep me going, it makes me happy. Truly happy. My life has so much good in it, and I concentrate on that. Our lives aren't magically perfect just because we concentrate on gratitude, but if we do, we can be happy in just about any circumstance.

Earlier this week while I was out on a run, I listened to a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland (an Apostle of the LDS Church) from 1974 titled Call Upon God. I'll refer you to the audio file since I can't find a written version online. While the entire talk is great, I recommend you listen at 28:11 to hear how Joseph Smith reacts to a mob outside his jail cell who taunts him (after he has been sentenced to death and been torn from his family). And then listen again at 38:11. Elder Holland says, "If you love well and you speak well when you feel well, what do you do more than others?" and "May God bless you and me to love much and to speak well and to endure greatly and mightily..." It's not what actually happens to us in our lives that matters (even though what happens can hurt more than we every imagined). It's how we react to what happens. It's how we "love much and speak well" even when we're tired of dealing with life. Concentrating on our blessings and all the reasons we have to be grateful make this possible. The more I work on this, the more okay I really am. But I'm not perfect. I'm working on it just like you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Healing Balm


I have goosebumps after reading the words that just came in as a comment from one of my readers and fellow sisters in this struggle. I couldn't resist posting it here so none of you miss it. Thank you, Pamela, for sharing these powerful words. This just brought so much peace to my heart. Your faith in our Father in Heaven hit me like a ton of bricks.

"I was thinking about the healing process & how easy it is for family & friends of a loved one who is healing, to want the recovery to be a quick one. It's also easy for the person in pain to want a quick fix too. Yet a doctor on the other hand, knows healing is a process & sometimes a slow one at that. In the natural, we'd probably never find a doctor who'd rush a patient, "hurry up & heal!" How easy it is however, for the person who is broken, to want the healing process to be instant. And often, the family & friends might want to rush the process along, because for some reason, we're so uncomfortable with suffering & broken-ness. Why that is, I don't know. I guess in an emotional & spiritual sense, we shouldn't rush the healing process either, for the Great Physician is NOT panicked by the time it takes for the healing to take place. He is fully aware of it & He understands it & He is ever the great & attentive care giver of every wounded heart. God doesn't just want to put a bandaid on the heart...He wants to be the salve...the healing balm...binding up the wounds...restoring health."

Friday, January 6, 2012

In The Wake of Divorce

I know some of the women who read this are in a rapidly crumbling marriage and on the verge of divorce. There is a heartwarming post over on A Blog About Love from a guest writer who has learned how to be happy after the shock of her divorce. I don't have experience with divorce, so I leave that kind of advice up to the people who know. I hope this provides you with a little comfort.

Sex Isn't Easy

{This post was written as part of a series directed toward the young men who are struggling with this addiction and are not yet married.}

I could have gone on and on about this topic in my last post, but I decided to cut it out entirely and make it a separate post. I think it deserves its own post. Because some of the young men struggling with this addiction are not yet married and have not yet had sex, I want to be open about what it is and what it isn't when it comes to being in a healthy relationship. I think we don't talk about it enough to sufficiently prepare ourselves. A friend gave me a book about intimacy in marriage just before I got married. I didn't really feel like reading, and you can bet my husband wasn't about to crack that thing open. We should have, but we figured we could handle it on our own.

Before sex enters a relationship, it's all about the anticipation. It's this glorified thing that can't be had yet but is supposedly great.

And it is. Sex is great!

BUT you know how I said that marriage is difficult? Sex can be, too. Go ahead and add it to the list of marital stresses I listed in the previous post.

First of all, the actual sex itself can be a challenge. Partners have to grow together and figure each other out. People have to be in tune with what they like and don't like, and be willing to express that to their partner. Sex is a learning process. Most people who wait until their wedding night to have sex don't exactly end up with an awe-inspiring performance. Did you do a wheely and shred up a half pipe the first time you got on a bike? Did you play Chopin the first time you touched a piano? No. Sure, the wedding night (or the first time you're with someone) can be magical and fun, but the chances are it won't be the most amazing sex ever. You have to work your way up to that. It takes openness and patience and teaching and learning and working together. Good sex takes work. Just like a good marriage takes work.

So now that we've talked about the actual physical aspect of sex, let's talk about the even harder part: the emotions. Sexual desire is kind of a taboo subject in our religious culture. It's not something that is talked about openly. In fact, I think many people are embarrassed to actually say out loud to their own spouse that they are aroused. So we tiptoe around it, sending subliminal messages that we are in the mood. Sometimes it's great, because both partners are in the mood at the same time. But many times, that is not the case. Because it is a deeply personal and (unfortunately for some) embarrassing thing to put out on the table, it is easy to get offended or hurt when the other person (1) misses the subtle hints, (2) pretends not to notice the hints hoping it will go away, or (3) flat out says they aren't in the mood. We take it personally. On the other end of the spectrum, a partner may be so obvious in expressing their desires that the other person feels (1) like they are being pressured into having sex, or (2) like they are some sort of object.

So let me dispel some myths. (And, of course, there are exceptions to these generalizations, but I'd suggest that young men and women assume they will fall into these categories so they don't go into a sexual relationship wearing rose colored glasses.) Most couples don't have sex every day. I don't actually know anyone who has sex more than once a day. That may have been something they tried on their honeymoon and decided it was a little overboard. In fact, most people I know have sex once a week. Or even less. Once every three weeks is not uncommon for people who have careers and small children. One person in the relationship inevitably wants to have sex more than the other person. Chances are, the longer you are married, the less often you will have sex; people get tired and busy.

I'm not saying these are good things or that this is how it should be. This is just often the reality. Can things be different? Sure! Can a couple maintain a wonderful and frequent sex life that is thoroughly enjoyed by both? Sure! But you'd better believe that (1) it's not the default, and (2) it requires a great deal of attention and cooperation and work from both partners to be sure your emotional relationship is so amazing that your physical relationship follows suit. If your emotional relationship is struggling, you'd better believe your physical relationship will, too.  I wish this was explained better to the young couples before they add sex to their relationships.

So how does this all relate to sex addiction? It's simple: a woman who feels betrayed and hurt by a husband who is looking at pornography will not be happy. Her emotional state will be fragile. She will not feel comfortable sharing such an intensely personal aspect of her life with her husband. Their sex life will be strained and perhaps non-existent.

It's a harsh reality.

To the young men who may be reading this post: a good sex life in marriage stems from a good emotional relationship. Looking at pornography will hurt your emotional relationship and will ruin your sex life together. I'm sure you know this, but I'm adding it for good measure: gaining a sex life with someone you love will not fix your addiction. I wish it could, but it just doesn't work in that direction.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Marriage is Hard

I've heard a number of my fellow bloggers mention the therapist behind Memoirs of an LDS Therapist, Maurice Harker. From what he has written on his blog, he sounds like a wonderful resource. One of Maurice's "warriors" emailed me recently with some very genuine, heartfelt, and thought-provoking questions. This "warrior" is not yet married and wanted some advice from a wife who married her husband after finding out about his struggles.

I was honored to be able to share my thoughts with him, and our discussion over email sparked some topics that I'd like to address, and I hope what I write is helpful to both women going through this and young men (or even married men) wondering how to navigate a healthy marriage with this addiction.

Marriage is hard and requires serious effort by both partners in order to be successful.

We've heard people say that over and over and over. Before we are married, people tell us that and we think, "well of course it is." But we have no idea why or how it is hard. Let me try to explain. (And--married women and men--chime in on anything I may have missed!)

Did you ever share a room with a roommate in college (or even a sibling) and got sick of them by the end of the year? Do you know someone who chews loudly? Slurps their cereal? Constantly sniffs instead of blowing their nose? Always leaves half-empty soda cans sitting around? Says things that offend you? Has very outspoken opinions you don't agree with? Tries to tell you that the way you scramble eggs isn't right? Has an obnoxious laugh? Knows exactly what hurts you or annoys you and seems to say it/do it over and over and over without ever learning? Takes, takes, takes and never gives? Turns into a grouch at the drop of a hat? Is overly happy and constantly telling you not to be a grouch? Always says they'll do something and never follows through?

Imagine all the stuff that really gets under your skin.

Now imagine you are married to that person. Sealed together for time and all eternity. You have to make decisions with that person. In fact, you're expected to love and adore and dote on that person.

That, my friends, is how marriage is hard.

"Wait," you say, "I would never marry a person who drives me insane like that." Oh, but you will. And do you know what's even worse? You are that person, too!


Okay. I know I'm being silly here, but this is the truth. Each of us has our flaws. The thing is, most of us don't really recognize our flaws, but we surely recognize everyone else's flaws, especially when it comes to our spouses. Big huge problems in marriages often start as tiny peas under our stack of mattresses. And if we don't want to offend our spouses, we often ignore that uncomfortable pea and hope it will go away (which it likely won't). At the other end of the spectrum, that little pea drives us so crazy that we dig and dig and dig (and blame and blame and blame and argue and argue), ruining the mattresses in the process. When we first get married, we are often too busy jumping on the mattresses and having pillow fights and laughing to really feel the peas. Once we settle in, they become more obvious. Unfortunately, lots of couples don't know how to address problems in a healthy way and end up either ignoring them or arguing about them.

Interestingly (and, I am quite sure, not coincidentally), I listened to Gordon B. Hinckley's "Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled" speech from 1974 on my way to work yesterday. He talks in it about a young couple whose marriage crumbled after only 6 months due to the types of things I listed above. What had started as a marriage between two people who thought the world of each other quickly disintegrated when they merged their lives, opinions, habits, and judgments together. (I recommend listening to or reading the speech.)

It is so easy to recognize the flaws in others. It is also easy for them to recognize the flaws in us. And that hurts. Especially when it comes from the person we chose to love the most in our lives. If someone at work constantly makes jokes about your hair (and is seemingly clueless that it hurts you), you find a way to brush it off and label that person as "annoying." If your spouse does it, your confidence is chipped away little by little by little, and eventually you label your spouse as "hurtful." And labeling our spouses starts a downward spiral. The people we love the most have the biggest effect on us, and vice versa. We are often very kind to strangers, and sarcastic/rude/brutally honest to the people we love the most.

Then, as if that isn't enough, throw all the stresses in the world into the mix (education, finals, trying to find a job, getting laid off, years of unemployment, losing a loved one, depression, mental illness, addiction, lying, financial troubles, demanding church callings, infertility, miscarriage, babies that won't stop crying, kids with disabilities, insecurities, kids who go astray, problems with in-laws). It is very hard to deal with those things together if you don't see eye to eye in your approach to life.

This may sound like I'm referring to extreme cases, but even the most loving couples annoy and hurt each other at times. The key is to really learn how to embrace each others' differences and recognize that we all have imperfections. I am not my spouse. He is not me. And that's okay. After almost a decade of marriage, this is something I am still working on fully grasping.

Here is perhaps some of the best advice I ever got from my mom: The person you marry is the person you will be married to in 50 years. In 50 years, they will still have the same quirks and annoying habits. Choose wisely, because you aren't going to change that person. You can learn and grow together, but be sure you really love that person and all their flaws.

Marriage is hard, because you have to go through the most stressful times of your life with someone who isn't you (meaning you have to be flexible and sensitive to their feelings at times when all you feel you can do is keep yourself afloat). But when you both learn how to embrace your differences and work together and truly serve each other and find joy in each other even during the hardest times, marriage is the best thing in the whole entire world. Why? Because you get to spend every day with your best friend.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What I've Learned: Part 4


You need lots of confidence. If you don't have it, I'd suggest you get on this right away.

I know that's a strange thing to say: go find some confidence. But it's true. I'm convinced that a huge chunk of what has helped me get through this struggle has been my self confidence. Like I've said before, I was lucky in that my husband had this problem before I met him. I was able to deduce from that that this problem has nothing to do with me. He would have the problem if I were his wife or if someone else were his wife. And he'd have the problem if I left. I am not the cause of his problem. You are not the cause of your husband's problem.

Have you truly embraced this fact?

Your husband's addiction is not because of you. So don't let it tear down your confidence in yourself.

I'd like you to pull out a piece of paper right now. (Or your iPad. We're not that techy here.) Write down everything that makes you great. Really. Do it.

I want you to write everything from the fact that you are a daughter of God to the fact that you can burp on command. What do you like about yourself? What about you makes you smile?

It's easy for me to concentrate on the fact that I still have acne. Or the fact that my belly skin sags after having multiple kids. But I've also trained myself to be just as good at pointing out what I like about myself.
  • I love to get up in front of a room and teach--I think I'm a natural. 
  • I love the ridges in my fingernails--they remind me of my late grandma.
  • I connect with people easily.
  • I can run a marathon. (Never thought I could, but some friends got me into it. It's amazing what we're capable of when we work at it little by little.)
I don't look like a supermodel. I certainly don't look like a porn star. And I don't care. I rather like my tiny boobs. And I recently caught a glimpse of my profile in a picture--my nose isn't nearly as big and obnoxious as I always thought it was. In fact, it's just right for me. It's my nose.

For example, the other day my husband and I were playing this silly game with some friends. I had to answer the sentence: "My husband's ex girlfriends were all ______." And then he had to write what he thought I'd say. I wrote something like "young" since he didn't have many girlfriends between high school and dating me. He wrote "hot." I found myself saying, "What?? You think of your ex girlfriends as hot?" as if he found me unattractive. It took me a second to remember that it's not mutually exclusive. Just because he dated a cute girl in the past doesn't make me ugly. Where is the logic in that? Just because someone at his work may be a flirt doesn't mean I'm boring. Just because he has urges to look at porn doesn't mean he isn't attracted to me. That last one is hard for many people to accept.

Does that make sense? We assume these things are mutually exclusive. They are not. Don't put yourself down based on the looks/personality/actions of others! Stop comparing yourself.

Here's my point, ladies. It would not make a difference if we were the life of the party and looked like supermodels. Case in point: Tiger Woods went to rehab for his sex addiction after all the times he cheated on his wife--and she was a model. He had a problem.

So do your best to not let this knock you down. It's called self confidence for a reason: it has to come from you. No one can give you confidence. Look at that list you wrote. Add to it every day. Figure out what makes you amazing. If you're having trouble coming up with anything, you might want to find some quiet time and do a little praying. I'm sure Heavenly Father knows all the amazing things about you. Perhaps you just need some reminding.

A New Year


First, let me wish you a very happy new year. I've seen lots of people write online (mostly Facebook) "Good riddance, 2011! Let's hope 2012 is better!" While I do know it was a very hard year from some people (for example. my friends who lost their first baby a week before his due date), I worry that many of us are too focused on the negatives in our lives.

Let's look at my 2011. My husband is working low-wage temp jobs, because he can't seem to get a good job (he was laid off 2 1/2 years ago and he's still struggling to get back in the right path). I've been stuck in a full-time job I don't want while a babysitter raises my babies. And I found out (once again) that my husband had been lying to me about his addiction. Crappy year? Actually, no.

My husband and I have learned patience. Lots of it. In constantly searching job opportunities, my husband has a much better idea of what he wants to do than he did when he was in his old job. I have a very good job and am lucky to work with amazing people. My kids absolutely love their babysitter and we consider her family our kids' second family. If I can't be with them all day, I'm glad they are with her. Heck, I'm lucky just to have kids, let alone such healthy and happy kids. I am learning patience with my husband. He is learning to trust me. We are closer to our Heavenly Father (together) than we ever have been before. We pray together every day. We read scriptures. We talk openly about his struggles. We check in weekly about our emotional well being. We are supporting each other.

If it weren't for 2011, my husband and I would not be as close as we are to each other or to our Father in Heaven.

So let's start 2012 off right. Look back at 2011. What have you learned? What do you have to be thankful for? How are you going to use those things to influence the next year? Let's be grateful for our trials. And let's learn from them, because if we aren't learning from them, then we are just suffering through them. And that's no way to live.

I'm looking forward to 2012. Are you?