|Sonny Rollins by Jimmy Katz (Source)|
Of course they hate talking about it. Do you like owning up to something stupid you did and then having someone bring it up over and over? Of course not.
BUT the communication needs to be there. Heck, the key to ANYTHING being healthy in a relationship is communication. (Honesty being an integral part of communication.) Wouldn't you agree?
I know I have mentioned this before, but I want to put it out there again for anyone who missed it.
I think a SUPER easy tip for improving communication about pornography addiction is designating a time and place to discuss it each week.
Here is how it works at my house.
Together we designated 8pm on Sunday evenings (after the kids were in bed) to talk about things. The understanding was that we would talk about the following things:
- How his week went in terms of the addiction (temptation, urges, slips, etc.).
- How he is doing emotionally (in general in life).
- How I am doing emotionally (in terms of my healing as well as in general in life).
And these are the things that have made it so successful:
- He is in charge of starting the conversation and he knows it. Because he knows it is his responsibility, he has only forgotten once in the past few months since we started.
- I go into the conversation with an open, loving, and non-judgmental mind. No animosity allowed. It needs to be a safe place for both of us. Expect the worst to come out, be prepared (and committed!) to be okay with it and react in a kind way, and then be pleasantly surprised if it's nothing but good news.
- Both people share how they are doing emotionally in general. It's a good time to really check in with each other. (It was in one of these conversations that I admitted that my testimony of our religion was seriously wavering. It doesn't all have to be about pornography. There is so much more to life that needs to be discussed between husband and wife.)
- I tried not to bring it up the rest of the week. A wonderful friend of mine pointed out that we tend to stew over things in our minds and then bring them up to our unsuspecting spouses. It seems normal since we were "talking" about it in our own minds first, but to our spouse it comes from left field. My husband's personality is not one that switches gears at the drop of a hat. He needs to be mentally prepared for a conversation. He needs to be in the midset. Expecting him to suddenly be able to talk about it when two seconds earlier you were asking him to pass you the salt is putting a lot of pressure on him. For the first few weeks, try not to bring it up during the week. Once he becomes more comfortable discussing the addiction and his emotions during your weekly chats, he will naturally become more comfortable discussing it at other times.
- Keep it relatively short. After a month or two my husband admitted that I always draw these conversations out longer than he wants. I remind him that I have to push the envelope a little until he's truly comfortable talking about it, but I also admit that I don't want to make him dread these conversations. Don't make them last all night.
This has really improved our communication in our marriage in general. Really. If your husband thinks having designated talk time sounds strange, ask him to come read this blog post. Talking about it once a week in a "safe" conversation will be SO much of a relief if he's constantly on edge that you're going to bring it up and "beat a dead horse," as Faithfully Jaded's husband called it.
Dear Men: Trust me. Your life will get better if you learn to talk about it. And I don't just mean your addiction will get better. I mean your every day interactions with your wife will get better. Learn to talk about it for the sake of your own happiness.