Category Archives: Communication

Sharing the Pain of Porn: Podcast

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Please come join me on Delight Your Marriage with Belah Rose. We’re talking about:

  • That you are not alone in dealing with porn addiction in your marriage.
  • The real reason men escape into pornography…(spoiler alert: it’s not your extra 20lbs!)
    • The world will lie to us and say we’re not x enough, that’s why our husband’s are addicted, but that’s only because they want to sell you something.
  • How to overcome shame.
  • What can you do to share your pain?

Join me over here!

Healing from Porn can be Fun?

Healing Fun

Yesterday at Gateway Church in northwest Austin, they talked about porn.

Porn talk in church on Sunday. God is moving, y’all.

With all that I am, I know God desperately wants healing for His people and He is stirring hearts to bring this issue into the light. Because where light is, darkness has to flee. And anyone who has been touched by porn addiction knows how much darkness surrounds it. It’s suffocating. It’s overwhelming. And Satan wants to tell us that it’s a hopeless situation or that it’s not worth the risk of confessing or that it’s not really hurting you.

Satan is really good at tailoring lies that speak to our exact situation.

But God is also really good at bringing Truth that touches our heart in just the place where we can receive it. Not to condemn us, but to convict us. And this conviction serves to let us know that there is something painful separating us from Him. He wants to show us how we can move it out of the way, how we can break down this wall that keeps us from knowing the fullness of His love and forgiveness. He wants this wall gone because He wants us.

God wants you. Even if you’re a porn addict. Especially because you’re a porn addict. He knows that if you’re turning to anything to fill this aching hole in your heart that what you’re really searching for is unconditional, totally fulfilling, audacious love.

And He has it.

And He feels it. He feels this love, this way, about you. And He’s going to keep after you with the Truth you need to be set free.

I saw this happen yesterday. I saw Truth spoken about porn addiction and healing in a new way.

This couple on stage (members of the church!) sat in front of hundreds of people and confessed the struggle with porn in their marriage.IMG_0657

And they said they were having fun.

FUN, y’all.

In all the testimonies and interviews and articles Craig and I have written about porn addiction and healing, we have never called this fun.

And yet.

I realized what they were saying, what they were exuding on their faces, was that building intimacy is fun. They were addressing hard questions. They were exploring their thoughts on things they had buried for so long. They were getting to know each other on a deeper level. They were learning what it means to really be one flesh.

As they learned that they could be fully known, they learned that they could be fully loved.

And isn’t that fun? Isn’t that a radical idea that our marriages can be places where we can have all our flaws and all our childhood pain and all our early adulthood baggage and still be loved. Still be someone that another person wants to be with? I mean, really be with.

Freedom is fun.

Porn addiction isn’t so fun. But having a spouse who will help you unravel it, who isn’t afraid to explore the real you, is. And the less you feel you have to keep up a facade, the easier it becomes to laugh, to enjoy, to give of yourself freely.

That’s fun.

Of course, it took this couple time to get to where this kind of exploration was fun. And for sure there were hard nights and tear-filled conversations. But the point is, there was more to it than just hard.

There were dates and late nights playing board games. There were road trips with deep conversations. There were revelations and inside jokes.

And how like God is that? To intersperse joy in the midst of pain? To bring moments of laughter when so many tears have been shed? To give us something to hold onto when our world has been blown to bits?

Just like God.

To watch the sermon about porn addiction by Ben Sledge and to hear the Skalko’s personal testimony, click here.

*And Gateway Church, thank you for allowing us to be a part of your Sunday.

#PornFreeFriday Periscope: REJECTION

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Craig’s porn use left me feeling rejected. Why would he choose to look at porn when he had me? Here I was – living, breathing flesh – and apparently, that wasn’t good enough.

Ironically, after Craig’s initial exposure to porn, he kept coming back to it because he realized it was a “safe place” to be act like a man without actually having to be one. Because, face it, all of humankind has to face rejection in real life at one point or another. But with in the world of pornography, he seemed to be free from any risk of not being good enough.

The fear of rejection is something Satan preys on. How do we shore up this weak spot in us? How do we overcome this fear and push into intimacy with our spouse? Watch below to find out how Craig and I were able to overcome our fears of rejection and live free from their bondage. If you are able to view this between 1/22 at 2pm to 1/23 at 2pm, you can watch on Periscope (comment and give hearts). Just go here. If you miss the 24 hour window, you can watch below.

*NOTE: KatchTV originally stored all these Periscopes, but KatchTV is now shutting down. I transferred them to YouTube, but they are not perfect. So, if you can just ignore my head expanding randomly, you can still catch all of what I said.
FamilyLife-Today-Dennis_RaineyBob_LepineDid you miss our story on FamilyLife today? Click here to check it out.

You Caught Your Spouse Looking at Porn. Now what?

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Today’s Periscope gives you 3 Do’s and Don’ts for what to do if you catch your spouse in the act of viewing porn or you find it on his/her computer, device, etc.

I answer a few questions like:

  • Should I even tell him/her?
  • Can I tell anyone else this is going on?
  • Is porn about me? Is this because I’m or I’m not _________________.
  • Should I withhold my love until he gets his/her act together?

After you view the video, I’d love if you would be so kind to leave a comment letting me know what other kinds of questions/suggestions you have regarding porn/marriage. All comments have to be pre-approved, so if you’d like to be anonymous, just let me know and I can take your name off.


*NOTE: KatchTV originally stored all these Periscopes, but KatchTV is now shutting down. I transferred them to YouTube, but they are not perfect. So, if you can just ignore my head expanding randomly, you can still catch all of what I said.

How Assumptions Kill Relationships (new Periscope!)

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Assumptions kill relationships. We can see this throughout the bible (the story I reference in this Periscope is found in 1 Chronicles 19) and in our personal lives. How do we choose TRUTH when assumptions play in our minds and interfere in our relationships?

Let’s learn how to take a P.A.S.S. from being and Ass(umer).

*NOTE: KatchTV originally stored all these Periscopes, but KatchTV is now shutting down. I transferred them to YouTube, but they are not perfect. So, if you can just ignore my head expanding randomly, you can still catch all of what I said.

How to Cultivate Emotional Intimacy in a Marriage When Porn has been a Problem

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From time to time, Craig and I get emails from people who read our book or this blog and ask us questions. Though we are not counselors, we are happy to respond with what has/has not worked for us in the various situations. Here is an excerpt from a recent email we received (shared with permission, name changed) and my response:
Dear Jen and Craig,

…I’ve struggled with a porn addiction for longer than I want to remember and admit.  I’m under no illusion that getting  myself and my marriage back to a place of purity and intimacy will take time…..perhaps a great deal of time.  I’ve been open about it for years with certain people including therapists and am now in the midst of a re-commitment to my sobriety.  I’m being held accountable and go to group once a week.  My spouse is aware of the struggle and has been very patient with me.  One of the issues we’ve had over the years thru the ups and downs is my wife’s struggle coming to grips with her own feelings & emotions.  Not just about the addiction, but about everything.  She was raised in an environment where you just didn’t talk about “how you felt.” It was easier that way.  There was never a problem to solve because…. there was never a problem to solve.  I was raised in an environment completely opposite.  Where I’m a much more expressive person, she is not.

I’m fully aware our level of intimacy has been affected by the addiction, but also weakened due to my wife’s inability to verbally express herself about what she desires in our relationship, our friendship and our intimacy.  I’ve learned my controlling tendencies (which I know stem from deep insecurity) and bigger-than-life personality, have not made that road easy and I’m thankful she has been able to express that.   Rekindling an exciting, new, sexy and fun intimacy seems to be such a pipe dream.  When I read the blogs, its very clear the fight must be entered into by two people not just one.   Jen, you appear to possess an ability to verbalize your feelings with Craig which has probably expedited the healing process and made it easier to reach a level of intimacy where the addiction is no longer affected the relationship as it once did    What input and guidance can you give someone in my situation?

– “Steve”

Dear Steve,

First, I am an external processor in the relationship. Craig is internal. Part of this is probably just how God created him, but it also has to do with how he was raised. Craig often felt like his opinions/desires didn’t matter much in comparison to his siblings. In addition, hard topics (like sex and porn) were not discussed because it just wasn’t the Southern way. Craig had to learn two things in order to effectively communicate with me: 1) I would value what he had to say.  2) It was safe to say what was on his heart.

It took a long time for him to realize these two things, in part because of my own defensiveness and wanting to fix things (I’m wondering if, as a man, you can also relate to this because Craig struggles with trying to “fix” my problem instead of just listening first).  I had to learn to listen without judgement and to not make whatever he was saying about me. This made it safe for him to share with me whatever was on his heart when we was ready to do so. There are still sometimes when I’ve had to drag stuff out of him, but much less often now.

Just like you had to learn about the root of your addiction, your wife needs to recognize the root of her inability to express her emotions. This might be done by introspective journalling, counseling, etc. Maybe just even ask her to spend some time thinking about these questions and asking God for wisdom and insight:

1) Was I able to take up emotional space in my family as a kid? 

2) Did people seem to communicate that they were concerned about my feelings/what was happening in my life?

3) What seemed to happen when I did express emotions/feelings? 

4) In what was is my husband similar/different to my parents?

5) What would I need to know before I started sharing things?

6) Am I missing out on joy and a deeper connection with those around me because I can’t trust anyone with my feelings?

7) Do I trust God with my emotions/feelings? Could I consider that He created me to live as a part of a community in which to have an outlet for these feelings?

My other suggestion is that instead of rekindling the intimacy verbally, what if you started with a journal you passed back and forth? You might write her a letter expressing your emotions and ask her some gentle, inquisitive questions. For a time, whatever you bring up in the journal stays in the journal, except when she brings it up verbally. Sometimes, it is easier to write something down instead of saying them face to face. Likewise, sometimes it is helpful to read responses instead of hearing them, as it gives the person time to process and respond instead of feeling put on the spot. As time progresses and she realizes it is safe to express herself in writing, she might naturally do this verbally.

In Christ,

Jen

*Join Jen on Fridays at 2pm CT on Periscope for #PornFreeFriday, beginning 10/23/15. Connect with her on Twitter and Periscope @jenfergie2000. (If you wish to comment, you’ll have to follow me and I’ll follow you back. We want to keep the comments positive and helpful.)