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What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:37 am
by MrsG
(I say "post" in quotations because I recognize some believe you are never completely free of the effects of addiction)

I want to know what the end goal is like when it comes to recovering from the effects of porn in your marriage. Maybe you overcame it as singles before getting married, or faced it later - what does it look / feel like to be on the other side?

How do you communicate together about it? Is there always ongoing accountability? Do spouses talk about temptation regularly as part of normal communication about sex? Or do you stop bringing it up eventually?

What are the fruits of overcoming?

There are a lot of testimonies scattered throughout the threads here, but it would be great to have some encouragement and real experience all in one place. Please feel free to post links to other blogs with similar stories, too.

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:22 pm
by doug-h
I had to give this a little bit of reflection. I think the answer is not the same for all situations. There are jist so many variables, first among them are the unique responses of individuals.

I think that a lot depends on the circumstances of the disclosure. That can have a huge bearing on how easy or difficult it is to restore trust. I would say that trust would be a major determination as to the lingering effects on a relationship.

Discussing the matter later would also be a very individual thing. In the case of my wife, I brought it up once, and I received a very steely look, and was told that she did not want to speak about it again, period. Over time, her knowing that I am deeply involved with Celebrate Recovery, with both of us serving in the ministry, some of her reluctance has fallen away. I recently mentioned my past pornography use in my testimony , and after I finished, she squeezed my hand, and said it was a really powerful testimony. I think that showed a lot of growth in both of us. It is not a regular topic for conversation between us, but it is not a deep dark secret.

I think only the couple involved would be able to say when restoration is complete.

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:03 pm
by MrsG
Thank you, Doug-h. I am looking for individual answers to see the way it plays out in different situations, so that is very helpful.

ETA: maybe I should update my question to "how does it look in your marriage?"

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:32 pm
by SeekingChange
My husband started using accountability 15-16 years ago, actually using our brother-in-law as an accountability. In the beginning there was very little communication between us about it, mainly because of fear on his behalf.

10-11 years ago he became open about it and started sharing it as part of his testimony. That made it an open topic for us. He also added me as one of the accountability emails to get updates through XXXchurch. In the past 4+ years his temptation is almost non-existent (since my change), though he still has accountability software on his work computer, he feels no need for it on his phone.

When he did face temptation once this past year, he automatically mentioned it to me, recognized why he was triggered, and he even shared it as part of a sermon the following Sunday.

He believed that he would never be completely free from temptation, and that it would be a constant battle, but he now lives in freedom.

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:48 pm
by bigloop
My DW never addresses it. She never wanted to hear about it. I think in many ways that could have been a mistake but I was obliged to follow her wishes as I worked my own way through the jungle. We have had a few generic discussions about it over the years. When she was putting together a purity/marriage class for teens at church she asked me to compose the pornography section. That is about as close to it as she has gotten. To her credit, she has never held it over my head, she has forgiven me and has not brought it back up. She does not draw any connection between herself, our sex life and my past usage. That is a little shortsighted on her part but I see no reason to argue over it. The fact that my usage started 10 years before we met does speak to that. I think that allows her to avoid any feeling of responsibility. Not that she should be responsible for my sin, but a pretty severe lack of sex due to her gatekeeping did not help my struggle, that's all I'm saying. She separates the two in her mind. That's fine. I have healed to the point I can address them separately now.

But I beg the question, why do you want to know? As Doug has said, what matters is how you handle it with your spouse. That will vary with every couple. There are a few constant necessities, but only a few.

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:49 pm
by MrsG
A close friend of mine is walking through the discovery of her husband's addiction, and it has opened up the topic much more in my own marriage. I had been feeling guilty about avoiding the topic in the past if I felt insecure, not wanting to entertain "accusing" thoughts about my husband.

I don't know of any healthy married couples IRL who have been through this and talk about it (ETA: I mean talk about it with other couples, like serve as an example) But I assume a healthy dynamic between a husband and wife is either very open about temptation, or they feel they can trust each other without knowing details, and it will vary ... we just haven't figured out which dynamic is better for us yet. Thought I'd see what other wiser people have learned.

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:11 pm
by doug-h

I think that each couple will find what works best for them, if that is what they are after.

Again, it is very .ugh an individual thing, and even the two individuals in a single relationship might need different things. I am pretty open about it. My wife likes things to be less out in the open. Neither of us is really wrong, but it is important to respect the others desires.

For me, it helps to talk to other men, some still struggling, and some having overcome. At the same time, I am loathe to cause my wife any undue discomfort, or make her feel spotlighted.

For her part, when I repented of it, it was forgiven. If She has doubts if she has fears, she does not share them with me. It has simply never been brought up or held against me in any deliberate sense.

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:09 am
by SeekingChange
MrsG, I believe being open about it is a reflection of healing. When both parties (offender & offended) can talk about it, and use it as a way to minister to others and to glorify God, you know all shame has been removed and forgiveness has happened and they are living in it and God's grace.

I have heard it referred to as wounds....of course if it's open, it hurts and it's babied and we cover it. Even once it is mostly scarred over, it's still tender and we guard it so it doesn't get knocked, and we still may try to hide it because it really stands out and we might think it's ugly. But then as that scar ages, it turns more flesh color (rather than red), there's no more pain, and it becomes a story or a testimony. Where, at the right time, we enjoy pulling up our shirtsleeve, or our pant leg, and showing it off and telling others what happened.

The reason to share about the pain, the sin and the struggle is not to bring shame to us, but glory to God. I was the chief of sinners, but look what Christ did! And here is your hope, He can do it for you too!

Is everyone called to share it from a podium or pulpit like my husband? No. But, when a friend comes along, are we willing to expose ourselves for another's sake? Are we willing to shout it from a mountain top if God calls us to? God will always give us a "platform" to do ministry and to share the wonders of His works and who He is with others.

Re: What does a healthy marriage look like "post" recovery?

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:30 pm
by InVader
My "discovery" and resulting confession happened within marriage. (She discovered a screenshot of a chat, I have no memory of ever making one. I attribute this to God) Before that our sex life was just ok. I had situations where I could not even get hard. Sex felt more like a chore and was not a blessing.

Post confession was a wild ride. At first there was no sexual connection for several days. I went to our church elder, confessed and talked to him about it and met for several months with him to pray. We also once met with him with my wife during which meeting he reassured her that I love her (Her trust was devastated of course!) and that I really am trying to get away from it. After a while I also took a .22 and shot up my cell phone (drastic action need to be taken, I have a previous post that describes it in more detail).

But what happened to us? Trust was restored. I suddenly felt an incredible surge of sexual energy that was not constantly being drained away through porn. About 1 week after the first confession we got back together again. I filled the bathroom with candles and filled the tub with hot water. My wife insisted on going in first and "concealing" her goodies beneath the foam. But we ended up having one of the most incredible, most intense LM sessions ever. Water was splashed as we just gave ourselves over to raw lust and passion for one another.

Ever since that time (about 2.5 years ago), we have had regular, incredible sex. The only time we abstain is the week of her period, but other than that we are at it regularly at least every other day. The LM is beautiful, graceful, passionate and filled with overflowing desire, so much so that she now suggested we do it every day. She often initiates herself and we have learned to not just "do it" but to truly play with each other. Every session we have there are several O's happening. It is now rather rare that I don't climax, but what is even rarer is that she doesn't climax. We have learned to adapt to each others needs and have learned to truly love each other.

I have even begun to write erotica for us featuring only us. I would then read it to her either while doing the very thing I was reading or while just caressing her. She has never failed to climax from this and she loves it! I once was visiting my family for a week while she had to stay home, so she read what I had written to her and MB'd. I guess I could sum it up in this way: We are conscious of the needs the other has and we take care to fulfill those needs.

I just want to say: Healing after such a horrible thing comes to light is possible! It is even possible to have sex that is better than it ever was before! It is possible to truly feel sexual love and desire for one another! And all of this is possible because we have a great God that gave us the best example of forgiveness and sacrifice. We forgive because we have been forgiven. We extend grace to others because we have been given and shown grace...