After discovering a spouse’s pornography use, we may feel hurt, betrayed, distraught, numb, overwhelmed, rejected, unsure, or many other emotions. We may feel that aspects of our lives have been a lie.
Our emotions, needs, and behavior can be impacted by biological, psychological, social, and spiritual influences in our lives and the environment around us. As we step back and seek to understand our own biological, psychological, social, and spiritual needs and influences, we will be better prepared to face the difficult, unexpected, and often challenging emotions we are dealing with. Understanding our influences can help us control our responses and act in ways that strengthen our well-being.
The following explanations can help us know where to start in understanding and taking care of ourselves and our families. As we care for ourselves, we can find clarity and peace about how we want to move forward.
We may have biological influences impacting us and our emotions. Biological influences include factors taking place in the body, especially in the brain. Many mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression) may be caused by changes in brain chemistry. These conditions can impact how we respond emotionally when we feel betrayed, frustrated, or anxious.
As we deal with a spouse’s pornography use, it’s important that we pay attention to the health of our bodies. At such a difficult time in our lives, it’s normal for us to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. We should consider our sleep patterns, nutrition, exercise habits, and overall health practices. These factors are all important to our sense of well-being. Understanding the impact of biological factors on our responses can help us better manage our emotions.
Health practitioners, both traditional and nontraditional, can be good sources of information and help. Many mental health professionals encourage their patients to disclose their issues to a medical doctor and get a complete medical exam. A medical doctor may be able to help us identify biological factors that we should address.
The following video teaches more about biological influences.
Psychological influences often contribute to how we think, view the world, and feel emotions. These influences may include things like:
- Traumatic childhood experiences, such as sexual or physical abuse.
- Mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, or dependency.
- Our feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.
- Our parents’ attitudes and behaviors, particularly about sexuality.
- Our past and present negative sexual experiences.
- Our mental well-being, such as feeling overwhelmed or mentally exhausted.
In seeking to understand how psychological factors may influence us, it can be helpful to seek advice from family, friends, and mental health providers. It’s important to find a mental health professional who shares our values and provides a sense of connection. Medical doctors, ecclesiastical leaders, or friends may be able to provide references. We might also find help from books, credible websites, and other sources like the ones listed on the Resources page. Be thorough and prayerful in identifying the best help for you based on your unique needs.
The following video teaches more about psychological influences.
Social influences include factors such as our family relationships, friends, social beliefs, and cultural environment. It’s important to seek healthy interactions and situations that nurture us and help us establish and maintain our well-being.
Our social environment can be very helpful to us. Connecting with family and friends can have a positive impact in our lives. Supportive social groups can help us consider options and provide us with information about healthy and unhealthy behavior. As we seek social connections, we should be discerning and choose to surround ourselves with people who elevate and inspire us.
The following video teaches more about social influences.
Spiritual influences include how we see and understand ourselves, others, and the world in relation to Heavenly Father and His plan. Our spiritual beliefs and our relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can influence the way we respond to difficult circumstances, such as a spouse’s betrayal of our trust.
Difficult experiences may shake our faith and leave us feeling confused, hurt, lonely, or maybe even abandoned by God. These are common feelings that we can examine and learn from. It may take time to evaluate and work through our feelings about God. Personal prayer, scripture study, church attendance, serving others, and consulting with Church leaders are a few things that can help us evaluate our beliefs and develop a deeper understanding of God and His love.
As we seek to strengthen our relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we can receive specific revelation for our situation. Adversity is an unavoidable part of our life, but faith is a tool that can help us through our trials. As we receive comfort and assistance from heaven, we can feel and understand the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
The following video teaches more about spiritual influences.
Understanding our biological, psychological, social, and spiritual influences can help us move forward. Taking care of our needs will help us develop emotional well-being for ourselves, which will in turn bless our family. As we come to understand our individual influences, find the help we need, and turn faithfully to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we can find the strength to make decisions and move forward.
Our spouses may also have unique factors that influence their behavior and choice to use pornography. While we are not responsible for our spouse’s behavior, we might consider encouraging them to evaluate their own biological, psychological, social, and spiritual influences. See “What influences are contributing to my pornography use?” in the Individuals section.