We may feel unsafe because of our spouses’ pornography use. Establishing clear boundaries can help us focus on our safety. Boundaries are limits we put in place to protect ourselves. They aren’t meant to punish or force our spouses to change; they are simply limits of what is and what is not acceptable. We might consider implementing physical, financial, sexual, spiritual, or emotional boundaries based on our situation. It’s important that we establish a safe place where we can allow ourselves to understand what is happening and seek healing.
Our safety and our family’s safety is our highest priority. Safety concerns must be addressed before we seek to support our spouses’ efforts to change.
In cases of abuse, notify law enforcement and seek appropriate help. (See “Abuse,” Gospel Topics.)
Our spouses’ pornography use may lead us to feel uncertain about the stability of our marriages or what our futures will look like.
We do have control over some areas of instability in our lives. We can find strength as we work to address them and as we surrender the areas we can’t control to the Lord. Just as Christ calmed “a great storm of wind,” He can bring peace and calm to us (see Mark 4:37–39).
After our trust has been betrayed by someone close to us, it can be difficult to want to trust anyone again, even our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. However, as we open our hearts to Them and seek Their help, our relationship with Them can be strengthened and our trust in Them can be restored. Trusting our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is one of the most important things we can do.
Learning about the various aspects of our needs, including physical, mental, social, and spiritual needs, helps us to identify the areas that most need our attention. As we prioritize our needs, we can seek the help we need in restoring our well-being. This may be made easier with the help of others as well as the help of the Lord. The Holy Ghost will guide us to know what to do.
Take a moment and write down what you’ve felt as you’ve studied this principle.
Apply This Principle
The following are some helps on additional topics to enhance your learning and application of this principle.
Understanding and setting effective boundaries can help. Many of us feel stuck in our situations. However, we have many options to help us stabilize our lives and protect our emotions.
The best way to help is by practicing self-compassion. Our spouses are the only ones who can decide to change their behavior. Focusing on our own emotional, physical, and spiritual health and recovering strength is the best thing we can do to help our spouses, our families, and ourselves.
- Neill F. Marriott, “Abiding in God and Repairing the Breach,” Oct. 2017 general conference
- Robert D. Hales, “Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” Apr. 2017 general conference
- “How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes?” Preach My Gospel
- Carol F. McConkie, “Here to Serve a Righteous Cause,” Oct. 2015 general conference
- Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Oct. 1980 general conference
- “My Peace I Give unto You,” Support Guide: Help for Spouses and Family of Those in Recovery, 81–86