“How can I find hope?” Help for Spouses (2021)
“How can I find hope?” Help for Spouses
The first step in moving forward is to have an honest conversation with your spouse about his or her pornography use. This will help you determine your future steps. Consider beginning with prayer, and encourage your partner to fully disclose the extent of his or her pornography use. This conversation will likely be difficult for you, but remember that it will also be difficult for your spouse. Feelings of guilt and sorrow can seem overwhelming to the person sharing his or her struggle. Your conversation will be most effective when guided by compassion and empathy.
Your spouse may want to write down his or her disclosure before you have your discussion to ensure it is complete while also being sensitive to your emotions. Ask questions and encourage disclosure regarding:
The type of pornography being used.
How long your spouse has been using pornography.
How often your spouse has been using pornography.
Any other type of infidelity or betrayal of trust.
Be aware that discussing specifics of your spouse’s behavior may not be necessary or helpful to you. Your goal is to understand what’s been going on. Healthy thoughts can help you work through your emotions. However, it’s common to struggle with unhealthy thought patterns, such as:
Jumping to conclusions.
Catastrophizing things or imagining the worst possible outcomes.
Getting stuck in all-or-nothing thinking.
Overgeneralizing the situation or comparing your situation to another in a way that may not be accurate.
These behaviors and thoughts will rarely lead you toward any healthy decisions. Take time to slow down, seek to understand your emotions and your spouse’s behavior, and allow yourself emotional time and space to make decisions.
Try to avoid discussing difficult issues when tempers and emotions are high. You may find it helpful to include a trusted friend or family member, Church leader, or mental health professional to help mediate during difficult conversations.
Try to write down some of your thoughts and feelings. Writing or journaling can often be a good way to process your experiences.
Consider how to approach your spouse about discussing his or her pornography use. How can you do this in a way that will help you and your spouse to have an open, honest conversation? What types of questions will you ask to learn what you need to know?
Evaluate your social relationships, and draw close to people who strengthen you. Trusted family members and friends can help you work through your thoughts and emotions.
Look for more resources, information, and connection with others through the Church’s Spouse and Family Support program.