So, you’ve blown it. You broke her heart one more time. You did something you promised you would never do.
Maybe you had a full-blown affair? Maybe you got caught texting an old girlfriend? Watching porn again? Are you still chewing tobacco after you promised to stop?
I was having trouble arresting my porn addiction. I made promises to stop. I made commitments to get help, join 12 step groups, get a sponsor, see a therapist. Yet, for all I was trying, I could not stay stopped. With each relapse, my wife became more and more unwilling to trust me. She lost faith in me and in my ability to be faithful to her.
Eventually, I was able to gain traction in my recovery. I was able to put together some good sobriety time. More importantly, I was able to regain my wife’s trust and friendship.
Here are some of the things I did to rebuild trust and intimacy.
- I opened up all of my online accounts. I gave her complete access to my laptop, phone, email accounts, and permission to check my phone calls and texts anytime she wanted. I suppose some of you may be thinking, “wait a minute”! You’ve gone too far! Why would you give up so much? You have a right to privacy! In my situation, I gave that right up when I was less than honest with her. I proved that I really could not be trusted.
- I instituted a daily check-in ritual. Each day we do a quick review of our day. We talk about Feelings, Activities, Slips, Threats, Tools. We learned this from Dr. Milton Magness’ Stop Porn Addiction. He is a specialist who deals with sex addiction and betrayal. We added: what went well, what are our needs, what did we do to harm the marriage, what did our partner do to support the marriage?
- We attend retreats, workshops, and many 12 step fellowship meetings together. We have achieved financial intimacy. We go camping and on other outings with other couples who are also working on their intimacy and commitments.
- We have charted a spiritual quest together. I mean that we realized that our spiritual life was lacking. We made a plan to seek out a common way of worshipping and developing a relationship with a common God. This took time but eventually, we were able to come to an agreement on what we believed. This has really strengthened our sense of being part of something greater than ourselves.
- We work with other couples who are experiencing difficulties in their relationships. We feel our experience can benefit them and maybe prevent them from making simple mistakes that we made along the way. It also makes the journey much more interesting. We all feel a bit better knowing we are not alone.
If you are going through a rough time in your relationship, I hope you know there are solutions. You can find resources to help rebuilt trust and friendship in your relationship. The key is to not so much focus on what went wrong but to move your eyes, hearts, and focus on what needs to be done to get you to where you both want to be in your relationship.
Previously published on medium
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