How to Strengthen Relationships Against Porn

As women we have a go-to guy, don’t we? And, girl, you can’t say you don’t love him! Sometimes there are no words to explain just how much we are in awe of these men.

Yet, as much as we love these men, there may be moments we question their love, wonder whether they’d rather be spending time with someone else, or doubt the sincerity of their compliments. We may feel not smart enough, not pretty enough, or think our personality is sub-par.

I want to share a few different ways we can work through these day-to-day insecurities, call both our men and ourselves to deeper holiness, and avoid beating them (and ourselves) up.

1. Focus on love. When we focus on love, it transforms the way we see both others and ourselves.

And to live virtuously, the way love is envisioned, we must “will the good of the other,” and the good of ourselves too (CCC, 1766).

That means when we live out our sexuality according to its design, it impacts and inspires them for the good. We can respect and inspire our men by dressing modestly to honor our own bodies (temples of the Holy Spirit) and to honor them. Our sexuality is also lived well when in accord with our state in life, we live chastely. Additionally, love is lived through our speech. So, we need to strive to be pure and modest in our choice words. When we speak, we are speaking into another soul – another temple of the Holy Spirit.

2. Build yourself up. Be compassionate and gentle on yourself. Be intentional about getting involved in your community and put yourself around other women who are seeking the Lord. Coming out of ourselves and serving others actually builds us up. Treat yourself to some adventure every so often too (a hike, road trip, art or archery lessons, etc. I bet you have something in mind already!). Keep finding new things that bring you life and experience real beauty daily. Real beauty feeds us. Remember, we must be fed or we won’t have anything to give! Also, take time to relax. Grab a friend and go get a pedicure or head out on your own to get a massage every once in a while.

3. Affirm him. Men need to be affirmed just as women need to be. Your go-to guy needs to be told often that he is loved, respected, and supported by you and others. Don’t let two or three days go by where you don’t affirm him about something. It doesn’t have to be a big thing either.

Affirmations are always more fruitful than nagging and complaints. In some sense, affirmations can be an act of evangelization. It’s pointing out a good and encouraging the person in that good.

4. Encourage a leader in him but be a leader yourself too. We know how important it is for men to lead. It even feels natural for us when they do. We feel safe, respected, and held up when our men lead. It’s important that you tell your go-to guy how much you appreciate it when he takes the initiative to lead. Expressing gratitude to our men shows them we value them and often inspires them to grow in their leadership.

At the same time, women have a role to lead as well. We can lead by example and seek to grow in humility, purity, prayerfulness, integrity, dependability, availability, and the whole list of virtues. Our leading also needs to include how we present our bodies, thoughts and spirituality. It isn’t only the man’s job to strive for chastity in the relationship. Leading in these ways will increase our joy, and joy inspires others to do the same, including the men in our lives.

5. Invite honesty but be ready to forgive. No matter the relationship, it thrives with a commitment to an openness to being known. Intimacy comes down to one word: “Honesty.” Written in human hearts is a desire to be honest about everything. But honesty can be scary.

Honesty can bring up topics we’ve buried for a long time, topics we’re ashamed of and afraid to address and work through. When we open up about our own struggles, not only do we begin to find freedom for ourselves, but we also encourage the other individual to be open and vulnerable.

Through my work with Covenant Eyes, I hear many stories about how invitations to honesty within a relationship brings to the surface a struggle with pornography. Discovering your husband or loved one uses porn may be one of the most emotionally devastating experiences of your life.

Regardless of what comes out of these honest conversations, choose to respond in love and forgive. It may be offered in tears and take all your might, but do it. Forgiving doesn’t mean you approve of what was done, but it frees you up by allowing God to be God in His role as father, judge, and healer.

6. Address any trust issues. Trust is a key component for any healthy relationship. Talk with your man about your struggle with trust. Work together to establish boundaries that rebuild your trust, but realize that broken trust won’t be restored in one day.

If you discovered your husband has been secretly viewing pornography for any portion of your marriage, it won’t be easy to process. You may wonder if you did something wrong, why you didn’t notice the signs, or whether you will ever be able to trust him again. These trust issues need to be addressed if you want the relationship to be restored.

You’ll need to take steps toward your own healing from this betrayal, and our free e-book Porn and Your Husband contains a helpful recovery plan to get you started. Your loved one also has work to do, and he will need to take his own steps toward freedom. Many couples have found that using an Internet Accountability and Filtering Software increases the openness between them online and helps rebuild trust.

7. Don’t react out of fear. You may experience things with the men in your life that may cause you to want to react–and to react explosively! Reacting with sadness or anger may be warranted, especially if what you discover breaks trust or hurts your relationship. But instead of letting fear fuel your reaction, ask the Holy Spirit to form you in a way that your daily posture and response is always one of love.

Sacred Scripture says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). If there was ever a time to overcome fear and put love at the forefront of your life, including the ways you choose to respond, the time is now. The Lord says: “Be not afraid!”

To assist you with your pursuit of chastity and purity, we invite you to pray the Novena for Purity. During the Novena, you will have the opportunity to ask Jesus to give you strength to resist temptation, purify your relationships and form your conscience.

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Amanda Zurface is the Catholic Campaign Coordinator for Covenant Eyes. Amanda holds a License and MA in Canon Law and a BA in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. Amanda has served in various roles within the Catholic Church both in the United States and internationally. She is the co-author of Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized Culture and Transformed by Beauty. She resides in Zanesville, Ohio, where she also serves as the Director of Faith Formation at Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church.

 

1 Comment

  1. I love this article. Keep up the good work and may God help us to put into practice all these good words.

    By Harry | 11 months ago Reply

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