Sunday, March 18, 2012

How we communicate

I want to write about how my husband and I personally communicate in hopes that if you are struggling it will give you a few ideas. Some background: Before I was informed of this addiction we had a good marriage but communication was something we were not great at. We talked about what we needed to but never devulged our deepest darkest emotions. I like to appear that I have it all together all the time. I would usually talk with my sister or mom if I needed an opinion that didn't need my husbands ok. We were able to communicate about major decisions just fine (children, jobs, schooling, etc) but the small day to day things I typically went to someone else because I didn't think he really cared too much nor did I want to burden him. Since this addiction has come to pass we have had to learn how to communicate. Here is what I have learned: We first started by talking about his addiction almost every night, usually for hours. It was filled with tears and heartache. It was not enjoyable but it was needed. I got the information that I needed and have stayed unaware on details that I really don't want. I asked questions and he answered honestly. It was hard but it has proven worthwhile. We set up a weekly time that we would discuss how the week went. He would tell me if he messed up at all. We have now made the agreement that he has to tell me if he messes up by the end of the day. This has been huge for his recovery. When he feels vulnerable he will remember that he has to tell me. This is something that helps keep him strong. When he has told me it hurts. It is hard and I am literally speechless for a few minutes, sometimes sharp daggers are being shot from my eyes.... I thank him for telling me and then we discuss what led up to it and how we can avoid it next time. I couldn't tell you the last time we had to have one of these conversations :). Learning to communicate kindly can be tricky. I would tell my husband horrible things that had to have been killing him inside but I hope that I did it in a manner that was not deceitful but rather in one that informed him. He needed to know what my heart was thinking, how I was truly feeling. The more the subject is talked about the easier it is. At first the word pornography and addiction were like swear words to me. They felt uncomfortable. I would find words to avoid them and when I did have to use them I would whisper them. After LOTS of discussion on the subject we can now talk about it openly. We have told close friends. We share our stories when appropriate and possible. We discuss it easily in the privacy of our home and we plan, when our kids are older, to inform them of this. If nothing else learning to talk about pornography is vital for the sake of our kids. Our husbands were sucked into this addiction because no one knew it was happening and no one talked about. As we can learn to talk about it and discuss it openly we can prevent what has happened to us. That right there is reason enough for me to learn how to communicate about this. As my husband and I have learned to talk about his addiction we have now become more open with every aspect of life. The trivial trials that I use to seek others help with, I now seek my husbands. I feel closer to him and I actually trust him more than I use to... strange I know. Open communication is VITAL to a successful recovery and healing.
Find a time that you have a lot of time to sit down and talk with your husband without distractions. Tell him that you want both of you to heal and recover and that you want to learn how to talk about this so that you can help your kids in the future. I always preface (because I come off abrasive with no intent of doing so at all) with 'I don't want this to offend you but I need to talk about....' Ask the questions you need to know. Let information that will hurt too much or that is unneccessary go. Share your heart to him. Your true, raw emotions. It's hard but try it. Listen to his feelings. Ask what you can do to help him in his recovery. Tell him what you expect of him. Set realistic boundaries that both parties can agree on. I know how hard it is to share your real feelings with anyone but who better than your husband? Build or rebuild a good relationship filled with honest good communication. It is never too late to start! Once it is started, don't ever let it end.

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