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AddictionBeing Present

How To Be STABLE In A Wounded Marriage

By April 2, 2020August 31st, 2022No Comments
wounded marriage

Too often, when we feel wounded in our marriage, we isolate, which is the exact opposite of what we need.  Isolation fosters deeper wounds and dangers with a wounded marriage.

According to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, it’s vital to adopt strategies to stay mentally healthy instead of choosing to withdraw. You need connection with others now more than ever. It’s great information that takes about 3 minutes to read.

Each of us needs to:

  1. Remain socially connected through the phone or video chat options.

    Don’t wait for others to reach out to you. Be proactive and creative about meeting your relational connection needs.

  2. Reach out to others who may need help.

    Just the act of picking up needed items at the store or running an errand for a neighbor boosts your morale.

  3. Exercise to elevate your mood and manage stress levels.

    Get fresh air every day, which boosts your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health. The key is to move often during the day.

  4. Eat nourishing food.

    Isolation breeds depression. Cut the junk; eat fruits and veggies and drink plenty of water. When I fall into depression, I crave sugar and junk foods. If you feel that way, pay attention. Time to change up your current patterns.

  5. Reduce alcohol intake.

    Too much can increase depression and anxiety levels. Plus, alcohol can mess with your sleep state.

  6. Practice good self-care including adequate sleep.

    Set up good sleep preparation habits today. Turn off electronics at least one hour before bedtime. One thing I’ve learned is to not watch anything intense before I get ready for bed. Whether it’s a movie, news report, or even a depressing story, the negativity disrupts my sleep. It’s like my mind continues to try to resolve the problem or rectify the situation.

  7. Reduce exposure to news and electronics.

    Stay informed about what is happening in your area, but turn off the news and do something uplifting instead. Read a good book. Exercise. Connect with family members. Watch a comedy or inspiring movie. Just don’t veg out in front of the TV or computer for hours on end. Watching TV releases dopamine continually, just like taking heroin or engaging in other addictions. Your children who spend more time in front of electronic stimulation spend less time in physical activity, interacting with friends, and reading. While this may not rot the brain, it does waste it. If you have children at home during this coronavirus, or whether it’s just you and your husband, turn off the TV and computer.

Great tips that I practice daily.

But what about being stuck in a wounded marriage?

Isolation breeds depression which often feeds the addiction. The last thing you want your husband to fall back into is his pornography addiction. Let’s face the elephant in the room and talk about it. Often addictions flair when B-HALT exists.

Bored

Hurt

Angry

Lonely

Tired

My husband and I do a check-in every day to evaluate our emotional, mental, and spiritual state. Why? Because boredom, loneliness, or tiredness are known triggers for his addiction. Therefore, we need to honestly communicate about our current states.

As we continue to build stability, here is how we become STABLE instead of wounding our marriage.

S: Seek God.

I’ve increased my personal devotion time every day. Why? Because I need the truth infiltrating my mind today. One reason I turn off the news is that the negative, dramatic stories feed my depression. I don’t need help with that. What I need is a new perspective, a sense of hope in the future. Reading the Bible daily broadens my sight and shows God’s faithfulness since the beginning of time. He’s not surprised by this recent pandemic. And, while he didn’t cause it, he allowed it. Therefore, he’ll provide the way through it. I need to talk with God about it daily and re-align my mind.

T: Truth-talk.

Remember the elephant in the room? He’s not going away by ignoring him. Talk about the fears you have associated with the pornography addiction, the wounds you have or that may be resurfacing now because of fear, and how to move through this time in a healthy manner. Heighten your communication. Find ways to encourage each other to choose healthy patterns instead of defaulting into negative past routines. You can do this. It’s what Dave and I practice as well. Don’t wait for a blow-up. Head off the hurt feelings and misunderstandings daily. Keep your accounts short with each other. If you have kids underfoot, make time and space where you can have these conversations away from the children.

A: Accountability for yourself.

Own your behavior, words, thoughts, choices, and actions. No one holds you accountable but yourself. That’s a tough one because it’s easier to blame someone else or circumstances for our angry outbursts or poor choice. However, you control you. Often extended time together reveals what’s simmering beneath the surface or hidden in our hearts and minds. So, when you feel anger bubbling to the surface before you explode, find a safe place to process the issue. Ask yourself what’s behind the anger. What emotion did you feel? Trapped? Cornered? Unseen? Invisible? Rejected? Exhausted? Acknowledge what’s happening first to yourself and then to your husband. Instead of projecting onto your husband, identify what’s happening, then find someone to process with. If that can’t be your husband, make an appointment with a coach, a counselor, or a safe, truth-telling friend. The worst thing you can do is bottle it up, force it down, and hope it will go away. It won’t. It’ll simmer and grow.

B: Boundaries.

Now is a good time to check your boundaries. Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries in all relationships exhibit deep love. During the initial phases of our recovery from pornography addiction, one boundary I drew was: “You can choose me or you can choose pornography. You can’t have both.” When drawing that line, I had to prepare myself for his choice. You and I can’t set boundaries for the other person. Boundaries are personal. Do you respect the other’s boundaries? Do you even know what they are? In Gary Thomas’ book, Cherish, he says,

. . . “protecting” your spouse doesn’t mean enabling an addiction. An untreated addiction or covering up a pattern of abuse isn’t protecting your spouse; it’s enabling them to continue on a destructive path.

I show deep love for Dave when I actively maintain healthy boundaries regarding pornography. He shows deep love to me by respecting that boundary. When we both practice love this way, we find freedom and depth in our marriage. It increases our connectedness and intimacy. Who wouldn’t want that?

L: Listen actively.

So often when in a conversation, especially a heated one, we want to be heard, but we don’t listen to the other party. Instead, we think about our rebuttal or what we want to say next. But, just as you want to be heard and acknowledged, so does your husband. Make a decision to stop and choose to listen well. Give your husband the gift of listening to what he’s saying. Listen beyond the words to the wounds, emotions, or hidden issues. What he doesn’t say may better inform your understanding of the situation. When your marriage feels strained, it takes deep commitment to honor the other person and practice active listening. According to verywellmind.com,

Being an active listener in a relationship means that you recognize that the conversation is more about your partner than about you. This is especially important when a relationship partner is distressed.

We want to know we are heard and understood. Give this gift to your husband today.

E: Emotional Intelligence.

No one makes you respond the way you do. Own your emotions. It’s too easy to blame someone else for our emotional behavior. But, how you respond in any situation indicates your emotional intelligence. Not sure what I mean by this term? Here’s an explanation from PsychologyToday.com:

Emotional intelligence . . . include(s) at least three skills: emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s. . .emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s. . .emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same.

The good news is you can learn to control your emotional state, identify, and manage it. And, the better emotional intelligence you exhibit, the more you increase your sensitivity to emotional signals within yourself and others. Then, you become a better marriage partner, parent, friend, or leader.

It’s possible to thrive and heal when your marriage hurts. But, it does take a mind shift, a choice to seek a resolution by both partners.

The best thing you can do in a wounded marriage is to talk about the issues quickly. If you need help, click the blue button on this website for a free time to chat. I’ve been there and would love to help you find your path to healing. Often, an unbiased observer helps you see what you can’t see because the wounds are too deep. Don’t choose isolation which deepens the wounds in your marriage. Choose to become STABLE.