Wives of Porn Addicts

Getting your spouse to Repent…

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This article was posted originally on my other blog at:

 Journey to Truth

Excellent article by Leslie Vernick.  This is a common theme in couples counseling, especially in those couples whom I work with where pornography or infidelity is an issue.  Please read the entire article, it is worth the time…


Article excerpt:

Question: My husband and I have been separated for 2 months now. How can our marital counselor start my husband down a road of true repentance? What are the actionable steps he needs to take?

Answer: This is probably one of the most frequent types of questions that I receive from women desperate to change their husband. “How can I or someone else, get my spouse down the road of repentance?”

Friend, that is not yours or anyone else’s work to do. It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict someone and the one who has sinned must take the steps of repentance.

If it were possible for another person to get someone to take the steps of true repentance, we would think Jesus would be our role model. Yet, we see during the Last Supper, Jesus showed his disciples, including Judas, the full extent of his love. He knew Judas was about to betray him, told him he knew he was going to do it, and yet, Judas did not repent. He did not turn away from what he was about to do (John 13).

A Biblical example of someone who did display some of the fruit of true repentance was Zacchaeus (Luke 19). Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector. He loved money and had no problem extorting his fellow Jews for more tax money than was owed to fill up his own coffers. He is described as a very rich, but unpopular man.

When Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for lunch that day, something in this man’s heart changed. We hear it when he says, “Lord, I will give half my wealth to the poor and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much.” These action steps indicate that Zacchaeus’ heart had been changed. He no longer loved his money the most anymore. He loved Jesus. We can see what happened by the way he handled his money and his desire to make restitution to those he took advantage of.

True repentance cannot be coerced or taught. If your husband is genuinely repentant, then he already has started down the path and with accountability and help he can make real changes. If he hasn’t repented yet, no one can create the steps that will take him there. Consequences may open his eyes to the results of his sin, but he still must personally change directions (which is the definition of repentance).

So I’m going to answer another question you didn’t ask. What does genuine or true repentance look like if it’s indeed happening? We all know people who say they have repented but there is no fruit or evidence of that reality in their lives.

Paul discusses this process in Ephesians 4 when he describes the changes that genuine repentance brings. He says, “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.” And then he goes into specific situations.

For example, he says, “If you are a thief, quit stealing.” That is the first evidence of a change. The person STOPS doing what he was doing that was damaging to him or to you or to your relationship. He puts it off.

Secondly, Paul tells the thief something else. He goes on and says, “Instead, use your hands for good hard work.” You see a thief’s heart is one that takes what he wants with no regard for the people he harms. Now he is to take responsibility for his own needs by working instead of stealing from others.

Paul doesn’t stop there. He adds something else. He says, “Then give generously to others in need.” You see Paul says that transformation doesn’t just occur in outward actions, but in inward motives. The thief was to be transformed inwardly from a taker to a giver.

So if we take this model, of course, we want to see the sinful behavior stopped. We want to see responsibility assumed for one’s self, and we want to see a character transformation and new behaviors begin to develop.

Now we know this transformation is a process. It doesn’t occur in a moment. But what “evidence” do we see over time that this is happening?  What “fruits”are we looking for? Here are some things I look for without making a specific checklist.

  1. We see the person desiring to gain greater self-awareness. He begins to take responsibility for himself and asked himself why do I do what I do – without blaming other people or external situations for his own actions or feelings.  As he does this he begins to “put off” or stop himself from reacting or doing what he’s always done in the past. He self-corrects and gains self-control (one of the fruits of the Spirit).

2. We see him now open and willing to receive feedback from others. For example, when you notice he ’s slipping into some old behaviors, you can kindly tell him and he’s grateful, rather than angry or resentful.  It’s still up to him to “put off” those old behaviors, but he’s consistently practicing.

3. We see him willing to be accountable to a small group of trusted men to help him make the changes to his life he desires to make. Major life change never happens without accountability and support. How could Paul encourage the thief? Because he knew him. He understood what was happening in his heart and life and therefore he could speak into it.

So is your husband actively putting off the old thinking and habits and learning to respond in new ways by putting on new ways of thinking, feeling and behaving?

Are you observing a consistent change in his character as he now displays more humility instead of pride? Is there gratitude rather than entitlement, diligence rather than laziness, and compassion for others rather than impatience and anger? Is he becoming more God-centered rather than continuing to be self-centered and self-focused?  Is he willing to take responsibility for the pain he’s caused and no longer expects amnesty, but rather he is looking to make amends to those he’s harmed?

There is no exact list but you do want to see this kind of progression both internally and externally so that you are seeing the FRUIT of genuine repentance. Click To Tweet

Friends, when you have seen genuine repentance, what are some of the fruit you have noticed coming forth from a person?  


Article source: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/39511834/posts/1816248807

3 Ways to Tell If You’re Addicted to Masturbation

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Taken from an article found on the XXX Church Blog:


Addicted to masturbation??? Is that even possible?

[Yes], …masturbation can become a legitimate addiction, just like any behavior. I’m not intending to make a moral statement or provide a biblical guideline but rather to help you decide if you are addicted so you can seek healing.

Here are three practical ways to help you discern if you’re addicted to masturbation:

1) Are you using masturbation to alter your mood?

Masturbation is a quick fix. It’s free, accessible and easy. It’s the perfect drug. Understandably, men and women use it to medicate bad moods. Those warm fuzzy chemicals sure hit the spot!

There are more positive ways to sooth moods, for example, listening to calming music or having a hot bath after a lousy day. The difference with using masturbation to alleviate negative emotions is that the powerful chemicals and hormones involved set you up for compulsion and emotional repression, not to mention they can be a detriment your future or current sex life. These are powerful chemicals you’re playing with.

Take note of when you feel the urge. What has triggered you in the past? Did you feel stressed? Powerless? Rejected? Lonely? Tired? Anxious? Sometimes our sex drive is just being its thoughtful self and saying ‘Hey! It’s been a while since we’ve tried reproducing! I’m here to personally encourage you to today!’ (Thanks Sex Drive: maybe take note of the relationship status next time) However, there is often an underlying motivation: to feel good. Because you don’t already.

If you’re regularly masturbating in response to negative emotion, you may be addicted. Why? Because it reveals you’re not processing your emotions and indicates you’re living in some level of distress, making it the perfect opportunity to get hooked. Addiction loves pain. It is a faux salve for emotional wounds. But in reality, our vice, be it masturbation or otherwise, is infecting that wound that so desperately needs to be healed.

2) Do you feel like you can’t stop?

Perhaps one of the clearest signs of addiction is when you feel you can’t stop, even when you really want to. Pretty simple. You may white-knuckle it for a few weeks, but it always come crashing back into your life.

There’s a reason for this.

A sexual encounter (with someone else or on your own) instigates the release of a host of nice-feeling chemicals into your brain’s reward system. It’s an incredible gift from God when it’s not confused. It keeps humanity thriving and surviving. It releases chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin when you participate in a behavior that it believes ensures survival of the body or gene pool (hence why an orgasm feels so much better than mopping the floor or eating dirt). The reward pathways function is to remind the brain to do that thing again! Your body begins to make unconscious associations. When you feel poorly, it remembers how to give you a kick! A process begins deep in your brain which, unbroken, leads you right back to the behavior, because your brain is wired to seek the easiest route to pleasure.

3) Is your habit harming you or those around you?

A characteristic of any addiction is continuing despite harm. Harm can come in many forms: emotional, relational, physical, spiritual or criminal to name a few.

If you’re masturbating to the point of overuse or needing medical assistance, you may very well be addicted. This is nothing to be ashamed about. Doctors have seen it all.

Compulsive masturbation can lead to sexual dysfunction and less-than-ideal intimacy with your spouse. This is a very real harm that must be identified. More than physiological, this can affect your spouse emotionally. Are you masturbating to the detriment of your sex life?

Isolation is another harm to look out for.  Such retreat can be rooted in shame, anxiety or the lost ability to interact non-sexually. Perhaps you would rather be at home masturbating than socializing. Having an orgasm is easier than building real relationships. But only the latter will bear good fruit in the long run.

Masturbation is a very personal and complicated topic. It can be a response to sexual or emotional trauma, it can be a struggle that begins in early childhood, it can be accompanied by porn or voyeurism or nothing at all, and the line between “struggling with” and “addicted” can get blurry. There is a battlefield of opinions out there and it is so easy to slip into judgment and shame in this conversation.

Please know that, no matter what, you are known and cherished by the God of the universe, and the team at XXXchurch have resources to help you find freedom. You are not alone, and you need not feel ashamed. Recovery is so possible.


Original article source: https://www.xxxchurch.com/women/3-ways-tell-youre-addicted-masturbation.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social-post&utm_campaign=Social-Lead-Gen-X3church&utm_content=3-ways-tell-youre-addicted-masturbation&utm_term=twitter-followers

“What’s Love got to do with it?”

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The excerpt below was taken from an article on the blog at [www.covenanteyes.com]


Porn ≠ Intimacy

In his book The Centerfold Syndrome, Dr. Gary Brooks explains why a porn-trained mind finds it harder and harder to make love. Porn, he says, promises (and delivers) a rush of sexual excitement without all the mess of actually connecting with another human being. It trains a sort of “voyeurism” in men, where we find it easier and more satisfying to just look at women rather than interact with them.

Brooks says pornography consumption creates in men a greater fear of intimacy. Porn exalts man’s sexual desires over the desire for real connection: it develops his preoccupation with sex and handicaps his ability for emotional intimacy.

Porn, he says, trains a man to both objectify women and feel validated in his masculinity by trophy women. More and more he rates women by the size, shape, and harmony of their body parts. More and more, in order to be aroused, he has to imagine himself being validated by women with porn-star bodies and attitudes.

In short, porn changes a man’s sexual expectations.

 


article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/31/can-married-couples-enjoy-pornography-together/?utm_campaign=Porn%20and%20Your%20Husband&utm_content=65040368&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

The Psychological Impact of Porn

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The excerpt below is taken from an article at the blog at [www.covenanteyes.com]


The Psychological Impact of Porn

In her hearing before the U.S. Senate, Dr. MaryAnne Layden asserted that when men spend so much time in “unnatural sexual experiences with paper, celluloid, and cyberspace,” they find it difficult to have sex with a real human being.

Is this an overstatement, or does the research bear this out?

  • Researchers James Weaver, Jonathan Masland, and Dolf Zillmann have watched how after being shown only 26 photos and one six-minute video of attractive nude females exhibiting sexual behavior, men routinely rate their partner’s attractiveness lower.
  • Dr. Dolf Zillmann and Dr. Jennings Bryant have also observed how after watching only five hours of pornographic videos over six week period, both men and women experience a decrease in sexual satisfaction. Study participants said they felt less satisfied with their intimate partners’ physical appearance, affection, and sexual performance.
  • In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sex Research, for men, frequency of viewing pornography was correlated with a lower satisfaction with sex and relationships.
  • Neurologist Serge Stoleru has found that overexposure to erotic stimuli exhausts the sexually responses of healthy young men.
  • In a 2006 study among college men, Todd Morrison and other researchers concluded there was a significant correlation between exposure to Internet pornography and levels of sexual esteem.
  • In 2007, a study of more than 2,300 adolescents found a correlation between viewing Internet porn and greatly increased uncertainties about sexuality and the belief that women are sex objects.

How much more is this effect experienced today among men and women who routinely watch porn every week?


article source: http://www.covenanteyes.com/2013/01/31/can-married-couples-enjoy-pornography-together/?utm_campaign=Porn%20and%20Your%20Husband&utm_content=65040368&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

5 Things that Contribute to Relapse

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Found this article on [www.guardyoureyes.com]:


Many life events can present a challenge to someone’s recovery. Illness, financial stress and other crises can trigger a relapse. But if the addict and the couple are in good recovery they can usually get through a crisis without a return to sex addiction.

The problem arises when the addict’s “sobriety” was only skin deep. Treatment involves addressing many different issues and neglecting any of them is not an option. Here are some of the reasons sex addiction treatment can fail and recovery can go off the rails.

  • Incomplete disclosure. Sometimes the addict in treatment “discloses” everything to the partner but holds back something from both the partner and the therapist. This can be subtle such as omitting the fact that the addict had unprotected sex with someone or failing to reveal that the affair was with a friend of the spouse. Or it can be blatant such as the failure to admit to a whole set of behavior like cybersex, gay sex or hiring escorts. Complete disclosure often comes in stages, but if the addict never tells everything he or she is perpetuating the habit of sexual secrecy. Without a commitment to honesty the addict will continue to live with the lies and shame that can ultimately lead back to acting out.
  • Recovery tourism. Some addicts are recovery tourists. They follow through on a program of sex addiction treatment and even go to 12-step meetings but they do not feel engaged in a genuine way. They sometimes feel they are there to keep their partner happy or to look good in the eyes of others. But they never feel the intrinsic value of recovery for themselves. This limits how much they can really change. Recovery demands deeper change and those in good recovery experience this as truly life-changing.
  • Seeing the problem as purely a relationship problem. Sometimes addicts never get the right kind of treatment to begin with. It is an easy mistake to think that sexual acting out by one partner is a symptom of something wrong in the relationship. But couple therapy alone cannot address the very powerful habit of using sex a drug any more than couple counseling can cure alcoholism. While it is true that sex addiction usually signals a problem with intimate relating, better relationship skills may not be possible until the addict addresses the addictive behavior. A trained sex addiction therapist will be able to make a plan to treat all aspects of the problem.
  • Ignoring the deeper issues. On the flip side, it is possible for treatment to address the addict’s problem with using sex as a drug but never deal with the intimacy avoidance that goes along with a sexual double life. Most addicts lack true intimacy skills, the ability to be nurturing and vulnerable, to share power and to communicate their needs and feelings. Unless they gain these skills their relationships will be problematic and inauthentic. This in turn leads back to the addict reaching out for another kind of gratification elsewhere. And the intimacy avoidance can in turn relate to longstanding problems such as childhood attachment issues, abuse and trauma. These must be resolved somewhere along the line for the recovery process to be reliable.
  • Misdiagnosis. This happens more than I would like. I see couples who have been to therapists for help with one partner’s sexual acting out behavior but have come away with a mistaken understanding of the problem. Often the therapist will say that the problem is due to the addict’s emotional immaturity and self-centeredness, i.e. a case of “arrested development.” Sometimes therapists do not see the compulsive nature of the behavior and address only the need for better communication and a greater understanding of the spouse or partner’s feelings. Worst perhaps is when the addict convinces the therapist that the partner is wrong and paranoid. In this case the therapist may work on getting the partner to accept what is taken as normal behavior. In cases like these the addict feels that that they have addressed the issue in therapy and have essentially been given a clean bill of health.

Reliable recovery from sex addiction demands many things; an acceptance of the problem as an addiction, the need not only to detox from that sexually compulsive activity but to follow through with the deeper work of personal growth and to learn a new way of living. Addicts who have done this have turned a corner; they are on much firmer ground in their recovery and in their lives generally.


article original source: https://guardyoureyes.com/articles/addiction-recovery/item/5-ways-sex-addiction-recovery-can-get-derailed

Moving Beyond Mistakes in Marriage

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Great article from the Gottman Institute:


I recently saw a video of a couple gracefully dancing on the streets of Israel, moving in and out of crowds, encapsulated by one another and their dance.

This couple moved with immense strength, agility, and elegance. Every step, spin, and lift was a piece of fine art. Their flawless performance left me mesmerized, inspired, and eager to return to the dance classes my husband and I had begun taking at Flow Studios in Seattle.

During our second lesson, my inspiration quickly turned into frustration as my partner and I began tripping over each other’s feet, colliding with one another, and growing steadily disheartened.

Our dance was anything but graceful.

Mistakes are normal

As we moved clumsily across the dance floor, I recalled the Israeli couple and their “flawless” dance. I had to remind myself that while this couple’s dance appeared perfect, they definitely made off-camera mistakes and had probably already practiced this dance hundreds of times.

No couple is perfect, whether on the dance floor or in everyday life.

From a distance, there are plenty of individuals or couples who appear to live their lives perfectly together. But in reality, we all slip and stumble from time to time.

While mistakes are inevitable in our relationships, it is how we respond to them that makes all of the difference between relationships that are resilient and flourish through imperfections, and those that crumble apart.

Pause: Acknowledge when you stumble

If, or rather when, you stumble with your partner (on or off the dance floor), it is necessary to first acknowledge the mistake.

When we take the time to acknowledge that we have messed up, we should mindfully search ourselves for the potential roots of our blunder. In taking the time to “check ourselves,” we build greater self awareness and cultivate the ability to choose wisely in the future.

On the dance floor, this can happen in the flash of an eye.

When we began our lesson, I repeatedly found myself tripping over my partner’s shoes but continued to stubbornly push through, determined to move beyond and perfect our dance.

It finally dawned on me that this issue wasn’t going to fix itself until we paused to take the time to explore the roots of the problem.

Our dance teacher, Michael, explained the importance of looking up at your partner and staying focused on the rhythm of the music. “No matter what you do, stay in beat with the song,” he described.

I had been so intensely preoccupied looking down, trying not to trip over my husband’s feet, that I had completely forgotten to listen to and feel the rhythm of the music. Taking a moment to pause and reflect on the roots of our stumbling was crucial to resetting our dance. In this situation, I inevitably needed a little external guidance to build this awareness.

While acknowledging our issues or mistakes is pertinent, it is equally as essential that we don’t “get stuck” looking down, or internalizing that we are defined by our imperfections.

Brené Brown explains the difference between shame and guilt as related to our mistakes. While guilt says “I did something bad” and is a normal, healthy reaction when we operate outside of our value system, shame says “I am bad.”

“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change,” she describes.

When I was stuck in a pattern looking down at my feet stumbling on my partner’s, it was hard not to internalize that I am simply a “bad dancer,” and that there’s not much hope that I will ever improve. As I was able to shift my lens and look up at my partner, I was able to glean more hope that together, we could improve and strengthen our dance and relationship.

Process: Make repair attempt

After recognizing that one has made a mistake, it is important to make a repair with your partner.

The Gottmans explain that while it is normal to make mistakes and have conflict with your partner, healthy relationships are those that make repair attempts. Repairs, defined by the Gottmans, are “any statement(s) or action(s) — silly or otherwise — that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.”

As my partner and I danced in our second lesson and I continued to clumsily stumble over his feet, I felt my blood pressure starting to rise with waves of frustration emerging above the surface. My partner inevitably felt these forces in our dance, which suddenly had taken on a rather negative tone.

While it wasn’t necessary for me to apologize every time I stepped on my husband’s feet, it was crucial to make a repair before I got “flooded,” as the Gottmans call it, and said or did something regrettable.

So how do you make repair attempts? They can vary drastically from couple to couple, and from situation to situation.

In this situation, I not only apologized verbally to my partner for my impatient and frustrated attitude, but also threw in some big, theatrical dance moves, twirling my partner around and dipping him, in an effort to lighten the mood and let him know that we are on the same team.

Through this repair attempt, we were able to break our negative pattern that was spiraling downwards and reset our tone with greater gentleness, playfulness, and care.

Over time, we have become increasingly quick and effective in making and responding to repair attempts. It is a skill that, if practiced, will help strengthen your ability to recover and thrive as a couple.

Proceed: Continue the dance

After acknowledging your mistakes and making repairs, keep dancing!

It may not be necessary to stop and have an extended conversation after every single slip and mistake. Every situation will vary greatly. Sometimes, a repair is a quick facial exchange acknowledging a mistake. Sometimes it means throwing in a silly dance move, or sitting down to have a five-minute conversation. Other times, it may involve seeking out external help through a therapist or other trusted individual to help you process as a couple.

Regardless of how long it takes you to work through the first two steps, at some point, it is crucial to move on, look ahead and continue your dance as a couple.

“Keep dancing! Don’t stop! Keep going!” our dance instructor shouted to us as he caught sight of me breaking our dance, discouraged by more tripping, even after we had processed the cause and remedy of our stumbling patterns.

As we moved forward and continued the dance, we kept a few principles in mind.

First, we focused on staying in rhythm with the music. When we stay in rhythm or true to the beat of the music, or our values, we are going to function more harmoniously as a couple.

What are your values as a couple, and as an individual? As we build awareness of and maintain focus on our values, we are more likely to operate within their realm.

Second, rather than looking down and stumbling on our feet, we focused on keeping our heads up and our eyes on each other as the central focus of our vision. As we did this, we actually found that we not only stumbled less, but also experienced a deeper connection and synchrony, which began to polish our dance.

Expand your story

We can choose to focus on our mistakes and internalize that there is little hope for change within ourselves or our relationship. Or we can acknowledge our mistakes, explore their roots, make repairs, and move on to continue the dance.

The choice is ours. We do not have to be defined by our errors. Instead, we can choose to learn and grow from them as we strengthen our personal and relational resilience and weave a preferred story of who we are, and who we want to become.

We can choose to recognize that we are imperfect human beings, but that together we are committed to move past our imperfections, to create a dance that reflects our story as a couple—one that is marked by unconditional love, joy, strength, and creativity.

This is part two of a four-part series on relationships and dance. You can read part one here.


Article source: https://www.gottman.com/blog/moving-beyond-mistakes-marriage/

5 Love Languages & Recovery

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Great article on the importance of understanding how your “love language” influences recovery:


Personal relationships with significant others, family members and loved ones can be some of the most triggering and challenging experiences that individuals in recovery from addiction encounter. In my own experience, developing healthy boundaries, practicing self-care and learning how to genuinely careGIVE instead of careTAKE has been so important in my journey of recovery from co-dependency. These concepts are not only important to individuals with co-dependency – developing healthy relationships is integral to recovery from any addiction including alcoholism, disordered eating, substance abuse, gambling and sex addiction to name a few. When a relationship is suffering, we often don’t realize what our needs and expectations actually are – of ourselves, of the other person, and of the relationship. We tend to draw our attention to only what we aren’t getting, focusing our lens on the character defects of the “other” which can be extremely upsetting and bring on many feelings of shame, defeat and pain.

Another concept that has become part of my ‘recovery regime’ is learning to understand and acknowledge my loved ones ‘Love Languages’. This practice created by Gary Chapman, termed The 5 Love Languages, has revolutionized my life, and has significantly improved all of my personal relationships.

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, an internationally-respected marriage and family life expert, love is a form of communication. His work teaches people to speak and understand emotional love when it is expressed through one of five languages:words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch. Here is a quick rundown of what they all mean:

  • Words of Affirmation: Expressing affection through spoken affection, praise, or appreciation.
  • Acts of Service: Actions, rather than words, are used to show and receive love.
  • Receiving Gifts: Gifting is symbolic of love and affection.
  • Quality Time: Expressing affection with undivided, undistracted attention.
  • Physical Touch: With this love language, the speaker feels affection through physical touch.

Chances are, you can relate to a few of these. Maybe you relate to all of them. But most of us have one or two that are much more important to us than the others, and it’s different for everyone. When you know what your partner values most, it’s a pretty big eye opener. For example, In the past I had been giving my significant other small gifts to show that I care. I put a lot of thought into those gifts, and I loved surprising him. I became frustrated when he didn’t seem to care (as much as I would have liked) or return the gesture. I then began focusing so much on what I wasn’t getting –  Without a deeper understanding of my own and and my partners love language even though the love was present, we both, at times, felt unloved and unappreciated.

By understanding each love language, our primary love language, as well as the primary love languages of others, we are better equipped to express and feel love more effectively.

For me it is not about denying my needs in a relationship – but about becoming CURIOUS and OPEN to other forms of love and admiration, as well as identifying and sharing my favourite ways to give and receive love. You can take the quiz on Dr. Chapman’s website  http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ to determine your primary love language, and I suggest that you encourage your loved ones to do the same. Understanding how to love and letting others understand how to best love you can be great tools to effectively communicate, and eliminate unnecessary problems.

By being proactive in our recovery from addiction, and by tending to relationships, we can improve ourselves and those relationships that we desire to grow. When we open our eyes to love in this way, we may see that it is in fact all around us.

Lisa Nixon


Article source: https://www.cedarscobblehill.com/5-love-languages-recovery/