Fan the Flame – Part 3

Hello All – Hope you are enjoying what seems to be the laziest of days between Christmas and New Years!

Let’s jump right into our deep dive on the five things we can do to build (or rebuild) our confidence after betrayal.  The first two I mentioned in this post (part 2) and if you missed part 1 – you can read it here.

#3 – Developing your Skill Set / Finding your niche outside of your family

In the first blog post, I mentioned that one of the threats to our self-confidence is when we feel financially stuck.  This might be because we have sacrificed our careers for our families (such a noble thing to do by the way!) or this might be because we are in a career where what we make barely gets us by.  In the latter case, tacking recovery work on top of barely making ends meet can make us feel even more overwhelmed.

So what to do?

Re-prioritize and make the time to invest in yourself.

I can imagine some of you now – saying “Shelley, you don’t understand.  It’s going to be impossible.”

Listen girls, I get it.  I have those same thoughts running through my head for myself!  I have wanted to take some courses for a couple of years now to help me be able to help women better – but I come up with a bazillion legitimate reasons as to why it can’t be done.

I’m finally at a place where I am ready to make the sacrifices to move forward with the courses.  Why you might ask?  Because I believe that the confidence that will come with empowering myself in this way will be worth it a year from now. Painful in the present but worth it in a year.

There is something powerful – no matter if you need the money or not – when we use our gifts and skills and get compensated for it.  I truly believe this is a huge way to restore dignity and confidence.

What is a service that you can provide that you can also get compensated for?  Is there a particular skill set that you feel like you need to develop by taking some classes?  I have seen advertisements for this on Instagram and while I don’t know much about it – I do find it inspiring to see all the different resources we have at our fingertips to learn and grow!

#4 – Changing your Mindset from “Victim” to “Empowerment”

I’m going to get a little personal here – and I really hope you can hear my heart because this could get dicey.

A couple of months ago, I was driving in my car and reflecting on how frustrated I had become with feeling like everyone else (which is so not true) has trust funds or an inheritance, or their kids’ college paid for by their wealthy extended family.  I recognized on that drive that I had been complaining about it a lot to anyone that would listen to me.  It got to the point where I was tired of hearing myself talk about it.

Tired of hearing myself talk about it?!  That’s a problem.

As I continued to drive down University Blvd, I realized that I was owning and operating from a victim mentality.  Poor me, it’s not fair, why isn’t this my story, why have we had to work for everything, where is our family legacy.

Typing this out makes me want to find the nearest coffee table and hide under it right away!  But I’m not going to do that.  I’m choosing to be fully known and sit in it.

Something shifted in me and I came to realize that I had a choice to make – I could keep complaining and wishing that the generations before me had done it differently.  OR – I could stand up, straighten my self up, and get to work.

I’m doing the latter – being proactive to do what needs to be done to plan for our future.  Getting real about what it’s going to take.  Taking my head out of the sand.  It feels empowering to take ownership.

And I want to caution you – just because we take ownership and tweak things to do it differently doesn’t mean we can’t feel the feels.  It’s important to recognize that we might feel disappointed or overwhelmed or defeated.

Acknowledge it.  Validate it.  And then ask yourself what your choices are and what you can do to turn the tide.

Is there an area where you feel like you have a victim mentality?  If so, what might it look like to shift from a posture of powerlessness to one of power?

Girls – we have agency to look at our situations, get honest about where we are, and then figure out the small steps we can take to do things differently.  I believe that as we do this – we are able to move toward confidence.

#5 – Connection

Y’all know I couldn’t land this plane without looping back to connection.  Because this is the wellspring of life. (And also why we are supposed to guard our hearts.)

Connecting with God, connecting with ourselves and connecting with others is at the heart of our journeys.  We could spin our wheels doing all these other things but if we aren’t working on community and connection – we’ve completely missed the point.

There is something so tangible and so magical about being fully known with others and then with ourselves – that can help bolster our confidence in ways that we never even imagined.

Oftentimes – I would go into my support group feeling defeated and dejected.  Insecure and without hope.  And 90 minutes later – almost like magic – I would leave feeling connected, empowered and confident.  And it was because I showed up in a safe place where I could be fully known.

Adding a little more to this fully known – I was also accepted in my cRaZy.

If you are looking for one of these places – just know there will be several new groups starting in February and March 2020 and I’d love for you to consider one of them.  Email me if you want me to add you to the wait list.

What about you?  What has helped you start to grow your confidence?  I’d love to hear!

xo – Shelley

ps. You won’t want to miss the last installment of this series where a former group member and now dear friend shares a little bit of her journey and how she has done some of the things mentioned here on her journey toward finding wholeness, confidence and dignity. 

Photo credits here and here

 

Fan the Flame – Part 2

In the last blog post, we talked about three things that can be a detriment to our self-confidence.

I’m interested in this topic right now because ladies – it’s something that I struggle with.  As I said before – while I do think the light within us might dim – I am confident (get it?!) that it will never go out.  We truly must fan the flame.

And fanning the flame is one of the things I am focusing on these days.

There are a total of 5 things I have identified which can help with this rebuilding of confidence.  Too much for one blog post so I am sharing the first two here today and the final three here shortly.

#1 – Investing Your Heart In Something Valuable to You

For several years now – I have wanted to do a boot camp at the exercise studio I’ve gone to for the last eight or so years.  I’ve always felt like I didn’t want to spend my money on it and I also felt kinda awkwardly vain desiring to do so.  What would it say about me if I chose to invest more than a regular exercise studio membership on my physique?

After discussing this with Jason – he encouraged me to give it a try.  (To be clear – his encouragement wasn’t coming from a place of wanting my body to look differently.  If that had been the case – I would probably have done something that I’d regret.)  Jason knows how long I’ve wanted to do this boot camp and he also knows how hard it is for me to spend money on things that aren’t imperatives.  Well – the opportunity came up right before Halloween this year and I enrolled in the 4-week boot camp.

I went in with some pretty high expectations.  I really thought I would see a radical transformation.  While that didn’t happen – something else did that I see as even more important and beneficial.  It gave me confidence, empowerment and I felt better.

The reason I walked away with more confidence was because I did something that was hard.  I challenged myself and made the boot camp a priority.  I wasn’t sure if I could swing it – but I did it.

It also gave me confidence because I made myself a priority.  I invested (time and money) in ME.

It got me thinking.  And I realized that part of restoring my dignity is investing (heart, soul, time, money, etc.) in things that I value.

I want you to think about what you value and how you can invest your time and money in those things in order to start to rebuild dignity and confidence.  If you aren’t familiar with values work – it’s super fun.  Email me if you would like some resources.

#2 – Doing Something that Helps Your Body Feel Well

Just so you know, this does not have to be exercise.  The end.

I have been sick this week and boy, does it affect me.  We were supposed to get professional photos taken at our office for my new website and I had to reschedule because I wasn’t feeling well.  Since then, I’ve gone from bad to still bad.

I was telling Jason last night that getting photos taken while sick sounds like the worst idea ever.  We want to feel at our best when we get photos taken – we want to feel alive and beautiful!  Not close to death’s door with scabs around our nostrils. Sigh.

When my body doesn’t feel well – my confidence is in the toilet.  Which begs the question – what can I do to help my body feel well?

I think the easy answer is exercise and eat well – and I agree that these things help.  But there is so much more than this.  Here are some other, sometimes more important things that help me feel well in my body –  listening to my gut, acknowledging how I feel, sharing my heart with those I find safe, recognizing my limiting beliefs (or lies) – and also – laughter.

What about for you?  It could be dancing or listening to music.  It could be brushing your teeth and doing your hair (I struggle with the latter of these). Think about what helps you feel well in your body.

Because confidence comes from within – it’s important that we are nourishing ourselves with the things that will help us feel well.

As we enter the final weekend before Christmas – I want you to hold tight to point #2 above.  Listen to your body.  Don’t ignore your gut.  Do what you can to help your body feel well.

Would love to hear your thoughts on these first two and stay tuned for the next three!

xo – Shelley

Fan the Flame – Part 1

Confidence.  It’s near and dear to my heart these days.  Confidence is defined as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgments.

I was reminded recently as to the importance of confidence and being proactive in my own life to grasp more of it (more on that in the next blog post).

Confidence is stripped from women (along with dignity and honor to name a few) when they are betrayed.

I have worked with women for more than a decade now and while there are some things I expect to hear that are right under the surface – the level of grief, trying to understand the why behind his addiction (or sexual integrity issue), grappling with trust and forgiveness (the list goes on) – there are other deeper and more insidious effects that sometimes we don’t think about at first blush.  I believe these deeper effects can really rattle our self-confidence.

Unaddressed Shame –

Early on in our recovery – we spent a lot of time focusing on the shame that Jason experienced, starting in childhood, that eventually became triggers that led him to choose to act out.

I as well was dealing with shame – and my shame had layers.  There was the shame of coming to terms with the fact that I married a man with sexual integrity issues.  The shame of this being my story.  This caused me to hide and not want to share my ugly truth with anyone.

I also experienced shame because I really thought Jason only had eyes for me.  And he was the first boy that I finally felt chosen by.  Grappling with the fact that he chose me and many others caused me to feel unloveable and worthless.

The layers of shame look different for each of us.  Sure, it almost always surfaces because of his choices.  But it also can come up as women try to figure out if she should stay married to him.  There can be shame in choosing to stay with someone that treated us this way – and even more so if he isn’t doing good recovery work.  “Am I this pathetic to stay with him after all he has done and he is still treating me this way?”

Confidence wanes as the shame layers start to mount.

Financially Stuck-

While this wasn’t so much the case for myself (we didn’t have children yet and I was the bread winner) – this is a massive issue for most of the women I support.

Working recovery is oftentimes a financial hardship. I remember stressing over how we would pay for the therapist that we were seeing twice a week.

Women affected by betrayal already feel powerless.  If finances are tight – it limits the choices available and can cause her to feel even more stuck and powerless.

In addition, most women that reach out to me have sacrificed their careers in the name of their families.  Some women could go back to their careers but have young children at home which makes the choice feel really hard.  Others have been away from their careers for decades and would have to do loads of training to return to their professions of choice.  It’s a hard call to make.

Feeling stuck from a financial standpoint can have massive effects on self-confidence.  When we have agency – we have confidence.  But without that agency – confidence can plummet.

Intuition Violations –

I know for myself – deep down I knew something wasn’t quite right when I was dating Jason.  This persisted on our wedding day.  I loved him, I knew I wanted to spend my life with him.  But something deep down didn’t feel right.  Ladies – our intuition doesn’t lead us astray.

During the first 3 years of our marriage – I continued to dismiss my intuition.  I continued to experience an unsettled and nagging feeling that something was amiss.  In order to stay sane – I either had to trust my gut and insist something was off or I had to divorce my gut to keep the peace between he and I.  I chose the latter.

Once the ugly truth fully came out – my confidence in trusting my own judgement was completely shattered.  How could I have done this to myself?  How could I have married someone that would treat me this way?  How did I not know?

My self-confidence crashed to an all time low.

Ladies – it’s not all bad news, though.  Why, you ask? (I’m so glad you did!)  Because I truly believe that each of us can walk through betrayal and toward our future with more confidence than we ever thought was possible.  As Maya Angelou said – “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”  As I think about this quote – with all due respect – I’d like to revise it.  The light might dim, for a season, but ladies – it will never go out.  We must fan the flame.

I’m curious if you can relate to any of these three areas that affect our confidence post betrayal.  I’d also love to hear what else comes to mind for you that has made an impact on trusting yourself.

Stay tuned for some strategies to help us start to rebuild the confidence we so desperately need to repair.  While this might be life work – I do think if we are intentional – we can make huge strides in this area rather quickly.

Love you ladies!

xo – Shelley

Photo credits here and here

In the Dark: Healing Sexual Intimacy After Porn and Infidelity

(Hi Girls!  Today I’m thrilled to write for the amazing women over at MOPs.  It’s the first of a two-part series on what it looks like to heal some of the most broken pieces of my marriage.  Let me just tell you, I feel SO vulnerable sharing…)

I’ll never forget the first time Jason and I had the opportunity to speak together to a group of couples at a retreat deep in the mountains of Colorado.  We were there to share our story and more than that, how God was saving our marriage after porn, affairs and everything in between had taken us down for the count.  I could barely sleep the night prior and my heart’s strong beat was a constant reminder – as I lay there sleepless – of my real fear of talking in front of others.

in-the-dark

When I think about that event, my most poignant memory is of the tall woman standing in the back of the room with her arms crossed.  As she catapulted a question my way, her tone revealed my story had hit close to home.  Sternly, she asked, “After everything Jason has done, and given your struggle with anorexia, how can you possibly have sex with him?”

{Head over to the MOPs blog where this post was initially published to continue reading}

 

Video response for you…

Hi Girls!

I so loved some of your comments from a post I recently wrote – I decided to respond to some of them via video.

In case you are wondering, this IS what I look like most days.  And I really wanted to be a cheerleader in high school (you’ll see my cheer in the video) but I didn’t make the cut.  I still wonder why…

xo-Shelley

 

A Rant…

Do y’all remember when I wrote that blog post where I was ranting and raving about what we need to see from our husbands in order for us wives to heal?  Maybe I’m listening to too much Dave Ramsey or something but I think I have another rant in me that I need to get out today.  Buckle up – it’s going to be a ride.

I’m so sick and tired of how much control some husbands {whom have made some really terrible choices} have over their wives.  Please note – this isn’t directed to every one of you.  Some of you are doing a fantastic job of allowing your wife to grieve.  Answering her questions.  Holding her pain.  Others of you – not doing so hot.

These are the husbands that need to read on.

Countless women, whom should be given permission to grieve that their life as they knew it was a complete lie, was nothing like what they thought it was – aren’t even given the space by their husbands to start to grieve.

rant1.001

Instead, these husbands are so busy blame-shifting, manipulating, criticizing, withholding love – all this both before and after disclosure – that these wives can’t even focus on grieving.  Instead, they have to focus on the continued craziness.  It’s killing me!

I sit back and think – these wives – they are capable and willing to forgive what many believe to be the unforgiveable.  They are willing to do the necessary work to repair the marriage.  But they can’t even start the repair work (which, just to be clear, starts with a 1)  full disclosure, 2)  grieving, 3)  turning over the puzzle pieces and asking a ton of questions and 4) grieving some more) because their husbands continue to resist giving them what they need.

So the focus for these wives looks like this – “Why won’t my husband answer my questions?”.  “Why won’t my husband respect my requests to have physical space from him?”  “Why won’t my husband give me the diginity of hearing my pain?”  “Why is my husband so defensive and angry?”

It’s as if these husbands – they 1)  caused the pain.  And then 2)  are the biggest road block to working through the pain.

Are you with me?

Husbands, do you not get it?  You have stomped on your wives’ hearts.  You caused her terrible pain that she would never wish on anyone.  Not even you.  And then you proceed to be the biggest road block to her healing?

I do not understand.

If you want to save this marriage, if you want to give your wife dignity and healing – let me tell you what you can do:  Hold your wife’s heart with more care and concern than ever.  Let go of the pride.  Let go of the entitlement.  Ask God to give you the courage and the strength ( ’cause that’s what you are going to need) to hold your wife’s heart.  To cocoon it and protect it with everything you’ve got.

And let. her. grieve.

Let her see that you hurt for her.  That you are so sorry.  Not just with the words that come out of your mouth but with the tears that fall down your face.  With the fact that you will drop everything and come running if she needs you.  With the respect you give her by asking before embracing her.  By being intentional and asking her what she needs to process with you today about her new reality.

rant2.001

Shall I say more?

By answering her questions.  By giving her back her dignity by always telling her the truth.  By allowing her to use her voice.  By validating her feelings.  By giving her nothing but your best.  From this day forward.  And when you trip up, you get right back up.  Because God is sanctifying you and ain’t nothin getting in your way.

It’s only when you are doing these things that your wife can actually start to feel she is safe enough to grieve your past – her present.  You hear me?  She is grieving her present reality.  Her truth.

So please, that heart that you stomped on over there?  Take it in your hands and treat it with more care than anything else you’ve ever cared for.  Do your part to sew up every wound.  You be Jesus’ hands and feet to your wife.  Allow God to work through you.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

 

A Little Christmas Eve Pep Talk

Hello Ladies!

I’m so excited to start working through your burning questions that you have asked me from the last blog post.  Such great questions and I’m excited to dig deep with you guys.  If you are new here, it’s not too late to add your question.  Go here to do so.

I was actually planning on answering one of those questions here today.  But as I sat down to write, I realized my heart was leaning toward talking to each of you about what you might encounter over the next 24-48 hours with your family.  With your husband.  The craziness of Christmas.

ichoosegrace

Think of this as a pep talk.  I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now and if you were sitting across from me with something warm and yummy in your hands, this is what I would want to tell you:

1)  Some of you might be experiencing your first Christmas without your husband by your side.  It might be that you are separated or newly divorced.  This probably wasn’t the way you thought it would go.  Know that I’m proud of you for not putting up with his shenanigans anymore.  Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to love ourselves enough to walk away.

2)  Some of you might be experiencing your first Christmas with a man that you never thought would break your heart as badly as he has.  He might be working hard to repair your heart or he might be flailing in the background.  Either way, I want you to know that it does get better.  It won’t hurt this bad forever.  I can’t guarantee the outcome of your marriage but I’m here to tell you that we are all guaranteed to have Jesus by our side as we walk through this ugly mess.

3)  Some of you might feel like you are in the thick of a wait this Christmas.  It’s not your first Christmas knowing his ugly truth.  You might not have clarity yet on which way to go.  It’s okay to camp out there.  To take your time.  This is your choice and nobody else’s.

4)  Listen, sweets, you are not responsible for your husband’s actions.  If he chooses to (insert a number of behaviors here, but for example – ) disconnect and sit on the couch on his phone all Christmas day, it’s not your fault.  Will it effect you?  Absolutely.  Do you have every right to feel disappointed?  Yes ma’am.  Does this mean you can’t enjoy the day with your family or friends?  No, it doesn’t.  This is where healthy detachment comes in and we choose into focusing our energy elsewhere other than our husband’s choices.

5)  This Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect.  Release yourself from the pressures that might be building.  This is a time to connect with those you love.  To celebrate Jesus’s coming to save us from having to be perfect.  Do you see?  We don’t have to be perfect anymore because of Jesus.  Now that’s something to celebrate!

6)  Give yourself grace over the next couple of days.  Heaps and heaps of grace.  Remind yourself that you are worthy and you are loved because you are a Daughter of the King.  This isn’t anything that you’ve earned.  It was given to you.  There is no need to prove yourself worthy with the meal you make or the gift you give.  No way.  So your turkey ends up being dry.  Big deal.  Turkey is overrated.  Give yourself grace.  (And as far as I’m concerned, be proud that you know how to make a turkey.  I have no clue.)

7)  As you are working toward being fully known and loving yourself well remember that the best thing you can offer yourself and others is honesty, grace, and love.  It’s when we do this that we move closer to Jesus.  That we comprehend His love for us.  Unconditional.  And this being fully known and loving is really. hard. work.

8)  And some of you might be pinching yourself this Christmas because your husband is changing before your eyes.  You can hardly believe it.  He’s working really hard.  And maybe you’re watching and waiting OR maybe he’s inspired you to work really hard, too.  Either way, take a breath and thank God for the progress you see.  Know that it’s real and it’s okay to feel the joy.

I’m glad we could have this talk.

xo-Shelley

 

 

 

what’s breaking my heart today…

I feel really fortunate to come alongside women with a similar story to mine and give them a safe place for them to process their pain and take the next step on their journey.  It’s certainly not easy – I still {and always will} deal with triggers, I still {and always will} carry their stories with me.  Speaking of stories – these women’s stories – they are precious.  Each one of them is a fighter with a heart of gold and enough courage to blow your mind.  Their lives have been far from easy.  And if they were easy, they aren’t anymore.  Many of them have sat in silence for months and even years while their husbands have been unfaithful to them.  These women – they feel tossed aside.  Many of these women have been told to spice up their sex lives, have a hearty meal on the table, try not to fuss or nag.  This will fix it, they were told, but it didn’t work.  It won’t work.

So they reach out for help.  Slowly but surely.  They wave the white flag.

And here is the thing – these women want nothing more than for their marriage to not only survive but to also thrive.  They are willing to put in the hard work, to do whatever it takes to heal.  They understand that they’ll have scars and they have all the hope in the world that they will use their pain for good in this life.

What they are asking for from their husbands isn’t too much to ask:  They want honesty.  They want respect.  They want the dignity to know the full truth.  They want integrity.  They want faithfulness.  They want empathy.  They want emotional intimacy.  They want conversation and connection.  They want to see that their husbands are sorry not just in their words but also in their actions.  They want humility.  They want Godly leadership.  They want to see their husbands be all they know their husbands can be.

I see these women give their husbands 2nd, 3rd and 4th chances to do this recovery the right way.  I see these women bend over backwards trying to make sure that their husbands have every possible chance to redeem themselves.  To allow God to start to change them.  They hand their husbands over to God and trust Him with the one they love the most on this planet.

Now I understand that I’m a little one-sided since I work with women and not their husbands.  What I’m having trouble understanding is why, as a husband, you’d prefer to continue to hurt your wife.  Why you’d choose to blame her, criticize her, and defend yourself.  When all the while – you, mister {don’t make me say buster}, you are the one that can be redeemed.  You are the one that can live a better life.  You are the one that can move past your shame and guilt and live life full and change your legacy for generations to come.  I’ve seen it happen.  It IS possible.

Because here is the thing.

When you, as a husband, start to chase after God.  When you let go of your selfish ways and run with a reckless abandon toward who He is calling you to be – chances are, your wife will follow.

She knew this person was in you.  She saw it from the moment she met you.  She won’t want that man to pass her by.

And a beautiful thing begins to happen.  She will start to chase after that same God as well like never before.  She will start to pursue what He has put on her heart.

She has the freedom to do this because you have led.  She isn’t expending all her energy dealing with you anymore!

So it starts with you, mister husband {aka buster}.  And this is exactly what’s breaking my heart.  Because not only have you wrecked your wife’s heart – but you also are the one to ultimately decide – will your marriage thrive?  Or will your marriage be a casualty.  Because even if it stays intact and you do nothing to move toward sanctification – the marriage is dead.  It’s a casualty.

I hear Jason in my head because he always says – very rarely will a wife leave her husband because of what he’s done.  No, most often, a wife chooses divorce when her husband either 1)  chooses not to tell the truth or 2)  won’t allow God to change Him from the inside out.  Not just from a sexual integrity stand point but from a character stand point as well.

Because let’s face it.  You, mister husband, you are NOT the best CEO of your life.  If you were – you wouldn’t be reading this blog post, now would you.  If you were, your wife wouldn’t be reading this blog post either, now would she?

So what’s it going to take for you to let go?  To acknowledge that you need help?  That you are destroying your life as well as your family’s?

Know that there is hope for you.  I’m married to a man that has changed.  I know other couples that are living a life of grace, peace, honesty, and love.  It IS possible.  So go.  Do it now.  Whatever it takes.  Godspeed to you.

 

New Group Starting in December

Just a quick note to let you know there is a new group starting December 2, 2015!  Can you believe it, December is two weeks away!  This is a fast-paced group that will be meeting every week.  Read on for more details!

RLFW_Rescued_Cover

Who is this for?:  This is for any woman that finds herself struggling to heal after disclosure or discovery of her husband’s sexual integrity issue.  You might be married or separated.  You might be 30 years into the process or 3 months into the process.  Chances are, you are feeling alone and haven’t told many friends as to the reality of your situation.  More than anything, you desire to be healed and to find a safe place to share your story.

Start date:  December 2, 2015.

How often:  This group will meet every Wednesday from 9-10:30am, MST, via conference call. (This is slightly different than the other groups offered which meet every other week.)

Facilitator:  I am so excited to have Connie Spiegel facilitating this group.  You can find out more about her here.  This lady is amazing, you guys.  I can’t even begin to say enough about her.  She and her husband have counseled with Jason, she has been a part of one of my groups, she is a certified coach and APSATS trained – just to name a bit about her.  More than any of that, though, she has the biggest heart for women who share a similar story to hers.

CSpiegel-bio pic

Format:  The group will do a combination of check-ins and curriculum.  The check-in is the heartbeat of the group where each participant shares from their soul in an effort to be fully known.  The curriculum we use (in workbook form) is a compilation of the material I have used with my groups for the last 5-6 years.

Price:  $200/month.  At this time, I do not have any scholarships to give away.  If you’d like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the scholarship fund, please let me know.

Number of spots:  The group is limited to 5-6 women.  You do not have to live in Denver to be apart of this group as the group will meet via conference call.

Initial Commitment:  6 months – I’m happy to explain further why I ask for a six month commitment.

I’m interested, what do I do?:  Please email me if you are interested in this group.  We will set up a time to chat over the phone and I can answer any questions you might have and get a better feel for if the group will be a fit for you.

If you want additional information about groups, head here.  If you are interested in a group but Wednesday morning won’t work for you, please let me know – as I have spots open up every couple of months!

Book Review – “Wired for Intimacy” by William Struthers

Jason brought home this book sometime late last year and told me he thought it was a decent read.  I decided I’d give it a shot even though I was still trying to steer clear of anything mildly triggering.  I had just finished Your Sexually Addicted Spouse and was able to keep myself grounded – so I decided to dig in.

I just flipped back through the book and oh how I wish I had written this review shortly after finishing it.  I almost decided to not write the book review – however, I feel like this book is an important one for any wife that finds themselves married to a husband with a sexual addiction or sexual integrity issue.

bookreview2015

 

So, I’m pressing on and writing the review.  Here we go…

Name of the book:  Wired for Intimacy.  How pornography hijacks the male brain.  By William M. Struthers.

Trigger level:  Low.  Of the books that I’ve reviewed on the website, this is one of the books with a lower overall trigger level.  (You can read a little bit more as to why I include the trigger level here.)

What I liked about this book:

  • The author’s no non-sense stance on pornography.  Here are a couple of quotes:  “Pornography is the consumption of sexual poison that becomes part of the fabric of the mind.”, “Pornography takes human sexuality out of its natural context – intimacy between two human beings – and makes it a product to be bought and sold.”, “I view pornography as an institutional evil that preys on the disaffected, wounded and desperate members of society.”
  • I loved the author’s explanation of what happens neurochemically when the male brain is exposed to pornography.  He likens the neurochemical release of dopamine with a sex addiction to the release of dopamine with heroin or cocaine use.
  • After explaining in great detail how pornography hijacks the brain, he then spends the latter half of the book discussing what it looks like, as a man, to have his needs met through intimate relationship with God and others.  This is more of a vision-casting, in a sense.  He also discusses his concern with placing too much of an emphasis on sexual intercourse.  He says it shouldn’t be “elevated” to a “holy of holies” but rather used as a “means by which a husband and wife can share the journey of sanctification together…and also the means by which God can give the blessing of children.”

What I didn’t like about this book:

  • Practically nothing.  This book was incredibly affirming as to the damaging effects of pornography use.
  • The second half of the book (the book is split into two sections) wasn’t as insightful to me – primarily because he spends a lot of time talking about masculinity in general.  So, if you are pressed for time – just read section I of the book.

wiredforintimacy

Additional Thoughts:

  • I wanted to end this book review with my favorite passage from the book:  “Men share with women the same basic needs of humanity.  The need for intimacy, to be known and to know, to be close, affirmed, loved; all are human needs.  The need for intimacy requires that we understand who we are and share that with those we long to be known by.  As we become more intimate, the other speaks into us things about ourselves that we could not possibly know from the inside.  We allow the one we are intimate with to discover us in ways we could not do on our own, and we do so with them.  It is a process that develops and deepens over time.  We know ourselves more fully because we are known more fully.  The intimacy that we have with God and with others enables us to move along the journey toward either sanctification or depravity.”  What a beautiful description of what is potentially awaiting each of us that has been robbed by a sexual addiction.

Have you read this book?  And if so, what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear.  xo-Shelley