Trust has to be a living, breathing entity in order for any relationship to survive. It isn’t an emotion, but a learned behavior that we gain from past experiences. Whether you’ve been stolen from, lied to, misled, or cheated on, there are different levels of losing trust, some more devastating than others.

1. Learn to really trust yourself: If you don’t trust yourself – your ability to have good judgment and make good choices – how can you trust someone else? Once your trust has been violated, your defenses start working overtime to protect yourself. Pay closer attention to your instincts and work on building trust in yourself.

2. Grieve: When a loved one dies, the natural grieving process tends to come in five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These five stages can also occur when you lose trust in someone. Don’t fight any of these stages. You’ll usually get through all of them – with time. Forgiveness can also be added as the sixth stage in regards to trust.

3. Stop labeling yourself the victim: If you’ve been betrayed, you are the victim of your circumstance. But there’s a difference between being a victim and living with a “victim mentality.” Some people choose to wallow in the sting of betrayal while others make a real effort to overcome it. If you choose to wallow in pity, you’ll stifle your ability to heal because you’ll end up angry and blaming everyone else for something you actually have more control over than you think. If you can find it in your heart to forgive, then you’ll be able to release anger and hurt.

4. You didn’t lose “everything”: When we’re severely betrayed, such as being cheated on in a relationship, we tend to feel like we’ve lost everything that means anything to us. Once trust is lost, what’s left? Instead of looking at the situation from this hopeless angle, look at everything you still have and be thankful for all of the good in your life. Seeing the positive side of things doesn’t mean you’re ignoring what happened. Instead, it’s a healthy way to work through the experience to allow room for positive growth and forgiveness.

5. Keep your expectations high: Avoid the same types of where your trust was violated. But it’s also important to recognize that just because you’ve been violated before doesn’t mean it will happen again. If you fall into this mentality, not only will you sell yourself short, but you may also throw away the possibility of a new, healthy relationship. Losing trust in someone can have a devastating effect on your relationship, as well as your sense of self-worth, but building trust again is possible. It takes a willingness to work on both yourself and your betrayer, but it’s more than possible. And when trust in a relationship is regained, it is truly healing.

“One error a trust-breaker makes when attempting to rebuild trust with another, is refusing to take full ownership for what they did.” – Karen Wells

by applyingmybeliefs

Gen 15:5-6 – And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”  And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.  ESV

Abram, later called Abraham, was called righteous by God because he believed God’s promise.  God kept His promise to Abram, in that he became the single point ancestor of the Ishmaelites (Forerunner to the Arabs of today) and the Israelites (Hebrews or Jews).  Later in scripture we see that Abraham was called by God “friend.” (James 2:23), the only person directly called that.  The blessings; the two great nations, the material wealth and the personal friendship with God Almighty came to Abraham because he believed God.

In Christian recovery we are asked to believe God.  Not believe in God, for even the demons believe in God, however at one point in time, they didn’t believe God, they believed a lie.  To believe God is to have faith that what He says He will do will happen.  It is having a 100% certainty that His promises to us will come to pass.

Do you believe God, or are you reserving some parts of your life for yourself, so that you can control them.  Do you know that when any of us does that we shut Him out of being able to bless us in ways we can’t imagine.  It seems from scripture that God works this way because He wants us to be able to say that we chose Him and not that we are His puppets, which are things that He created and made to follow Him.

Although some people are more curious than others, it’s very common to have lots of questions about the marital affair, especially initially. If you have little interest in the facts, so be it. However, if you need to know what happened, ask. Although the details may be uncomfortable to hear, just knowing your spouse is willing to “come clean” helps people recover. As the unfaithful spouse, you might feel tremendous remorse and guilt, and prefer avoiding the details entirely, but experience shows that this is a formula for disaster. Sweeping negative feelings and lingering questions under the carpet makes genuine healing unlikely. Once there is closure on what actually happened, there is typically a need to know why it happened. Betrayed spouses often believe that unless they get to the bottom of things, it could happen again. Unfortunately, since the reasons people stray can be quite complex, the “whys” aren’t always crystal clear. No one “forces” anyone to be unfaithful. Infidelity is a decision, even if doesn’t feel that way. If you were unfaithful, it’s important to examine why you allowed yourself to do something that could threaten your marriage. Were you satisfying a need to feel attractive? Are you having a mid-life crisis? Did you grow up in a family where infidelity was a way of life? Do you have a sexual addiction? It’s equally important to explore whether your marriage is significantly lacking. Although no marriage is perfect, sometimes people feel so unhappy, they look to others for a stronger emotional or physical connection. They complain of feeling taken for granted, unloved, resentful, or ignored. Sometimes there is a lack of intimacy or sexuality in the marriage. If unhappiness with your spouse contributed to your decision to have an affair, you need to address your feelings openly and honestly so that together you can make some changes. If open communication is a problem, consider seeking help from a qualified marital therapist or taking a communication skill-building class. There are many available through religious organizations, community colleges and mental health settings. By Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W.

“Guilt and no guilt: these were the worst things. The only thing worse than the guilt was the fear of getting caught.” – Elin Hilderbrand

by applyingmybeliefs

1 Sam 17:4 – And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.   ESV

Goliath was a true physical giant, his strength was such that the tip of his spear was six hundred shekels, about eighteen pounds twelve ounces.  He was probably between nine feet six and eleven feet, depending on how one measures a cubit.  Although he lived with the ancient enemy of Israel, the Philistines, he was most likely from the tribe of giants called Anaks.  In this scripture (read 1 Sam 17:4-58 for the full story) Goliath came out and taunted the Israelites as he was to do for 40 continuous days.  It was common practice for enemies to send their champion into a one-on-one fight with the victor’s side winning the war.  This avoided the very dangerous reality that both sides could get wiped out, making them easy targets for a third enemy.

We all know the story, the young boy, David, goes out and kills the giant Goliath under God’s protection, and the Israelites win the war.  This story, while it is an actual historical event, is also symbolic for humanity, if they care to listen.  It is one person, plus God, defeating something that cannot be overcome any other way.

This is a great figurative story for us in recovery.  The giant is something big that we have to fight and that we know we cannot defeat with our own resources and power.  If we have anything in our lives that determines how our day goes, where we spend our time or money or how we think, feel and choose, then we have a giant.  God could be our giant, but we all know that if He were, we would never have got into recovery in the first place.  No, our giants are the compulsions or addictions that we struggle with; they could also be our challenges trusting or being intimate with a spouse after a betrayal.  Whatever they are, they can only be defeated with God’s help.

by Shaunti Feldhahn

The fallout from the Ashley Madison leak shows us that there is a critical sexual disconnect between men and women.

Most women are completely dumbfounded at the Ashley Madison scandal, asking, How could it be so easy for so many men – including godly, Christian men – to visit such a site?

Most men are completely chilled at the Ashley Madison scandal: thinking, There but for the grace of God go I.

There’s something more important here than the Ashley Madison issue itself: a vast disconnect between men and women on modern sex-related issues that affect nearly all men and boys every single day – but which many women aren’t even aware of. While actual infidelity affects only a small percentage of marriages, the factors creating online temptation impact everyone. And we women don’t always understand why.

Our men are vulnerable in ways most of us never realized. Our sons have a target on their backs. They need our support, prayer and awareness as they stand against the temptations of this culture – or as they work to heal their lives and marriages from poor choices.

After years of research and multiple nationally-representative surveys to investigate the inner lives of men and boys for For Women Only and Through A Man’s Eyes, I now believe if we women understood just five key things, it would change how Christian men handle temptation. Just to be clear: men are 100% responsible for their choices. But that doesn’t mean we women have to sit helplessly while our men are out there facing temptation alone.

So for every woman who wants to understand and support her man (or her son), here are five key facts:

Fact 1: Due to how their brain wiring interprets attractive sights, men in this culture are constantly being sexually stimulated.

Although we can’t get into the brain science here (see this article for more), the bottom line is that a straight man can’t not be sexually stimulated when he catches sight of the female body in the spandex shorts or the low-cut top. Even if he doesn’t want that pleasurable stimulation, it just happens. If he wants to honor his wife (and God) in his thought life, he instantly has to choose whether to shut down that stimulation by looking away or thinking about something else. A few minutes later he will have to make that choice again. And again.

Fact 2: Visual-sexual stimulation salves a man’s hidden vulnerabilities.

Men have far more self-doubt than women realize. Pleasurable stimulation hits men right where it hurts, and makes them feel better. One man told me, “A guy might be feeling like a failure at work but being intimate with his wife — or with pornography, which is the counterfeit — makes him feel like he does measure up. It is a salve that goes very deep.” When a man is intimate with his wife, he experiences true comfort and care. When he turns to porn he avoids intimacy; it is the counterfeit solace of the alcoholic’s bottle. And it is terribly ironic that his counterfeit indulgence triggers his wife’s own vulnerability – her worry that she is not enough for him.

Fact 3. The visual and emotional temptation looms large.

In today’s culture, a man’s physical responses and emotional vulnerabilities combine to create a perfect storm of temptation. Even if he fights it well (which most men in the church do try to do), it looms large. This is how my husband, Jeff, describes the struggle:

It is almost as if we are all former alcoholics and there is a bottle in front of us with an empty shot glass saying, “Just this once. It’s been such a hard day.”

As guys, we are all sitting there, looking at that bottle – and if we’re feeling particularly vulnerable, we’re saying ‘God help me.’ And it has nothing to do with our wives. It has everything to do with a man feeling like a failure and this is that one drink that he thinks will make him feel better tonight.

Many men won’t have had that thought about alcohol, but most of us have had it about porn. It is everywhere. And it turns men into cowards. So if we are honest, every man knows that if we’re not extremely careful, that is where we could go.

Fact 4: Some men fight it successfully — and others fall.

While many millions of men make those careful choices every day, others grow weary of the struggle. They give in. They secretly look at what is always just a click away. Many, especially in the church, know it is wrong and are ashamed. The hard truth is that porn reels in men who would have never set out to devastate their wives and families. Pornographic images are like a gateway drug to videos, chat rooms, and, for some, Ashley Madison. Men can find themselves in the grip of addiction. And since Christian men usually are ashamed of and hide the first step into temptation, the rest of the progression also stays hidden – and the men stay trapped.

Fact 5. A wife’s support can make a difference – if he chooses to let it.

One reason I’m passionate about encouraging women and men to understand each other: we don’t have to be helpless in the face of confusing (or scary) issues. Although a man or boy’s ultimate actions are fully his responsibility, there’s a lot a wife can do to support her husband or son, if he chooses to accept it. First, show your husband it is safe for him to talk to about these struggles with you. If a wife shows that she wants to understand (“What makes things more difficult for you?”), that she won’t freak out, and that she’s willing to help (“Absolutely, we can block those problematic cable channels”) most men will open up and share over time. And if a wife shows her husband that she does desire him sexually, that she cares for him in that way, closeness usually grows. Neither are a guarantee, but I’ve seen both lead to breakthroughs and much more intimacy.

I’d venture to guess that the enemy of our souls wanted to use the Ashley Madison hack to steal, kill and destroy many marriages, and to put fear into many others. But there’s something about bringing hidden things to light that God uses to set people free. For all of us as women, let’s use this unique moment to step out in maturity, face down our own fears and insecurities, and stand with our men – and our sons – so they know they don’t have to face the darkness alone.



Healing from infidelity involves teamwork; both spouses must be fully committed to the hard work of getting their marriages back on track. The unfaithful partner must be willing to end the affair and do whatever it takes to win back the trust of his or her spouse. The betrayed spouse must be willing to find ways to manage overwhelming emotions so, as a couple, they can begin to sort out how the affair happened, and more importantly, what needs to change so that it never happens again. Although no two people, marriages or paths to recovery are identical, it’s helpful to know that surviving infidelity typically happens in stages. If you recently discovered that your spouse has been unfaithful, you will undoubtedly feel a whole range of emotions – shock, rage, hurt, devastation, disillusionment, and intense sadness. You may have difficulty sleeping or eating, or feel completely obsessed with the affair. If you are an emotional person, you may cry a lot. You may want to be alone, or conversely, feel at your worst when you are. While unpleasant, these reactions are perfectly normal. Although you might be telling yourself that your marriage will never improve, it will, but not immediately. Healing from infidelity takes a long time. Just when you think things are looking up, something reminds you of the affair and you go downhill rapidly. It’s easy to feel discouraged unless you both keep in mind that intense ups and downs are the norm. Eventually, the setbacks will be fewer and far between. By Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W.

“…there was only one thing that interested her and that was getting into bed with men whenever she’d the chance. And I warned her straight. ‘You’ll be sorry one day, my girl, and wish you’d got me back’.” – Albert Camus

Although this post is over a year old, I believe that this is an excellent write-up on how pornography has so infiltrated our society that it has become the “norm” in our culture.  Furthermore, the questions Matt asks at the end are an important concept when debating the porn issue, especially with those in the industry.  I would remind all members that read this that they not go searching for this Duke student as that would constitute “acting out” by most recovery plans.  As always, take what you like and leave the rest. 

Originally posted at
by mattfradd

You’ve probably heard the news: A freshman at Duke University is doing porn. Word got out that she was a “porn star” and so she decided to defend her decision by giving an interview to Duke’s student newspaper.

You’re Shocked, Why?

Why, exactly, are people shocked at this? We live in a pornographic culture; one that glorifies fornication, pushes contraception, and justifies (celebrates?) abortion.

And now it’s come to light that one woman at university is doing what many other women are doing at university with one, maybe two, distinctions: 1) There’s a camera rolling; 2) she’s getting paid.

Why is she doing porn?

The answer is actually quite simple. I couldn’t afford $60,000 in tuition, my family has undergone significant financial burden, and I saw a way to graduate from my dream school free of debt, doing something I absolutely love. Because to be clear: My experience in porn has been nothing but supportive, exciting, thrilling and empowering.

How We Should Respond

Many people who oppose pornography cling to the belief that the only reason a woman would do porn is because 1) she experienced some sort of trauma (sexual or otherwise) as a child, 2) she’s desperate for money but really doesn’t want to be doing it, and/or 3) she’s been manipulated into it somehow.

This isn’t always the case and so it isn’t all that helpful to argue in the following way:

1. Most porn stars have been abused.

2. Many porn stars have been coerced or manipulated into doing porn.

3. Therefore porn is wrong.

Someone could rightly retort, “but what about the one’s who, like this girl at Duke, find it fun and empowering?” That’s a good objection; a devastating one to the argument above.

It’s helpful, I think, to distinguish between the motivations and consequences of an certain action, and the action itself.

A thing isn’t necessarily right or wrong because of what motivated a person to do it (perhaps a woman’s past abuse is what motivates her to reach out to and help sex workers!). Nor is a thing necessarily wrong because of it’s consequences (if the oral contraceptive pill one day becomes as healthy and natural as a vitamin supplement, Catholics would still oppose it, even though it no longer had any negative consequences).

Porn is wrong, in part, because it removes sexual intimacy from the partners and displays it to the public in order to arouse lust, an inappropriate/warped desire. It, as I’ve said many times, is reductive. It reduces a person to the lowest common denominator and says, “that’ll do me fine.” A quote often attributed to (soon to be saint) John Paul II (though I’ve never been able to track it down) is “pornography isn’t wrong because it shows too much. It’s wrong because it shows too little of the human person.”

But how should we respond to porn stars who say they enjoy making porn? Not by telling them they’re lying (unless you’re a mind reader you probably don’t have access to that information). Instead we might pose a question: Does a woman’s inability to perceive her own dignity give you or me the right to take from her whatever she’s willing to give? If a woman forgets her intrinsic worth, or, if she refuses to accept it, or mistakenly thinks that porn is an exercise of her freedom, does that give you or me the right to objectify her?

Is this what masculinity amounts to? So long as we don’t rape her we’re technically being good boys?

Abuse and the Performer

I do think it’s true, however, that many women who end up in the sex industry did experience some kind of abuse or neglect (that’s at least been my experience in conversing with those in the industry). Even popular porn performers like J. Jameson admit to this. In her autobiography she concedes that she would lie to interviewers (Howard Stern in this case) about having been abused as a younger girl because she didn’t want anyone to think that she got into the industry as a “victim.” Her story brought me to tears. As she was walking home one day she was offered a ride by some football players. They drove her out into the desert, beat her in the head with a rock and gang-raped her (Hail Mary…). And this she says had absolutely nothing to do with her future career choice. Well, perhaps it didn’t, but I’m doubtful.

The women that I know who used to be in the industry tell me two things: 1) they’d never admit that they were abused, and 2) they all lied about loving sex while they were in the industry. One former performer explains why:

I used to brag endlessly to fans and pornographers about my extreme “Italian” sex drive and how I loved making porn movies. I would go on and on about how I needed more and more to fulfill my insatiable appetite. I lied 100% of the time to 100% of the people. Lying is the native language of porn stars because they can’t afford to tell you the truth. Not only would it ruin the fantasy for their fans but more importantly, it would ruin the amount of their paychecks. Don’t believe porn actresses when they proudly proclaim they enjoy making porn movies. They’re ACTING.

What would you expect them to say? “I really hate this job, the men I perform with make me sick. I resent you for purchasing the porn that allows me to the live the sort of lifestyle I’ve become accustomed to (or, allows me to feed my family and me).”

Let’s pray for Lauren and all those who objectify her. Hail Mary…