Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Gamer or a Husband?

This article touched me deeply, because this was me until March 2012.  Fortunately, I didn't lose my wife or kids over my gaming addiction.  It's a very real danger in today's world!

As hard as real life can be, it's ultimately a far better place to live than any virtual reality.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Marriage Triangle

Now for the second half of what I have been working on. In addition to rebuilding the emotional relationship with my wife, I am also rebuilding the spiritual relationship with the Lord. Of the two relationships, the one with the Lord is the more important of the two. And it also helps the relationship with the wife.

I've found it helpful to think of the marriage relationship as a triangle. The Lord is at the top corner of the triangle, and me and my wife are at the two bottom corners.

As my wife and I draw closer to the Lord, we also naturally draw closer to each other.  This is when things are working the best. Emotional and spiritual needs are both being met from the proper sources. The primary source is the Lord, but our spouse is also able to give and receive much from us.

Alas, much of my relationship has been an obtuse triangle rather than an equilateral one (no wisecracks are needed about who is the obtuse one.  I already know).  An obtuse triangle is ot a very good relationship triangle, is it? But in order to get closer to my wife, I can't just heal my relationship with her:  I also need to heal my relationship with the Lord. In fact, this healing needs to come first. Trust me, I know. I've tried to do it the other way for enough years, that I can testify that it doesn't work. As I draw closer to the Lord, I will also naturally draw closer to my wife.

It reminds me of what President Ezra Taft Benson said: "When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives." Nowhere else is this more true than in our relationship with our spouse. As we have a better relationship with the Lord, so will we have a better relationship with our beloved.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Emotional Healing Comes First

Note: I created the original draft of this post in January 2013, but never got around to actually posting it.  I am posting it unchanged, as the things it says are just as relevant and true today as they were 16 months ago.

When I started this blog, I promised that I would share some of my personal story of healing through the Lord.  And yet, I have noticed that most of my posts have been at a higher level.  In an attempt to follow through on what I promised, I'm going to start sharing some of my personal healing.

I've pondered many ways in which I could rebuild things in my marriage with my wife.  I've tried various things, most of which haven't worked very well, or haven't lasted for very long.

I recently realized that I've been putting too much focus on what I eventually want from my relationship with my wife.  I haven't put enough energy into the relationship itself.  A classic case of putting the cart before the horse.  Because if the relationship itself is strong, then the things that I desire from the relationship will follow naturally.  But the reverse is not true.  And if I focus too much on what I want from the relationship, my wife will pick up on that, and it will actually set healing back.  It makes it feel like my efforts to improve things are coming with strings attached, and nobody wants that.

After fasting, I felt that I needed to focus exclusively on building the emotional relationship with my wife, without any regard for the physical relationship.  And by physical, I don't mean just sexual.  I mean other things, such as hugs, kisses, cuddling, the whole nine yards.  In fact, there is just one spot where I know it is "safe" to touch my wife right now: her hand.

If this sounds like I am starting over in my relationship, you would be right.  In many ways, it is like starting over again.  Is this difficult?  You bet.  But it beats doing the same thing that I've been trying for the past ten years, and receiving the same results that I have been for the past ten years.

And the results don't take ten years to see, either.  Even in just the week or so that I've been focusing (truly focusing) on rebuilding the emotional, I have seen healing.  And I have also been able to share some physical affection beyond touching hands.  But that hasn't been the focus, which has made it all the more sweet.  Because it has flowed naturally, rather than feeling forced.

If you're not happy with where your relationship is, please take it to the Lord.  He will help you to know where to go next.  He may not let you know immediately.  It's taken me many months of personal healing, prayer, and recovery to get to this point.  But rest assured, God loves you, He is keenly interested in you, your spouse, and your marriage, and He will help you to heal as you are patient and wait on His time.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Video Game Addiction

Hello everyone.  To the small handful of people who read this blog, I'm back.  Many things have happened over the past year, which are worthy of discussion.  But I feel inspired in a different direction.  I feel to address one of the largest problems that has plagued not only my marriage, but also my personal life.  I wish to speak on the topic of video game addiction.

I got into computer games at a very young age.  To give you some hint as to how far back that goes, these were the days of the Atari 2600 and arcade games at the convenience store and bowling alley.  I continued playing from there all the way to the MMORPG age.  A full discussion of my computer game history would take several posts on its own.  Suffice it to say that I was involved for a long time.

Why did I play them?  Three main reasons.

  1. They were something that I was very good at.
  2. They were something that I had control over.
  3. They were an escape for me.
While all of these are good in moderation, they are very damaging in excess.  And I was playing in excess.  I was addicted.  What began as a way to cope from painful feelings turned into something destructive.  My wife and children didn't get very much of my time.  I tried giving them up on one or two occasions, with some success, but always ended up coming back.

And then I was able to quit.

Through the Lord's grace and mercy, I gave them up completely on March 30, 2012.  I've been clean ever since.

There have been many changes since then in my life.  Some of them good and some of them difficult.  But I know that I have made the right decision.  As I could not play them in moderation, I needed to stop completely.

I recently learned how close I came to losing my marriage and family over video games.  The people that are most dear to me, nearly lost to me due to imaginary worlds and characters.

As I have moved forward in my recovery, I have felt the Spirit whispering to me that others could benefit from my story.  From my recovery from addiction.  Video game addiction is a very prevalent problem in today's society.

And who better to raise the voice of warning than one who has been caught in its coils?

If you feel the Spirit's whisperings as you read this, I beg you to consider what video games may be doing to your life, your loved ones, and your ability to help in the Lord's work.  Ask yourself honestly if the things that matter most to you are at risk.  Is it really a price that you want to pay?

Yes, it is a difficult addiction to overcome.  But all things can be done in the strength of the Lord.

I will post more on this at a later time.  But for now, I leave you with a scripture.

"O be wise; what can I say more?"  Jacob 6:12

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Acting Like a Married Man

Image credit -

I had an interesting revelation the other day.  I was pondering the way I was living, the things I was doing in my spare time, and some of my thought processes.  I realized that I have been living like a single man.  Strange that it should take me eleven years to figure that out.

I also realized that this way of living is not the most conducive to a happy and fulfilling family life.  Surely this way of thinking is not pleasing to the Lord, and it is certainly not attractive to my wife, nor a good example for my children.

If I am honest with myself, this is not really news to me.  Deep down inside, I knew that I haven't fully been living as I should.  I am not a single man anymore, and it is time I stop acting like it.  It is time for me to live like a married man.

I also had the thought that if I start living as a married man, perhaps I will be treated as a married man.  But even if not, I will still feel better, because I will not have the guilt and shame that I carry as a result of not living as I know I should.  The Lord will approve of my efforts to change and improve, regardless of how or if others respond.

It's time for me to live as a married man.

Monday, February 18, 2013

At the Crossroads

I feel like I am at a crossroads in my life.  It's been awhile since I reached one.  There are three paths available to me.

One path leads to the realization of all of my hopes and dreams, both for myself and for my marriage.

One path leads onward the same way I have been going, which is a lonely place of mostly solitary travel.

One path leads backward to some of the things that I have left behind, which still whisper to me and beckon for me to return to them.

From where I stand, the paths look identical.  It will take some travel on each one before I can see the destination.  And once I am far enough to see the destination, the crossroads will be past my reach.

Deep down in my heart, I know the things that I need to do.  They are simple to understand (although that does not necessarily make them easy).  I pray that I may follow the promptings of the Spirit, so that I may choose the correct path, the one that will lead me to the things which God desires for me.

Image credit:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Correcting in Anger...or Love?

How many of you struggle with a critical inner voice?  You know the kind I mean.  The one that is constantly telling you that you suck, that you don't deserve good things in your life, that your best efforts will never be good enough.

I hear that voice often in my life.  It points out all of my mistakes, and it puts me through the wringer for them.  It saps away my energy, and leaves me an empty husk.  More than anything, it gives me cause to harp on myself for almost every mistake I make, big or small.

Now I am all about improvement and becoming more like our Savior.  That is a big part of this life.  But I have learned (or at least am trying to learn) that correcting myself in anger doesn't work.  It just doesn't!

How many of you have kids?  How well does it go when you correct them in anger?  If it's anything like with my kids, it creates hurt feelings and tears.  It doesn't work any better when I turn it on myself.  I've been ripping myself to shreds for years, and it hasn't worked.

According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result.  Continuing to rip myself to shreds will bring more of the same result.  It's time to try something different.  It's time to try love.

I'm learning that my internal self-perception is flawed.  At some level, my inner critical voice tells me that I am bad, flawed, terrible, etc.  If I can change that perception, that paradigm, I can change my world.  But until I do, no one will be able to get through to me, and I will be unable to receive the love that is there for me.  It's time to try something else.  It's time to view myself as the Lord sees me.

"He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him.  Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation...He saith: Come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price." -2 Nephi 26:24-25

When the Lord speaks about "all men" and "all ye ends of the earth", He is including me.  And He is including you.  Even when we feel otherwise.  We can love Him, because "He first loved us." (1 John 4:19).  This is His promise to you.  And to me.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Lesson from Pain

Last week, I had an opportunity to learn a lesson from pain.  I went in on Wednesday to have earwax removed from my ears.  I have this done every so often, as it builds up fast enough that I eventually become unable to hear (no comments about "ears to hear" from the peanut gallery, please).  I went in, and in the process of removing the wax, I was reminded about my weak eardrums in a most unpleasant way.  I had a small rupture in my left eardrum.

Now it was only a small rupture, but that is neither here nor there when it come to eardrums (perhaps that should be "neither hear nor there", but I digress).  I had a period of strong dizziness and pain, which mostly passed, and I went back to work.  About an hour later, the pain returned.  And this is not your standard scraped finger or bruise, or even slamming into a door.  This was pain that was a 7 or 8 on my 10 point pain scale.

As I sat there at my desk, hardly able to even think, and wanting to curl up into the fetal position, I prayed.  And my prayer was a most unusual one for me.  "Heavenly Father, what would you have me learn from this pain?"  As I said, most unusual.  My normal prayer in this situation would be, "Heavenly Father, please remove this pain, and as quickly as possible!"

The Lord did answer my prayer.  One of the most important things I learned from this experience was compassion.  Compassion for those who suffer.  Compassion for my children when they get leg cramps.  Compassion for my wife in her struggles.  And if I listen very closely to the Spirit, I can even find a little compassion for myself.

I find this compassion to be a very valuable gift, well worth a couple of hours of intense pain.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Forgiveness, Healing, and Trust

So, last month I made a big blunder in my relationship with my wife.  Actually, make that two big blunders.  I'm not talking the "Oops, I stepped on your toes, I'll be more careful next time."  No, these were full-sized anthills that I kicked up.

Although I would rather have the blunders back, the experience taught me a lot about the relationship between forgiveness, healing, and trust.

Did my wife forgive me?  I would say yes, almost immediately.  Does that mean that everything immediately went back to the way things were before my blunders?  Absolutely not.  Does that mean that she didn't forgive me?  Of course not.  Forgiveness was granted, but trust and healing take time.  It doesn't mean that forgiveness isn't there.  It just takes time to rebuild things.

Another way to look at it is to compare it to physical therapy.  Many years ago, I had the pleasure of a type three ankle sprain (swollen on both sides).  It was caused by a very quick collision, which was not on purpose.  But the fact that it was not on purpose did not take the pain away, nor did it immediately heal my ankle.  I went to physical therapy every week for a month to work through the pain and regain mobility.  I was also given exercises to do every night to help with the healing and recovery.

After working through the pain and the exercises and the struggles, my ankle was stronger than it was before it was injured.

I think the same can be true for our marriages.  Sometimes they can become stronger because of the pain and struggles.  Not that we should seek out painful experiences for ourselves (or, heaven forbid, for our spouse).  But these type of experiences will inevitably come as part of the experience of living in mortality.  As long as they are there, should we not use them to build ourselves and our marriages, to make them stronger than they were before?