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