What I Am Worth


what a wife is worth doc

Had I known years ago, when we remodeled our bathrooms, what I know now, I would have invested in magnetic mirrors! My bathroom mirrors are my favorite places to stick encouraging quotes and inspirational messages. During my dark days of trauma, I started to run out of mirror space until my husband politely asked if I could please remove some of my quotable quotes that were encroaching on his mirror space with clear tape and various hues of colored paper.  The job would have been much simpler if I had the ease of posting things with cute magnets onto magnetic mirrors.

Since then, I have reserved space for only my most important messages and now my husband is joining me with his own collection of quotes and thoughts. The latest inspirational message he asked me to save for him was something that was shared in his group:  “What My Wife Is Worth,” by Forest Benedict. Earlier, I had seen this floating around online and I also loved the truth spoken in this piece.  I couldn’t find a printable copy of this message, so I created my own and am including it here for others to download:

What My Wife Is Worth

My husband acknowledges that he felt shame as he read through this list. He wants to do better. He believes the list will be a good reminder for him to keep working every day to win my heart.

My work is to believe that I am truly worth everything on this remarkable list. I need to live and act in a way that others can see that I know my true value. I can do this by maintaining my personal boundaries, practicing self-care, and having faith in my ability to forgive. I need to know that I am enough and that my worth is “innate and can’t be tarnished.” I think I will read this list and replace the words “she deserves” with “I deserve” and change other words, as needed, to make this a message for me. It would look something like this:

  • I am a woman of infinite worth. Because of this, I deserve my husband’s best efforts.
  • I deserve a husband who only has eyes for me. 
  • I deserve a husband in active recovery, not passively going with the flow.

I love the feeling I get when God’s truth pierces my heart. Words are powerful. I am already looking for mirror space so I can tape this up!

Update: I created a printable with the words changed so we can be reminded of our own worth! Here it is:

What I Am Worth


Boundaries and Self Worth

house construction


My support group recently watched a video that featured, along with some weird-looking zombies, the importance of creating boundaries.

The point of this video (see below) is that the way we see ourselves can determine how well we are able to enforce our personal boundaries. If you see yourself as a beautiful mansion that has been maintained well, you will want to put up a secure fence to keep your mansion house safe.

On the other hand, if you’ve abandoned your house and left it in disarray for a while, you might not feel the need for a strong fence or any fence at all to protect your house. I think living with an addict year after year can do a lot of damage to our personal houses that are built in our hearts. I have to admit, there have been times in my life when I felt like my house, (or me), was in a neglected state and in need of repair. When I viewed the abandoned house depicted in the video, I felt sad because I could relate to the feeling of being that kind of house.

Fortunately, I’m a good fixer-upper and I have spent periods of time here and there for house-cleaning, repairing, and sprucing up my house-self. I count this as a gift from God. I didn’t discover my husband’s addiction until decades into our marriage and I often wondered why God hid these secrets from me. I may never know the answers for sure, but I can now see this as a huge blessing because God gave me time to really work at fixing up my house. I didn’t end up with a mansion, but I feel my foundation has always been solid and my framework is sturdy and reliable. You see, I’ve never doubted that I am a daughter of God and that He loves me. My foundation is built on that testimony. The knowledge that I have divine worth, has helped me keep my house in good condition, but it has taken years of work to get to that point.

So, when it was time for me to create personal boundaries, I was blessed with some good building material from my fixer-upper house inside my heart. There was just enough left in my house to build my safety fence. In fact, some of my first attempts at fence-building probably ended up looking more like a brick wall with razor wire on the top instead of a boundary fence! I may have made a few ultimatums, but they worked for me until I figured out a better approach.

Betrayed wives are often counseled to create boundaries right away. I think an important step is missed in such counsel. I think betrayed wives must first learn to love themselves and discover their true value. I believe this comes from relying on God and believing that He values us as His children.  When we believe in our own self worth, we understand the need for protecting ourselves, the houses for our souls, from behaviors that show no respect for our true value.

In the end, loving yourself is not about tooting your own horn or conforming to the world’s view of self-esteem. It’s about being who you are—a unique child of God—and knowing that who you are is a good thing. When you understand your eternal worth and you live in a way consistent with your divine heritage, you will gain a lasting self-esteem that is better than anything the world can offer (Truth, Lies, and Your Self-Worth, By Mindy Raye Friedman, New Era, Jan. 2014).

A strong sense of our eternal worth is the best thing to keep the homes in our souls, our heart houses, beautiful and strong.  I once took a white board marker and wrote on my mirror, “You are a daughter of God.” I left that message on the mirror and daily repeated the words until I felt like I regained my sense of worth. Regardless of our circumstances, our mistakes, or our moments of faltering faith, we are daughters of God and we deserve houses that are safe.


The Comfort of a Little Workbook


I’m not even sure how I found out about the Healing Through Christ Family Support Workbook. Maybe I was desperately searching the Internet to find anything, ANYTHING, that would make me feel better. Maybe it was a resource on a blog. I don’t remember. I’m just so, so glad that I discovered this “Christ-centered approach to the 12-step program.”

I do remember that I downloaded a PDF version of the workbook and then read the first 40 pages over and over again. I had just found out about some of my husband’s online activities and I was devastated. I would read a few paragraphs from the workbook, then cry, then read some more, then feel empowered, then pray, then cry some more. At first, the words just floated around in my brain in a blur. Nothing really fit or made much sense to me. I had a hard time accepting that I needed to read this book “for those who have a loved one in addiction” because my own husband was a sex addict! It was all so surreal!

I kept reading because I really had nothing else to help me at the time. And then, something happened. I actually felt a tiny bit of peace as I read from the HTC book. I tried to imagine a soft comforting voice reading the words to me:

“Keep perspective. . . rest the burden in the hand of the Lord . . . The Lord opens doors of opportunity and provides the strength each of us needs at difficult times in our life” (Elder Richard G. Scott quoted in HTC Workbook, pages 12-13).

Another time of reading, I saw a small faint glimmer of light through my darkness when I read:

“There is hope built within all of us. There is always hope. On the other hand, the thing Satan cannot fight is one who is full of hope – for he is then full of the Spirit of Christ  – and when that hope is perfected or full, Satan has lost completely” (Elder John H. Groberg, quoted in HTC Workbook, page 21).

I already felt battle-weary and scarred, but this quote helped me see myself as a warrior woman. My mighty sword of hope was created and polished through Christ.

With my sword of hope and truth in hand, I asked my husband to leave our home for a few days so I could have some time to heal and think things through. This was the week following his disclosure of adultery. I was so sick at heart. I didn’t know if I ever wanted my husband to return home. Then during one of my many sleepless nights, I read these words from President Thomas S. Monson:

“At times there appears to be no light at the tunnel’s end – no dawn to break the night’s darkness. We feel surrounded by the pain of broken hearts, the disappointment of shattered dreams, and the despair of vanished hopes.  . . . We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. If you find yourself in such a situation, I plead with you to turn to our Heavenly Father in faith. He will lift you and guide you. He will not always take your afflictions from you, but He will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face” (HTC Workbook, page 29).

I needed my Heavenly Father to lead me and guide me through this storm. So, at 3:00 in the morning, with no sleep, and still wondering what to do about my situation, I finally felt some tiny promptings in my heart. I was exhausted physically, but invigorated spiritually. I felt prompted to send my husband a text. I let him know that he had value and worth, that I loved him, and then I invited him to come home when he felt he was ready.

He was ready. He was repentant and his defensive walls started to come down.

I believe my text was God-inspired. It changed the direction and course of my relationship with my husband. Indeed, Heavenly Father “will comfort and lead you with love through whatever storm you face.” A little workbook gave me the words of counsel I needed at the very moment I need them.HTC

I continue to use the HTC workbook. I keep it with my other recovery work materials and my scriptures. If I have difficulty working through a trigger, I usually start working through my HTC workbook before reaching for any other resource. I love reading the scripture verses quoted in HTC and often mark them in my own set of scripture books. Sometimes, I look up quotes in the workbook and find the original sources so I can read the entire talks.

You might be wondering who helped write this book that contains scriptures, research, quotable quotes from church leaders, and personal stories from others. I assure you the writers are extremely credible. From the HTC introduction:

All those who have contributed to the writing and compiling of this workbook, including the licensed therapists and psychologists, know first-hand the chaos, anxiety, fear, guilt and shame that can be present  . . . when a loved one is trapped in addiction. We know what family members are feeling because we have lived it ourselves (page iv).

The Healing Through Christ Institute has other resources, as well. I invite you to visit their website and take a look. I have no vested interest in this non-profit organization. I am simply grateful for all I’ve gained from the work of the dedicated people who put this book together. Bless them for sharing the tools and practices with others that helped them find peace in their own lives – the long-lasting peace that comes when Christ is at the center.



Hope and Healing


I’ve been off my blog for a while and for good reasons. I’m happy to be part of this incredible movement:

Women married to men with porn addictions find help on blog, forum | KSL.com

Here is the story from the link above:

SALT LAKE CITY — Women who are married to men recovering from a pornography addiction can find help at the Hope & Healing blog and forum.

Michelle Linford, administrator of the blog and forum, said she created the Hope & Healing blog and forum in 2012 as a place for women in need to obtain information and connect with other women.

“I had a friend reach out to me who … had walked this path, and I asked her if she would help create a forum,” she said. “So she got some of her friends who’d been through this, and they helped write some of the questions that they had when they first found out about their husband’s addiction, and as I did research, I became like a resource manager in the forum. And it just grew from there.”

About 700 women have signed up for the forum since 2012. Linford said the forum is a place for women to come that is private, anonymous and free of charge. The blog is public and provides information about sex addiction and recovery.

“The blog is there to share information and resources, but the forum is really what Hope and Healing is about,” Linford told KSL.com in an email. “Only women who have personal experience with a loved one in addiction (or someone struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors) are allowed to join. As admin and resource manager, I am here to help keep it all running.

“The forum is a place where women can first know they are not alone and are not crazy for feeling so devastated by the addiction. … Women need healing support as much as addicts need help recovering,” she said.

Linford said she hasn’t been able to post a lot of content on the blog over the last few months, and some of the women in the forum wanted to bring some of their experience out to help other people.

After one of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Face to Face events, where someone asked what they should do if they are dating someone who has had a problem with pornography, some of the women in the forum wanted to be able to bring their experience to the conversation, Linford said.

A handful of women who wanted to carry on the conversation that was started at the Face to Face event started a series on the blog the first of April, she said. So far, there are nine blog posts in the series, which address “education on and recovery from pornography addiction and betrayal trauma,” according to the blog.

One of the women writing the series, who would like to remain anonymous, said she first discovered a problem with lust in her marriage just after her first baby was born.

“We discussed it. He said he was sorry and that he wouldn’t do it again. We got some outside help and then he said that he was cured,” she said. “This was a pattern that we followed over and over again for 28 years.”

When she learned of the problem again a few years ago, she asked him to move out, which was one of the hardest things she has ever done, she said.

“We don’t learn how to ask our husbands to move out in young women’s or in relief society,” the blogger said. “Asking him to leave went against everything I believed in or had been taught about having a strong marriage but being married to an addict is a unique situation and doesn’t follow normal ‘How to Have a Strong Marriage rules.’”

Her husband moved to a nearby city and joined his family for church, Sunday dinner and holidays, she said.

“During this separation, I gave up on the idea that it was my job to save my husband and I started working on saving myself,” she said. “I went to a professional therapist, LifeStar, I started attending a 12-step group, and I wrote up some boundaries to keep myself safe. It was a sacred recovery time for me where I was able to detach from the craziness of my situation.”

Her husband found that he had to choose between having a wife and family or having his lust experiences. He began working on his own recovery by journaling, going to a professional therapist, attending LifeStar and deciding to go to 12-step groups for as long as he lives, the blogger said.

About six months after the couple separated, he moved back home.

“Being in recovery from the effects of addiction has been a miraculous process for us both. I believe that many times people are attracted to addictions because they are seeking intimacy and the addiction feels like intimacy, at least temporarily,” she said. “Now that my husband has given up the lust, there is nothing in the way of him having true intimacy with me. This is lasting and deep and it is what his heart was after all along.”

The blogger said she would advise anyone who has a loved one struggling with addiction to find some close friends or family members to confide in, write up some boundaries to keep themselves safe and find a certified sexual addiction therapist.

Anthony Hughes, Ph.D., owner of Covenant Sex Therapy, would advise women who are married to men who currently struggle or have struggled with a pornography addiction to understand they are not accountable for their partner’s recovery, to address enabling or codependent behavior and to participate in their own trauma recovery if they need, he said.

The blogger said the Hope & Healing blog and forum was one of the first places she felt she could share her secret story and be safe and understood.

“At Hope and Healing we understand each other, we strengthen each other and share the latest and best resources with one another so that we can continue to build each other up,” the blogger said. “There are a group of us there now that have had solid recovery for a while, and so we’ve decided to share what we know by writing blog posts together with the hashtag #hopelds.”