If you looked closely at pictures in our family photo album, you could probably determine by my eyes whether certain pictures were taken “before the porn,” ”during the porn,” or “after the porn.” Laughter and hope packed their bags and moved out when rejection, fear, and sadness rolled in with their steamer trunks, prepared for a long stay. I seriously wondered if my husband and I would ever find humor in anything again. Would we share knowing glances? Would we laugh at the same snarky lines in movies?
Did you know that you have the ability to change the area of your brain that releases stress hormones, making it easier for you to handle stress? Given your present circumstances, I’m guessing you might be willing to sign up for a workshop in which that secret is shared. You don’t have to. I’ll tell you right now that the way to change your brain and impact those hormones is to laugh! I’m dead serious. Laughing actually produces endorphins which counter the production of stress hormones.
Our kids laugh roughly 400 times a day, while the average adult laughs only 15 times a day. (Personally, I think 15 is a stretch some days!) As we’ve grown up and had to cope with life and its stresses we’ve forgotten about the important business of laughing. Laughter is the indication that life will go on – the darkness will pass. Where do we sign up?
In my experience, laughter is more likely when there is a healthy spiritual, emotional, and sexual connection between me and my husband. Honestly, the first two (spiritual and emotional connection) must precede the third (sexual connection) … but that’s the subject for a future blog post. In my book, When Your Husband is Addicted to Pornography: Healing Your Wounded Heart, I wrote:
“Assuming that you and your husband both desire to work toward restoring every facet of your marriage, you first need to renew your friendship with him. Start acting the way you would like to feel about your husband, even if you don’t yet feel that way. In other words, be kind, considerate, and fun. Do things together that you both enjoy. Watch a movie, go on a hike, tackle yard work, or complete a project. Whatever you do, create a team feeling. The goal here is to remember that you still really like this guy and enjoy being with him. This is how you probably established emotional intimacy before you were married. It can work again” (p. 119).
So here’s the deal … there is NOTHING funny about porn. Period. (If you don’t believe me, I’ll send you some pictures from my “during the porn” era. Look at my eyes.)
If your husband is still struggling with pornography, then laughter is more challenging. May I encourage you to be intentional about finding things to laugh or smile about … at least once a day? Surround yourself with friends who bring you joy, make you laugh (sometimes at yourself), and point you to Jesus. Find other couples with whom you and your husband can enjoy fellowship. I’m serious! Sometimes hanging out with another couple and laughing hysterically over a wild game of cards is just the right balm for a wounded marriage, and more often than not, the laughter follows us home.
When a husband is victorious in his struggle with porn and is able to claim sobriety, then there is reason to celebrate! We can relate to the Israelites who rejoiced …
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
~ Psalm 126:1-3
You WILL smile again. You WILL laugh again. It takes time. Healing is a process, but when it happens, you will throw back your head and laugh, rejoice, and declare from the nearest mountaintop (or parking garage), “The LORD has done great things for us!”
Vicki Tiede is the author of WHEN YOUR HUSBAND IS ADDICTED TO PORNOGRAPHY Healing Your Wounded Heart, New Growth Press, 2012. www.vickitiede.com