Help and Support for Spouses


Steps You Can Take Now

Preventing an Addiction

There are many things we can do to safeguard homes and protect others from the harmful effects of pornography. Elder M. Russell Ballard identified seven things that every parent can do to minimize the negative effects media can have on families.

  1. Make Good Media Choices. We need to make good media choices ourselves and set good examples for children.
  2. Use Filters. We need to use Internet filters and TV programming locks to prevent children from “chancing upon” things they should not see.
  3. Spend Enough Quality Time with Children. We need to spend enough quality time with children that we are consistently the main influence in their lives, not the media or any peer group.
  4. Limit the Amount of Time Children Watch Media. We need to limit the amount of time our children watch TV or play video games or use the Internet each day. Virtual reality must not become their reality.
  5. Do Not Have TVs and Computers in a Private Place. We need to have TVs and computers in a much-used common room in the home, not in a bedroom or a private place.
  6. Hold Family Councils. We need to hold family councils and decide what the media standards are going to be.
  7. Take Time to Watch Appropriate Media. We need to take time to watch appropriate media with children and discuss with them how to make choices that will uplift and build rather than degrade and destroy (see "Let Our Voices Be Heard," Ensign, Nov. 2003, 18–19).

Recognizing an Addiction

Accurately discerning whether or not a spouse is struggling with pornography is a difficult, yet important first step in confronting and coping with the suspicions you may have. Here are some common signs that may indicate an existing problem.

  1. Irritability. Is your spouse more irritable and "on the edge"?
  2. Finances. Are there unaccounted-for expenditures?
  3. Unaccounted Time. Does your spouse consistently have a lot of unaccounted-for time?
  4. Disconnectedness. Does your spouse seem emotionally disconnected?
  5. Relationship. Have you noticed a significant or even subtle change in your physical, emotional, or social relationship?
  6. Spirituality. Does your loved one seem less interested in spiritual things?

Overcoming an Addiction

When you are able to manage your own feelings and love your spouse in spite of his or her weaknesses, you can become a great source of help to him or her. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Take a Stand. Be kind but firm in not tolerating or joining in the problem.
  2. Seek Help. Encourage your spouse to talk with the bishop and a counselor if needed.
  3. Communicate. Foster a climate where your spouse can talk openly about the problem, but don't take on the role of policeman; a punitive environment will discourage open communication.
  4. Love. Be encouraging and let your spouse know of your continuing love.
  5. Give Support. Ask how you can help when your spouse is tempted to indulge again.
  6. Encourage Progress. Express confidence in your spouse's ability to make progress.

Supporting Someone with an Addiction

As addicts work to apply the steps of recovery, seeking necessary support from others, they will benefit from the sources listed below.

  1. Ecclesiastical Support. Never forget or underestimate the power of ecclesiastical stewardship.
  2. Professional Counselors. When selecting professional help, it is important to select someone who is supportive of gospel principles and treatment standards consistent with those found in the Addiction Recovery Program.
  3. A Support Person. A support person helps those in recovery put their “lives into perspective and avoid exaggerating or minimizing [their] accountability” (Guide, 29).
  4. Recovery Meetings. In these meetings, newcomers hear participants describe how they apply recovery principles and practices in daily living. Find a Recovery Meeting.
  5. Family Members. Family members can most effectively be a source of support by offering love and acceptance and by applying the same treatment steps to their own lives.