Clark: 00:23 Today, we're gonna be talking about the number one thing that we found that's helped us through this journey. This one was kind of my idea, I guess, in our Men in Moroni group. Our facilitator, whenever we have somebody new to the group, they'll introduce themselves and then the facilitator usually goes around to everybody in the group and says, "What's helping? What is that you're finding is helping you through this journey?" And since our podcast is new, it's kind of-
Linda: 00:55 Show.
Clark: 00:59 Show. Yeah, it's a show, not a podcast. It's about ... Right.
Linda: 01:03 'Cause it's a video. And it's a podcast.
Clark: 01:05 Anyway, you're new to us. We're new to you. Whatever. But we thought that maybe great way to start would be to talk about the number one thing that's helping, which is hard because there's a lot of things that are helping and so to try and narrow down is tough. But we both took some time earlier today, our kids were playing at the park and we were talking, and we kind of tried to figure out what's the thing that's helped us the most? So, I'm gonna start out the same way I did in the park and ask you what would you say is the thing that's helped you the most? And maybe even this time compare to other times since this isn't our first rodeo. But how is it different? What's helping?
Linda: 01:53 So, something that I thought back during other disclosure days was I'm doing enough, I'm doing all that I can do, you've just got to do what you need to do fix this, you know?
Clark: 02:16 Yeah.
Linda: 02:17 And stop doing what you're supposed to be doing and start doing what you're supposed to or stop doing what you're doing and start doing what you're supposed to do. Right? So that's kind of what I thought. But this time around, I felt everything needed to be different. Everything had to change. And the one scripture that kept coming to me was in Alma, Chapter 49 in the Book of Mormon. And in Verse 8, it talks about how Moroni was the captain and he was training everybody, all the Nephites to protect themselves against the Lamanites that were invading and trying to attack them. And one time, when the Lamanites tried to invade, the Lamanites had found, and this is what it says in the Scriptures, it says, "But behold, to their uttermost astonishment, they were prepared for them in a manner which never had been known among the children of Lehi. Now they were prepared for the Lamanites to battle after the manner of the instructions of Moroni."
Linda: 03:34 So, basically, to me, the Scripture says that they prepared for them in a manner which never had been known, nobody does this. Nobody, like, the things that we need in our life, in our family for our protection is not gonna be what other people need. And for us, we needed to change everything that we were doing. We could keep some of the things that we were doing, but we did have to change a lot of the things that we were doing. Or not doing and add things in that maybe seemed over the top for some people. And maybe seemed, like, too churchy or too much. "That's too much or that's too extreme," some people say. You know, "You don't need to do that, that's too extreme." And something that I've talked about before is that it's not fair that Satan gets to just have free rein and do whatever he wants. But when it comes time for me to do stuff, it's like, I can't because that's too churchy or too preachy or too righteous or too extreme.
Linda: 04:44 And so we need to level the playing field because adversary was and still is attacking our family. And so we needed to change everything. And that was the first time that I realized, "We can't just keep going. It's not gonna work that way." And so, yeah, I'm still reading this Worthy of Her Trust
book by Stephen Arterburn and Jason B. Martinkus, sorry. Really bad at reading names.
Clark: 05:28 Maybe they're just really bad at having an easy name to read.
Linda: 05:34 I know. So something that we talked about was your ability to just tell me the truth. Tell me everything. Even though I found out because I saw something on your phone, even though it was more of a discovery, your willingness to open up and tell me everything, no matter how bad it was gonna hurt me, actually did help with being able to know that you're willing to open up and be honest now. Even though it had not been the case for so long. But you were now willing to tell me everything, and you were willing to be open.
Clark: 06:19 Those were hard conversations.
Linda: 06:23 Yeah. Yeah, I mean, they were really hard-
Clark: 06:25 It was uncomfortable.
Linda: 06:25 ... to hear, too, because as your wife, I don't want to hear that. I don't want to hear that you were looking at stuff or anything inappropriate or anything that made my shame come out. Like, all of my shame came out. All at once it seemed like, and it just never went away. And so that was the number one thing that helped. At least what I can remember is that we needed everything to change, and the number one thing that had to change first was the honesty, complete utter, just flat-out honesty. Doesn't matter what it was or anything. And you knew it was gonna hurt. And it was really hard for you to share and I could tell that when those late nights and things like that, it was really uncomfortable for you to share with me some of those things because I was asking questions all the time.
Linda: 07:32 And some questions when you guys talk to each other and talk to your spouses, you have to think about the questions that you're asking and what you actually want to know as a spouse of an addict. Because some things you might not want to know. And so I did have to arm myself before I could ask you certain questions. At the beginning, I was just spitting it all out, I just wanted to know, but then as time went on, I realized, "You know what? I don't think I can handle all that honesty at once."
Linda: 08:14 So I had to start putting on my own armor even more, so before I would ask questions, when the questions came, I would start writing them down on Stickies 'cause they would just come up throughout the day just from trigger or just random thoughts that you would start thinking of while you're cooking or while I was helping with the kids or while I was taking somebody to school or while I see somebody. Just all those things, I had to start writing these questions down. And I couldn't ask them all at once, I had to make sure that I had enough armor to protect myself against anything that the adversary would try to play against me when you were trying to be completely honest so that it wouldn't affect me in a more negative way than it would, right? Because I still wanted to get down to the truth but ...
Clark: 09:13 Yeah.
Linda: 09:16 Anyway, I'm probably taking too long. But in this book that I was referring to, he talks about how white lies are off the table, period, in any situation. And I thought that it was true for what we were going through. I didn't feel like you were lying to me and so that helped me realize that you were open to that change that we were trying to undertake in our family. And so that really helped.
Clark: 09:52 Even that was kind of hard. It was funny. We talked about this earlier today, but there is a guy in my group who was new, and during his introduction, he was talking about what he was struggling with. And he said, "I am a compulsive liar." And I think anybody who's dealt with addiction ends up becoming a bit of compulsive liar, and I remember talking to him after our group session. And I said, "Did you ever find yourself lying about stuff that really didn't even matter?" I was like, "You weren't trying to cover up anything, you didn't anything wrong. There was nothing to be ashamed of, and yet, you told a lie anyway." And he was like, "Oh, yeah, all the time." And it was just weird. Somehow lying became a habit, and I lied about all kinds of stuff for no reason, really. And so going from telling lots and lots of lies and-
Linda: 10:52 Some necessary, some not even.
Clark: 10:53 Some necessary, some inconsequential. It was hard because ... I still felt like I was being me in a way. I was just hiding away part of me, right? And so it wasn't like I was trying to become a completely different person, I just had to change this one behavior so that we could foster trust. I told myself, "Oh, those other lies, they don't matter because it doesn't matter one way or another. The only lies that really matter, these lies where I'm covering up, but that's the part of me that I don't like anyway, so we have to keep that part secret and ..." It was harder than I thought it was going to be to be honest about everything. You know?
Linda: 11:41 Yeah.
Clark: 11:41 Sometimes I'd catch myself ... not even lying, holding back a truth. And doing it for a reason ... I remember writing a journal entry where I was like, "Today, I learned that being completely honest isn't just the absence of lies." I think there was a day where I had to stop by the office for something on the way to a job. I was going to a job and I left and I stopped by the office. And I was getting something, and while I was here, Linda called me on my phone. I saw my phone ring. As soon as I saw it, I was like, "Oh no. She doesn't know that I had to stop by the office," 'cause I didn't mention it. There's nothing bad, I was just getting some gear, but I picked up the phone and said, "Hey, how's it going?" Tried to just put on a normal, like I'm-happy-to-hear-from-your type of voice.
Linda: 12:40 I remember that
Clark: 12:41 And your first reaction was, "You're not in the car." She could tell just from the sound of the phone-
Linda: 12:49 Yeah.
Clark: 12:50 ... "I thought you were driving to a job." And all of a sudden, I could see, "Oh, there was this oversight on my part where I hadn't said I'm stopping here," and now, she got something unexpected. And we were in already a spot of really shaky trust, right? This was in the early, early days, and-
Linda: 13:08 And this is still the early days, you guys. Still, like, six months-
Clark: 13:11 Sure.
Linda: 13:11 ... but yeah, there's still triggers and things that happened, but yeah, it was really fresh.
Clark: 13:14 But yeah, I could tell that she was totally triggered by the fact that I wasn't where she thought I was going to be at the moment that she called. And I wasn't doing anything wrong. But just the fact that I hadn't mentioned that I was coming into the office was like this oversight. And so I had to learn not only to be truthful in everything that I said but also to be very careful about saying everything. You know? Or at least everything that was needed to create safety. And so that's something you have to be very conscientious of talking through exactly what needs to be known.
Linda: 13:54 Can I read this?
Clark: 13:55 Oh yeah.
Linda: 13:57 So this kind of reminds me of what he's saying right here. He says, "If you lie about being a few minutes late to dinner, you'll probably lie about looking at porn again. If you can't tell the truth about what route you took home from work, then you probably won't tell the truth about contacting your mistress again. If you can't be honest about how much money you spent on a new tool, then it wouldn't be a stretch for you to lie about your whereabouts last Friday night. Further, if you've been busted in your struggle or addiction, you probably lied about it in some form or fashion along the way. You lied about the severity of it or the intensity or the duration or the timeline or maybe the people involved. The extrapolation your wife makes is justified."[Worthy of her Trust
Linda: 14:42 And so wives and spouses, you are justified in thinking all these thoughts when they're not being completely honest anymore because that's number one thing that I felt like I shouldn't feel this way. I shouldn't feel like I need to know every detail. And I shouldn't feel like needing to know where he is at all times and needing to know all these things, but all of a sudden when you're thrown into this situation of this betrayal trauma, you have this desire to need to know these things to kind of help build that trust, and you just don't know what to grab onto. So, for me, I was just trying to hold onto the things he said were things that I could either trust or not trust and so as you're building trust, for me, I felt like when you said something, because you had lied in the past, I was like, "Oh well, he's gonna tell me the truth now because he doesn't want to lie to me." So anything that he said, it was like in stone. You know?
Linda: 16:03 Like, 10 minutes at the store was more like he needed to be, "I'm gonna be gone for, like, 17 minutes." You know? It needed to be that accurate. And it doesn't necessarily need to be that accurate now because there have been other things that have built trust, but at the very beginning, you don't know what to trust. You don't know where, what, you know.
Clark: 16:28 I remember even going to group meetings, they don't keep a great schedule.
Linda: 16:32 Oh yeah.
Clark: 16:32 I didn't know this when I first started going, but we often get started a little late and we'd do a few minutes over depending on what people are sharing.
Linda: 16:39 And I'm a late person, I don't mind people being late. You know?
Clark: 16:41 Yeah.
Linda: 16:42 I totally understand.
Clark: 16:43 But I learned right away that ... And now, I think you kind of know and I don't always, but if we were going long, if you're expecting ... 'Cause I would call you after a group and be like, "Hey, group's over, and on the way home, we'd already start talking about stuff."
Linda: 16:55 And you know me. I'm all, like-
Clark: 16:56 Yeah. And so I would, at 10:00 P.M., I'd be like, "Hey, we're going long. Don't worry. Everything's okay. We're just-
Linda: 17:05 Yeah,
Clark: 17:06 ... sharing some awesome stuff and so we're going over in group." And I think even just recognizing how much that meant to her, 'cause I didn't at first. It took me a little bit to start to understand why that was so important. And why you were justified in those feelings. And so once I realized that my sharing or sometimes even what felt like oversharing created safety for you, it became way easier. I was like, "Oh yeah, I need to make sure that she knows what's going on because that information equates to safety."
Linda: 17:38 And here's kind of what I'm thinking while you're saying this. It's like the firing darts of the adversary will come at you at all times, right? But they're more specifically targeted when you're in betrayal trauma. And so to take this example, at 10:00 P.M., for example, I would start getting crazy fiery darts. Like, "He must not be at his group meeting," because he would have called you by now, or, "What happened? How come he's not calling you?" The fact that he could have gotten in an accident was so far from my mind. His safety was not an issue. But the fact that everything else besides group was currently happening at that time, those were the fiery darts that I was getting. "Oh, is he trying ... Maybe he's not calling me first. Is he calling a mistress? Is he calling ..." You know? Who's he calling?
Linda: 18:43 Even knowing what he disclosed to me after I discovered, still, I don't know the 100% truth. And we'll talk about maybe like a polygraph test. I know that people talk about those, and they also talk about the formal disclosure with like a therapist and stuff. And we'll talk about that in the future, but we didn't have any of that. And so I didn't really know what to believe and so even though he did tell me all the truth, I'm like, "Well, is it really the truth?" You know you got those fiery darts coming at you. Like, "Okay, now he is telling me the truth but really? Is that all the truth or is he still holding back?" And so those are the things that as you were working to build that trust and do those things and tell me those little details, that you would not normally have to tell me really did help build additional trust. So that when he starts telling me other things, I'd be like, "Oh, okay."
Linda: 19:53 Yes, there's been a past, but I could fight back those fiery darts with things that I really know. We talk about being really in tune with the spirit, and this is where you have to have all the armor on, do your Scripture study and prayer and ask Heavenly Father to bless you to know what is true. There's a talk by Elder Bednar, and it's Things as They Really Are
. I think it's a BYU devotional speech. Yeah, go look that up 'cause it's really good. But it talks about discerning those fiery darts. Would Heavenly Father really try and tell you your husband is lying to you, you better go check up on him? Or would he say, "It's okay, he is where he says he is. And if he's not, then I will help you through it," kind of thing. So-
Clark: 20:51 But from the guy's perspective, too, I think that recognizing your wife's need for safety and information, one of the things, I can't even remember when it started, but I think every couple has those little things they say to each other-
Linda: 21:07 Oh yeah.
Clark: 21:07 ... and one of the things I always say to Linda is, "I'm always thinking of you."
Linda: 21:12 It's true. He does.
Clark: 21:14 But whatever you can do to prove that, right?
Linda: 21:18 Yeah.
Clark: 21:18 When you can prove to your wife that her safety is important to you, just the fact that I was texting and calling and checking in, I think, demonstrates, like, "Hey, I am thinking of you. I am always thinking of you, and I'm concerned for you and your safety." And I think putting forth that extra effort, even though from a guy's perspective it might seem like a hassle or it might seem crazy, you know? You might think, "Oh, I've already told her all these things. Why can't she trust me?" Well, you've done things, a lot of things have made it so she can't trust you, and it's gonna take a lot of time. And just because you feel like you've turned over a new leaf doesn't negate the years of lying that have happened and all of the things that you've done in an instant. And so you need to be willing to go overboard and trying to be completely honest and help her feel safe.
Linda: 22:21 Yeah. So there's another part in this book. Can I read it?
Clark: 22:24 Of course.
Linda: 22:25 So this book, I just barely ... One of my friend's sisters, Worriers from Worth recommended this book, and it's awesome. So it's kind of long but bear with me 'cause it's really good. So it says, "The first thing is freedom. Violating trust through a breakdown of sexual integrity implies that you use your freedom to the detriment of your wife. You've broken the marriage contract that requires both of you to use your freedom for the other's benefit. In order to make things right and thus restore your wife to her previous state, you'll need to give up your freedom, including your privacy. And so that kind of goes into the fact that you felt like you needed to share more, which you would think that some of that stuff is private. Like, "Why would I need to share every detail of where I'm at?" But that's definitely something that helps.
Linda: 23:20 "And then at this point, your freedom is not a virtue but a liability because your misuse of freedom violated your wife's heart. I urge you to surrender the freedom to come and go as you please. The freedom to have privacy, the freedom to talk to whomever you please, the freedom to be online at any time, the freedom to live without accountability, and the freedom to be lackadaisical in your relationship with your wife and with God." And so it's crazy because we talk about how much agency we've been given and freedom to do all these things, but when you've done this, it does make sense that relinquishing, I guess, your freedom to your wife gives her additional ability to trust you. You know?
Clark: 24:13 Yeah.
Linda: 24:13 And so it's almost like Satan had you in his chains and you didn't have freedom then, right? So you chose to kind of give that freedom up. But now, you're choosing to give up your freedom for the safety and confidence in your marriage to your wife. And so I feel like it's almost like, instead of giving your freedom to the adversary, you're just giving it to me, which is so much better than giving it to the adversary. But I think in doing so, you gain her trust back.
Clark: 24:59 Yeah. And I never looked at it exactly like that. I think it's well-stated. I think it's a great thing that you read. I don't know that I looked at it as giving my freedom to you but rather trying to submit my will to the Lord's, and at that point, it meant surrendering some of that freedom to you. And it was like, "Hey, right now, I'm incapable of making the right choices, so I'm going to give up some of my freedom and just do what you want me to do right now." And that's I felt like what he was saying was right now, you need to turn, you need to 100% open and honest with your wife and you need to turn over some of those things and be completely transparent and so, I mean, I get what he's saying but, to me, I don't know, I felt like that was ... I don't know. I get a little bit leery with, "Oh, you give up your free agency to somebody."
Linda: 26:12 Sure, because you still have that free agency-
Clark: 26:14 Yeah.
Linda: 26:14 ... to choose.
Clark: 26:15 But it was-
Linda: 26:15 You can choose to give up to the adversary.
Clark: 26:16 It was my choice to do that for your safety. I don't know if that makes sense, but-
Linda: 26:23 Yeah. And I remember when you started doing your journaling 'cause in your Men in Moroni program they talk about you having a journal. And you were starting to write it to me.
Clark: 26:36 Yeah.
Linda: 26:37 And that's like a lot of pressure for a wife to be your accountability partner, and I didn't want that. I can't fix you. There's nothing about me that can fix you. And, so I told you, I was like, "You can't put my name on there." I was like, "Do not say, 'Dear Linda.'" I'm like, "This journal's not for me." And so now, you write it to-
Clark: 27:12 I write it to future me.
Linda: 27:13 ... future you, yeah.
Clark: 27:14 I'm writing counsel to future me or sometimes it's complaints to future me or sometimes it's, I don't know. Yeah, I'm writing to the future me who will hopefully be a better me and a wiser me and a sober me and, I don't know, yeah. I write to that person I want to be. So, we're short on time.
Linda: 27:44 Right? But because I can't change you, I was just gonna say who's the ultimate person who can change you? Who can we give our agency to like you said? It's like you said, you give your will over to the Lord.
Clark: 27:58 Yeah. Yeah, it's true.
Clark: 28:01 Okay, so summing up, see if I paid attention, understood. So, the number thing that helped you was doing things that we had never done before. Our willingness to just come at this from a completely different way and say, "We are willing to be extreme." And among all the things that we did, which I'm sure we'll talk about some of those other things in different episodes because we made a lot of change. But the most important of those changes was complete honesty and transparency with each other. Just being willing to be open, knowing that you could come and ask any question at any time, and I was gonna answer it knowing that I was gonna try and be open with you, even when sometimes maybe it didn't create safety for you. Right? There were days where I was struggling.
Clark: 29:06 And I'd tell you, "Hey, this is a tough day." And somehow that still helped because I was being honest even though it wasn't what you wanted to hear. You didn't want to hear that, "Hey, I have this desire to go numb out because I'm dealing with some tough stuff today." And that's a tough thing to hear. But it was better than me trying to cover that up.
Linda: 29:30 Yeah.
Clark: 29:31 Cool. Well, we went a little bit longer than we thought we would, which is, like we said, these are unrehearsed, kind of our raw thoughts and emotions. I'm sure that we steered off the course a couple times in sharing things, but we'll tackle my number one thing in another episode. And for now, thanks for watching and listening. This is has been a ClarknLinda Show, you can find out more about the ClarknLinda Show on our website.
Linda: 30:00 ClarknLinda.com.
Linda: 30:05 What was the homework?
Clark: 30:09 Oh. Yeah. Maybe depending on where you're at, either talk through what's helping you the most or what you need the most to help you through your recovery and your healing. Get real, get open, get honest since we know that that's something that's crucial that helps every couple, open, honest communication is the key. And so start talking through what's helping or what you need in order to get that help. Thanks. (singing)
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