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Consistently, wives of sex addicts share with me how the lies and secrets their husbands keep from them hurt more than the sexual acting out itself.

I asked a few of these wives the question, “Why do the lying and secrets hurt so much more than the acting out?” Here are some of their responses. I wish I could share them all, but I had to narrow it down. Names have been changed to protect anonymity.

After their responses, I talk more about the role of lying in addiction, and how this relates to marriage. At the end, I share about an upcoming conference on sex addition and partner trauma with presentations from some of the best in the field.

6 Wives Share Why Their Husband’s Lies Hurt the Most Beatrice’s Response

“The lying is pretty much the reason I feel I must get divorced. Any attempt to build trust just keeps getting undermined by him hiding and lying about things. Relationship and connection cannot exist if there is no trust.

I could have moved past the poor choices he made–none of them were major deal breakers. If he would’ve come to me (within 24 hours as we agreed) and confessed, it would have hurt still, but also would have fostered connection and trust. Honesty makes me feel like a valued partner, an ally in his fight against his addiction. Lying and secrets make me feel like the enemy, a victim and casualty of his addiction.

Related: 3 Reasons Deception Is More Destructive Than Porn For Your Wife

Sharon’s Response

“Because this is my person. The one person on earth I chose to trust with everything, including my life, for 21 years. To have that trusted person look into your eyes and lie and twist your very reality, knowing that you know…it is impossible to wrap your mind around, hard to comprehend.

It makes you doubt your very intelligence and ability to make wise choices. Especially if you surprised the pants off yourself by actually choosing to forgive, and opening yourself up to more hurt by choosing to stay, hoping desperately for recovery efforts. After accepting that childhood trauma caused the addiction that caused the infidelity, you realize you love them more than you ever knew, and you realize you desperately want to make your marriage work.

In the midst of your passion to save all you’ve worked for together, every new lie and every slanderous untruth he tells people about you magnifies the hurt.”

Valerie’s Response

“For me the secrets and lies directly translate to a lack of safety as the person is not who he says he is. When this relates to ones’ primary attachment figure it’s hugely impacting.

This then leads to a spiral of me questioning my judgements and understanding of the world, potentially everything is unreliable then. It’s nightmarish!”

Sandra’s Response

“This is my perspective nine days after my bloodbath of a disclosure. That descriptor is for the truths I was told, not the process. The process, although excruciating, was absolutely necessary and cathartic.

The acting out is repugnant, but the lies and secrecy gave me evidence that, in comparison to everything else, I didn’t have enough value to be considered. That is what hurts the most.”

Cathie’s Response

“It’s been a little more than a year and a half past discovery. With everything I’ve felt about his manipulated schemes behind my back, it’s the lies and calculated deceit that still haunt me!”

Henrietta’s Response

“The point I realized he was lying to protect himself from pain and to hide the affair, was the same point I realized he had stopped protecting me. I felt thrown into a war zone with hidden bombs and traps put in place by him, my husband. His words after the lies were disclosed, in my mind, were all a lie and coverup.”

Fear of Telling the Truth

As these quotes show, lies will destroy your marriage. I tell addicts this all the time, but they don’t believe it. I liken it to being told to jump off a cliff with the promise that a net is below, but you can’t see the net.

Their wives tell them they just need the truth. Good sex addiction therapists tell them that a therapeutic disclosure is a best practice that will be one of the hardest things they’ve ever done, but is crucial for the individual’s and couple’s healing.

Related: Therapeutic Disclosure–How It Can Help Your Marriage Heal

The truth will set you free, but the fear of telling the truth is debilitating. Will she leave? Will she hate me?

There is no guarantee, and there is no net that says it will all be ok. But our experience overwhelmingly shows that addicts who choose honesty have a much higher chance at marital success. Lies are not, in most cases, meant to hurt the wife and not done out of malicious intent.

The Origin of Pathological Lying for Addicts

Lying is something addicts learned at a very young age for emotional and/or physical survival. My husband, Jeff, who facilitates couples’ intensives with me, had to lie at nine years old to cover up his mom’s drug use and mental illness for fear of being taken from her. When he was taken to live with his dad and step-mom anyway, he learned to lie to cover up sexual and physical abuse from older step-brothers to avoid the abuse getting worse.

Because he grew up with severe neglect and abuse, Jeff had to create a façade to hide his intense insecurity. So to me, he looked like the perfect man and husband.

Hindsight is 20/20 though. I don’t blame myself for missing red flag. What wife in her right mind is looking for those red flags, unless she has been through this before?

Your Only Hope for Healing Yourself and Your Marriage

Addicts, here is your only hope. Love God, who is truth, more than your wife. The Bible is clear on truth.

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” –2 Timothy 2:15

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” –John 24:6

Since God is truth, you must also love truth more than your wife. That means putting your trust in Him, not your wife. You don’t know what her choices will be in the long run, although with the correct guidance and follow through, your chances of saving your marriage is high. We usually don’t see wives leave due to truth, no matter how bad it seems. We see wives leave when the lies don’t stop, assuming the acting out has ceased. Even reporting slips immediately are your best chance at surviving them.

Love God. Love truth. Love them more than your wife, who is not your God. Jump off that cliff of truth with no guarantee, except that you will be living a life of integrity and authenticity. This is the only way to recover from addiction.

“We are only as sick as our secrets.” This age old saying from twelve-step fellowships couldn’t be more true. I dare you to find a wife of a sex addict who will disagree with this concept.

Coming up April 11-13, Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International is hosting the Redeeming Sexuality and Intimacy conference in Houston. My husband, Jeff, and I will be presenting with our polygraph examiner, Stephen Cabler, on the use of polygraphs with disclosure. Other presentation will include therapeutic disclosure, partner trauma, and many other sex addiction related topics.

Check out our website to learn more about all our other amazing speakers and sessions. This conference is welcome to all, and we hope you’ll sign up.

The post If You Love Her, Tell Her the Truth appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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Porn has engulfed our culture like a tsunami. The statistics on pornography use, even among children, are staggering. Even worse, today’s hardcore porn is so extreme that it makes hardcore porn of the past look relatively innocent by comparison.

But chances are, you already know about pornography’s harmful effects. There is hardly an individual, marriage, or family untouched by porn use. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers cited that pornography use was involved in at least 56% of divorce cases–and that was in 2002, when the internet was relatively young.

The good news is, there’s hope. Pornography can be beaten. And Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability is here to help. Here are three major benefits to quitting porn with Covenant Eyes.

Accountability Defeats Shame

Pornography addiction thrives on shame and secrecy. Here’s how it work.

Life circumstances can often be painful. A demotion at work. A betrayal from a friend. Or even just the stress of bills or other obligations. These circumstances leave us with a build up of negative emotions.

We turn to pleasurable things, like pornography, to escape these negative feelings about ourselves or our circumstances. It can be anything that helps us feel better in the moment. But some things alter our mood more powerfully than others–and porn does it in a dramatic way.

The problem is, even though porn makes us feel better in the moment, porn use is inevitably followed by the “crash,” in which we descend into feelings of shame.

Shame is one of the most powerful negative emotions we can experience. And guess what? These painful feelings drive us back to our escape mechanism–porn–furthering the porn’s addictive power. Shame research John Bradshaw states it simply: “Toxic shame has been suggested as the core and fuel of all addiction.”

So how do we break the cycle? Recovery can be a multifaceted process, but one key component is accountability. That is, being vulnerable with a trusted friend about our porn use. It’s important that this friend be non-judgemental and someone you can trust completely.

But why does accountability work? Well, put simply, negative emotions have to be dealt with somehow. Ignoring them usually just means they get worse. Turning to addictive behaviors like porn also makes them get worse. But reaching out to another human being–that can be tremendously healing. Complete honesty and vulnerability in a relationship of trust can neutralize our shame and break the cycle of porn use.

Instead of turning to porn to soothe our shame and negative emotions, we reach out to a trusted friend. That friend accepts us as we are, good, bad, or ugly. And that acceptance begins to heal us and restore us. Accountability is a powerful thing.

Quitting Porn Improves Your Life

As we’ve already hinted at above, porn can have negative emotional consequences, leading to spirals of negative thinking that only make things worse. But porn can also have other negative consequences. Research shows that porn can decrease motivation, lead to divorce, alter brain function, fuel sexual violence, and more. Porn use never makes anyone a better, more mature person. It never improves your life.

But, guess what? The inverse is true. Quitting porn does improve your life. There are countless people who can testify that quitting porn for good leads to increased emotional regulation, better moods, stronger relationships, improved confidence and motivation, and much more.

If you don’t believe it, begin the journey to quitting for good today, and see how much better a life without porn can be.

Covenant Eyes Is Powerful and Easy to Use

I’ve already shared how powerful accountability can be in breaking the porn-shame cycle. But you still might be intimidated by actually signing up for Covenant Eyes.

Don’t worry. Getting started with Covenant Eyes is easy. Signing up will take less than ten minutes. Once you’ve signed up, simply download our software onto your devices and login (we support all major platforms). You’ll start being monitored right away, and your chosen accountability ally will begin receiving reports of your online activity.

We have plans to fit your lifestyle, too, and all of our plans cover unlimited devices, so you’ll never have to worry about not having a device monitored.

Oh, and rather than sending your accountability ally a huge list of mysterious URLs to interpret, we use Screen Accountability to send blurred screenshots of your activity. Everything is blurred multiple times and sent over a government-grade encrypted connection, so your data is safe and secure.

If you’re still unsure, give us a call at 989.720.8000 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

Start Your Journey Toward a Porn-Free Life Today

Quitting porn is worth it, and Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability can be a powerful tool in leaving porn behind for good. We’re so confident that our software will help you live porn free that we offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you aren’t completely satisfied.

What are you waiting for? Begin your journey to freedom today.

Get Started With Covenant Eyes

The post 3 Benefits of Using Covenant Eyes to Quit Porn appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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Your internet filter won’t protect your kids from porn.

If you’ve set up a filter, you obviously care about keeping the bad stuff from getting to your kids, or keeping your kids from getting to the bad stuff. But our good intentions still leave a gaping hole for junk to come pouring through without us even knowing it.

6 Easy Ways Your Child Can Bypass Your Internet Filter

If your kids (or their friends) don’t already know about the following ways to get past a filter, they are just a Google search away.

1. Someone Else’s Device

Want to know the easiest way to get around an internet filter? Use a device that doesn’t have a filter or has laxer filter settings.

  • Do they ride a school bus?
  • Do their friends have mobile devices?
  • What about their friends’ older siblings or parents?
  • Do your personal devices have the same settings as your child’s device?

Anytime your child uses a device that doesn’t have a filter (and often even when the devices do), they’re at risk for running into harmful content. They may stumble upon the content accidentally or intentionally seek it out. No matter how well you protect your devices, at some point your child will have access to a device that doesn’t have filters or protection in place.

2. Apps and Hidden Browsers

It’s important to pay attention to trending apps and hashtags, and limit the apps our kids are exposed to. This takes a lot of time and effort to stay on top of (which is why sites like Protect Young Eyes that do all of this research for you are essential bookmarks for parents with device-using kids).

Porn and sexualized images are easily accessible through apps like Snapchat and Instagram, but did you know that you can access porn even through some of the “safe” apps, like the Weather Channel and Bible app?

Many apps have in-app browsers that allow access to unfiltered internet search results. We may have done the work of blocking the obvious bad apps, but even the safe apps can be a challenge for filters.

3. Public Wi-Fi

You may have a filtered router, but unfiltered wi-fi is everywhere–coffee shops, restaurants, and the public library. You get the idea.

4. VPNs

A virtual private network (VPN) creates encrypted peer-to-peer connections. It protects all the information shared over the VPN, which circumvents most any filtering on the device. VPN’s are available for laptops or downloadable as apps for iPhone or Android devices.

5. Free Proxy Websites

A proxy website is basically a middle-man site that processes internet requests for you. Kids can access proxy websites through the browser and use a separate proxy to direct the data around the web filter, providing easy access to content we don’t want them seeing.

6. A Different Browser

If you set up your browsers with restrictions on adult content, your kids may still be able to download a new browser without those filter settings.

Why a Filter Alone Is Not a Good Safe-Internet Solution

Internet filters and porn blockers play a part in protecting our kids from porn, mainly limiting or delaying their exposure to it. Unfortunately, they’re not enough to raise porn-free kids.

Filters will always have a way around them.

The circumvention methods above aren’t the only ones. Anyone actively seeking a way to bypass a filter can easily find it. Even kids who aren’t intentionally bypassing filters can stumble upon ways around them.

Filter users are more likely to seek out porn.

Stats from the Barna study The Porn Phenomenon show that filters don’t work for those who want to live porn-free lives. The study found that 54% of the general population say they “never” seek out porn, while 0% of filter users say they “never” seek out porn. This stat is alarming if we’re only using a filter to raise porn-free kids.

Some kids and adults discover that filters actually challenge them to find a way to seek out porn. It becomes a fence they try to jump over or an off-limits, hot stove they can’t resist touching.

Filters don’t teach our kids how to use the internet or their devices.

At some point, our kids will leave the protection of our home and live in a world without filters. We want to equip our kids for this moment. We want them to have had practice saying no to things that want to destroy them or distract them from their purpose. We want them to know how to make wise media choices. Filters and controls foster a “set-it-and-forget-it” mentality if used alone, which doesn’t encourage us to be actively involved with how our kids use their devices.

Filters don’t notify us when someone is struggling and seeks out porn.

This is probably the worst thing about them. Filters leave us blind to our children’s struggles. If they find a loophole in the filter, the filter might actually make them feel safer seeking out porn.

The thinking goes: “My parents think I can’t access porn because they installed a filter. It’s not even on their radar anymore. This means I can watch all the porn I want using this loophole and they’ll never know.”

This is the exact opposite outcome of what we hoped to accomplish, and we have no idea that it’s happening!

The Best Internet Safety Solution for Your Kids

Should we keep our kids off devices until they are 18? Never allow them to use any form of social media or text their friends? Move to one of the few remote villages left with no internet? Surely these aren’t the only solutions for raising porn-free kids.

The best solution pairs age-appropriate filters + monitoring + healthy accountability conversations, and Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability combines all three of these.

It’s an amazing tool for preparing our kids to use technology in a world without filters. It’s also perfect for parents who want to model this accountability and responsibility to their family.

Screen Accountability periodically captures screenshots on their devices. It sees exactly what our kids see. Using artificial intelligence, it analyzes those screenshots for any explicit material. It then shrinks those images and blurs them.

We then send you an image report with a selection of those blurred screenshots, including any explicit screenshots your child may have seen. (Don’t worry, the images in the report are blurred enough to not be tempting or reveal private information, but still let you know what the image was). This image report allows you to have healthy conversations with your child about how they use devices and any areas they might be struggling.

It also comes with an optional porn blocker to prevent them from getting to known porn domains.

How Screen Accountability Works - Vimeo

Covenant Eyes gives our kids some responsibility and allows them the freedom to make some mistakes while they’re still in the safety of our home and we still have the opportunity to guide them.

There will always be a way around the filter, even if they don’t find it until they leave the house. Prepare them for that world without filters, and make healthy accountability conversations powered by Covenant Eyes a priority.

Sign Up for Covenant Eyes today

The post 6 Easy Ways Your Child Can Bypass Your Internet Filter appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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Whether our own life was devastated by porn or a loved one’s, there comes a time in our healing journey when we start wanting to fight back. The question quickly becomes, “How?”

How do I, the individual hurt by pornography, take on this supernaturally large steamroller powered by the porn industry, sex trafficking industry, and even mainstream media? How do I stop this steamroller from flattening other lives and families?

Remember the First Step Is to Heal

As I explain in my book Beyond Betrayal, the first step we need to take before we begin a larger battle is to complete our personal one. In the book I explain to Christian wives of porn and sex addicts:

“No one expects people who have been run over by a truck to get up and start trying to dismantle the vehicle that struck them… We need to be patient with ourselves and seek out the healing we need. We should ask God for the wisdom to know what things we used to do that we could let go of right now. We can also ask Him for the strength to serve in those areas we are still called to. Healing is our number one priority.”

That is equally true for those who have had to battle a porn addiction or regular pornography use. While everyone’s recovery/healing journey is unique, we can expect that this journey is going to take years, not months.

Small Ways We Can Engage the Larger Battle While Healing

Now this doesn’t mean we are powerless to engage the larger worldwide battle prior to having obtained significant sobriety and healing. It does mean, however, that we may need to start small if we are still in the early days.

In my many talks with wives of porn and sex addicts over the course of my eight years as a writer, researcher, and counselor in this field, I’ve heard many great ideas for “baby steps.” These include:

Take It Further By Sharing Your Story

A slightly bigger and riskier step is to begin to share some of our story with safe people. By safe people I mean those who have the compassion not to condemn, the wisdom to perceive the problem, and the emotional capacity to be able to hold our pain with us. Some will only be able to find this kind of safety with a counsellor who specializes in porn/sex addiction or betrayal trauma, or a support group for sex addicts or partners of sex addicts. Most of us, though, have friends, family and others who we can safely talk to, at least to some degree.

Often as we begin to share, others share back. It’s hard to be the first person in a group to admit to a problem, especially one of a sexual nature, but statistics tell us we are not alone. Once we are known as someone who “gets it” people will begin to approach us to share their own story and ask questions about the healing journey. We don’t have to be a world-leading expert to help others in our church or community group–we just need to be a step or two ahead of them on the path.

Also, for those of us who are parents or grandparents, we can fight back against the porn juggernaut by having ongoing conversations with the young people in our lives about healthy sexuality and the challenge of growing up in today’s pornified world. In these conversations we may choose to share some of our story. If we’re uncertain how much to share, a therapist, coach or church leader trained in sex addiction or partner of sex addict trauma can probably give us guidance on this.

Get Trained Up to Help Others

Those of us who have benefitted from counseling, coaching or a support group are often keen, in time, to “give back” in the same way we have received. However, before we start organizing a local support group for those trying to kick porn or their traumatized spouses/partners, it is advisable to get some training on leading groups, through an organization such as A Door of Hope.

Similarly, if we wish to offer counseling support (whether therapeutic or pastoral), we would be well-advised to get some training on how to do this. Having our own journey gives us a degree of education, but no two journeys are the same. Thus, it can be incredibly valuable to seek out sex addiction/betrayal trauma training, and perhaps even certification.

Education can be sought out formally—through an organization such as C-SASI that specializes in training therapists, coaches, and church leaders—or informally. A great opportunity for informal education is coming up in April at the Redeeming Sexuality and Intimacy conference, where a number of the experts who regularly contribute to the Covenant Eyes’ blog will be speaking and teaching.

Play to Our Strengths… and Weaknesses

As we consider the various ways we might work to stop the porn steamroller from flattening lives, let’s remember that each of us has unique strengths we can lend to the cause. That said, being willing to recognize our former (or current) weakness—as someone whose life has been devastated by porn—could ultimately be the greatest strength we bring to this fight.

Lisa Taylor is a New Zealand-based clinical counselor specializing in partner-of-sex-addict trauma and sex addiction. She works with Naked Truth Project, in the UK and is a board member of Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International. Lisa’s books on the topic of sex addiction and betrayal trauma include, the award winning Beyond Betrayal: How God is Healing Women (and Couples) from Infidelity, Beyond Betrayal Couple’s Guide and There’s WHAT on my Phone? (youth fiction). Connect with her at Beyond Betrayal. 

The post When It’s Time to Start Fighting Back appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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It’s a line often heard in well-intentioned lessons on sexual purity:

God created sex. It’s His. Pornography and premarital sex are just distortions of what God made that is good: sex within marriage. Those sexual desires you feel are good, you just need to channel them into marriage. (Or as often said, “toward your wife.”)

All of the above is true and I have taught most of it myself in bits and pieces. But there are some major shortfalls to this type of teaching and mindset.

Channeling Your Sexual Desires Toward Marriage?

First and foremost, if you’re single, this advice doesn’t help you at all. Except to be told, “Go get married!” Which, for obvious reasons, can’t exactly be done this afternoon.

The second and more subtle shortfall in this well-intentioned, and mostly true, teaching is it points to sex as the answer to our desire for sex. But what I really mean by that is it points to a human being as the answer to our desire to be desired.

This might be the most revolutionary thing you’ve ever heard about sex, so prepare yourself.

Let me take you to John 4 and the famous passage of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. This woman has had five husbands, and the man she is currently sleeping with is not her husband. She’s thirsty. But what is she thirsty for? Is she thirsty for sex? Is she thirsty for body parts?

No. If she were thirsty for these things, she’d be more than satisfied by this point.

The solution to her deepest desires was not sex, body parts, or marriage. Yet, in the vast majority of Christian sexual purity talks that I hear, the solutions that are offered are sex, body parts, and marriage. Specifically: getting your body-part-fix within the confines of marriage.

Symptoms of a Deeper Illness

Jesus saw through all of this. He saw what many pastors and Christian sexual purity leaders fail to see. He saw that this woman’s desire for sex and for marriage were symptoms of a deeper illness. John 4:13 says,

 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

If Jesus had been a leading sexual purity author of his day, he likely would have had the woman repent of her infidelity, then poof, he would have given her a ruggedly handsome, God-loving, husband whom she could live happily ever after with. Isn’t that what most woman are hoping for when they pray that God would help them in their sexual temptations? With men hoping for the same thing in a beautiful, God-loving wife? These prayers are virtually identical for married and single folks. Singles praying for the perfect spouse, while married folks praying that their spouse would become perfect.

These prayers will never be answered.

Because a perfect spouse doesn’t exist.

A spouse that will satisfy your deepest desire to be desired doesn’t exist.

Jesus could have provided this band-aid-on-cancer for the Samaritan woman in John 4, but he didn’t. He didn’t give her a husband.  He didn’t give her our go-to solution for sexual sin.

He gave her himself.

He gave her the unlimited treasure of the gospel.

He gave her love, acceptance, value, approval, comfort, and desire, all from him and all for her.

Satisfying Our Deepest Desire for Intimacy

For all we know, the Samaritan woman may have never married again. This woman whose whole life revolved around desiring sex and desiring the perfect man may have finished her days single and celibate, yet having her life’s prayer answered and satisfied in the deepest and most meaningful way possible. How can this be so?

It can be so because sex and marriage are metaphors of the deeper and truer reality of the intimacy God desires to have with us. We’ll never find that intimacy fully in a human being and in fact, marriage folks will continue to long for this intimacy if they don’t have the depths of their life’s foundation grounded in who Jesus says they are.

I’m not saying marriage is bad.

I’m not saying sex is bad.

If you’re married, use your entire marriage to try to symbolize the intimacy God has with his Church, just as Ephesians 5 instructs us to do. But don’t get a symbol confused with the real thing.

Sex and marriage are both good and created by God, just as the hypothetical teaching given to us at the beginning of this article. But both are very poor substitutes for God.

What I’m saying is that beneath your desire for sex is a deeper desire. And just like the woman at the well, Jesus’ top priority is to satisfy that deepest desire and he knows he’s the only one who can.

The post Marriage Is Not the Answer to Your Desire for Sex appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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Confession: I can be a procrastinator. Over a year ago, my husband asked me to find a home for a huge pile of extra pillows stacked at the foot of our basement stairs. Guess where they are today? Yep, still there.

It’s probably a 30 minute task, but frankly, I haven’t felt any pain or pressure from leaving them there.

We talk to many people who think setting up accountability is like moving my pile of pillows. Nice to do, but not necessary or worth the 30 minutes of time.

But some things are just too important to put off. Setting up Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability is one of those things.

Using Accountability Can Change Your Life

There is too much at stake to use the internet and mobile devices without accountability. If porn doesn’t feel like an immediate threat that you need to address, you may want to think again.

With just a wrong click here or a typo there, your child can be exposed to content her little eyes should never see. Or you could be caught up in the havoc porn brings and ruin the relationships most precious to you.

Maybe you already know porn is a problem in your life. But for whatever reason, you’ve put off trying accountability. You may think white-knuckling it or a filter will cut it.

Filters and porn blockers play a part in living a porn-free life, but they’re not enough. There always seems to be a way around them. They are silent and don’t notify anyone when someone is struggling and seeks out porn. You may think your devices are locked-down with a filter, but someone can find a loophole and access porn without anyone knowing.

Screen Accountability, however, sees what you see on your screen. It monitors what is being viewed on the screen and sends a report with blurred screenshots to a trusted ally who’s helping to look out for you. It creates opportunities to have honest conversations about how devices are used that break down shame and foster healing.

These healing conversations are why Covenant Eyes was started in 2002. Since our beginning, we’ve generated over 100 million accountability reports, helping over one million people in their journey toward porn-free lives.

“I was addicted to porn and masturbation for around 10 years. I tried everything to be healed, but only one thing worked: ACCOUNTABILITY. I had heard about it, but I never dared to do it. I was too afraid. I loved that people had a good image of me…but it was the only way out.

How can I say this? Because I have been healed for more than 3 years now. Covenant Eyes is key because when you feel really tempted, it helps you stand firm. Don’t wait to speak to someone, speak now. It’s the only way.

–Yann, Covenant Eyes Member

Put Your Mind at Ease, Setting Up Is a Breeze

Getting started with Covenant Eyes Screen Accountability might seem like a daunting task, but we’ve done a lot of work to make it easy and provide you all the support you need along the way.

The process is simple:

  1. Sign up for Covenant Eyes
  2. Gather each device you’d like it on and download our software
  3. Choose who you’d like the reports sent to (perhaps a spouse or a trusted friend, or yourself if setting up a child’s account)
  4. Start browsing confidently knowing we’ll send a report noting any red flags to your Accountability Partner

We all have different levels of comfort with technology. If you run into any issues, or are someone who needs a little extra help with phones or computers, we’ve got you covered.

Compassionate customer service team.

If you want to talk to a real live human being during the set up process, our customer service team would love to help you. They’re eager to answer your questions and get you up and running with Screen Accountability. Our team answers 90% of incoming calls in under one minute. We’re here for you when you need it most.

“I’m so thankful for your software. You have the BEST customer service team. Everyone is always so nice and helpful. Please don’t ever stop doing what you’re doing!” –Covenant Eyes Member

Easy-to-understand support articles and community forum.

If you’re not a pick-up-the-phone person, we have support for you too. Our Getting Started support articles walk you through any questions you might have during the set up process with detailed written instructions and video tutorials.

Once you’ve started using the service, our large bank of support articles and our Community Forum can help you get the most out of our service.

Money-Back Guarantee

We know accountability will improve your life. If you don’t love it in 30 days, we’ll give you a full refund.

I’ve been porn free for 8 months. Covenant Eyes on my phone has helped me keep accountable with my online activity.” – Covenant Eyes Member

What are you waiting for? There’s too much at stake to wait another day to use Accountability.

Sign Up for Accountability Today

The post Setting Up Your Covenant Eyes Account (30 Minutes That Can Change Your Life) appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of one of our Covenant Eyes family members. Patrick Smith died in an auto accident Thursday, March 7, near Owosso, Michigan. He is survived by his wife and five children.

Patrick Smith led Covenant Eyes’ largest department, customer service, comprised of 80 employees. He began working as a customer service representative at Covenant Eyes in March of 2012, then became product development manager in 2014, and joined the executive team as vice president of customer service in 2015.

Patrick Smith embodied the essence of Covenant Eyes. When crafting the message of a Covenant Eyes’ video titled “Be Accountable. Be Great,” Patrick was an easy choice to be featured in the video. The video says, “A man of integrity doesn’t just do what he wants. He does what he should.” Those words echo in the hearts and minds of all who knew him and worked with him.  He was loved and honored as an exemplary member of our team, at the forefront of our mission to help those who struggle overcome pornography, or never start.

Gentle, yet courageous. Honest, yet loving. Leader, and servant. Patrick Smith leaves behind a legacy for all of us to emulate. We grieve with the Smith family and offer our love, prayers, and sincerest condolences.

The post Covenant Eyes’ Patrick Smith Remembered appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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The day I stood at the altar, I wish someone would have told Craig and me that there are three tools every marriage needs to survive—grace, truth, and love.

I wish someone would have also told us that these three tools must be used all at the same time—in conjunction—or else they would hurt instead of help. They would demolish instead of build up. They would create new wounds instead of healing old ones.

But nobody told us. Added to our lack of relational knowledge, the tool Satan selected to attempt to destroy us was encapsulated with shame. When destruction hit, we were too embarrassed, too afraid to let anyone else know that the wrecking ball was named pornography.

Over eighteen years ago there weren’t books and blogs and websites dedicated to freedom from this. There weren’t any support groups at our church. Our priest wasn’t speaking about it from the pulpit. There were barely any whispers between girlfriends, no “me too” confessions or empathetic eyes. We now know that community does wonderful things for people facing addictions and for the loved ones that so desperately want them to find freedom.

At that time in our marriage, community was lacking, but Jesus was not. And somehow, despite our broken souls, He began to show us how to rearrange our shattered pieces, not back into the idyllic scene we had that day on the altar, but one that held more beauty than we ever thought possible.

The Three Tools Every Marriage Needs

No one told us about the three tools that day, but Jesus is a master at using them. Perfect, really. With our eyes on Him, we did our best to listen to His voice and try to wield them in the ways He did.

Choosing to use grace, truth, and love all at the same time is not easy. It doesn’t come naturally to our fleshy, human selves.

When we’re hurt, our first instinct is to get away from the person or thing that is causing our pain. We want to nurse our wounds and tell someone about it. This is instinctual.

It’s why little boys and girls run to their mamas when they fall down and scrap their knees or their best friends steal their toy. They desperately want someone to step in to make things right and to help them feel better.

But when we’re adults, we don’t always think about turning to Jesus or to our healthy relationships. When we’re embarrassed to admit our struggles, we try to nurse our own wounds. We try to protect ourselves from future damage. But when we try to take charge of our recovery, we end up building walls of self-protection, fitting rocks of anger, bitterness, and pride next to each other to try to insulate ourselves from the next blows.

Related: Boundaries for Couples Facing Porn Addiction

The wall I built was deep and wide and lonely. It failed to keep me safe. For many years, I chose this defensive mechanism despite God’s continued offer to step out and embrace the tools that would actually help. I could not continue to hold onto my wall and hold onto these tools. Isn’t that the truth with most choices we must make between the world and God?

As with any type of tool, one has to know the purpose of it—what it’s designed to do—and how to use it. We often don’t get it right on the first try, since extending grace, speaking truth, and loving well are all areas in which we continually grow. Unfortunately, this side of Heaven, we never arrive at full mastery. But when we get it right, I think God just rejoices. He knows the relationship is winning, healing, and moving forward. He knows we’re trusting Him more than we’re trusting ourselves.

How I Responded When Gifted the Truth

The first time I used all three tools at once, I felt gangly and inept. It was as though I was handling a sword that weighed as much as me. As with most extraordinary events, it began on an ordinary day. The kids were already in school. Craig was fixing his lunch for work. I was plugging along, working on my computer. I stopped to ask him a question about something, calling to him from the dining room into the kitchen. I can’t remember what I asked, but I do remember it led to this follow-up question: “When was the last time you looked at porn?” There was no anger or accusation in my voice. I was used to asking this question. What I was not used to was the answer that followed.

For the first time in the history of our marriage, Craig actually answered me honestly: “Last month, when I was traveling,” he said. “I’m sorry I’ve hurt you again.”

The flood of emotions came. The anger, the hurt, and the disbelief all crashed down as they normally did. But God was quick to show me something beyond Craig’s revelation of porn use. “Jen. Jen!” He said. “He’s telling you the truth. You didn’t catch him in the act. He’s willingly confessing. This is a gift.”

It’s hard to see how your husband confessing to betrayal is actually a gift. I know this. That wasn’t the gift, though. The gift was the truth. At this moment, knowing that Craig had been actively seeking help from community and Jesus, I could come up from the drowning waters of disappointment to see the victory at hand. Craig had overcome enough of the shame surrounding his addiction to bring it into the light. He trusted me with his failure and let me in on his moment of weakness.

Related: How to Tell If Your Husband Is Really in Recovery

It was my decision as to whether or not to take this gift of truth. But God showed me that whatever I decided, it would have lasting ramifications. And deciding to respond with my tools—grace, truth, and love–would require a good dose of reliance on God. It’s never easy to override anger and bitterness.

Here’s the breakdown of how I used each one in conjunction with the other:

Speaking Truth

My pain was evident. I didn’t try to hide it as I let the tears spilled out of my eyes. “That is really hard to hear. I wasn’t expecting that answer,” I said.

It’s okay for people to know they’ve hurt you so they know how to correct and change their behavior. Jesus did this in the Garden of Gethsemane when He found His disciples sleeping instead of keeping watch. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Luke 22:40). Jesus communicated what He wanted and needed from His closest relationships and when they failed Him, He told them the truth about their behavior.

In Love

Jesus communicated His hurt and anger, but He didn’t shame them. He didn’t call them worthless thugs who couldn’t do anything right. He didn’t tell them they needed more willpower or ask if they were ever going to get it right. When the Holy Spirit convicts us, He points out where we’ve gone astray (our sin) and welcomes us home again when we return. Love doesn’t condemn (Romans 8:1) and doesn’t keep a record of wrong.

For me to speak in love to Craig sounded like, “This is really hard to hear, but I also recognize that this is a gift. I hate pornography and your choice to engage in it, but I love you and know that God is continuing to work in you and through you.”

With Grace

I thanked him for telling me, for trusting me to be a part of his healing process. I recognized all the times I had sinned against him with my controlling nature and sharp tongue. It’s helpful for me to remember that sin is sin—separation from God—and we are all guilty. (It’s also important to remember that different sins most definitely have different consequences, and showing grace does not mean we do away with our boundaries.) We are all in need of forgiveness, from God and from others. To deny Craig forgiveness was to deny my own need for grace, too. Jesus extends grace to the disciples, too, back in the garden. When the time had come to face His accusers, He told them to rise and go with Him. Despite their failure and shortcomings, He still wanted to engage in relationship.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). One of the best ways we can sharpen each other in a marriage relationship, so that we both end up looking more like Jesus, is to use the same sculpting tools Jesus did with His disciples: grace, truth, and love in every moment.

The post 3 Tools Every Marriage Needs to Fight Porn Addiction appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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Long gone are the days of dial up internet. Of home phones and chunky computers the whole family shares. Of AOL Instant Messenger. Of Xanga and MySpace. You get the picture.

The internet has changed, and how we use it has changed too. We use apps instead of browsers. We take our phones with us everywhere and can use them for just about anything.

These advancements have brought many benefits, but also some unfortunate dangers. They’ve made porn more accessible and made it easier to hide our online activity. For those who struggle with porn, or those who want to protect their families from it, these are two very big problems.

Screen Accountability is Covenant Eyes’ solution for those who want to live a porn-free life amidst the changing landscape of the internet and mobile devices. Here are a few reasons you should start using it today.

1. You want a simple, uncomplicated way to stay accountable on your devices.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Screen Accountability fosters conversations by showing, not telling, your accountability partner (an ally in your fight for a porn-free life) any questionable activity across your devices. It uses artificial intelligence to analyze screenshots for explicit imagery. It blurs these screenshots and sends a Report of these blurred images to your ally.

How Screen Accountability Works - Vimeo

Old methods of accountability relied on text-based URLs, making it hard to determine what someone actually saw. A questionable URL in the Report may have been clicked and viewed, or it could have just been a pop-up ad or secondary link on a page that was not actually visited. This can make for some confusing conversations.

Screenshots remove this doubt and show your ally blurred screenshots of exactly what you saw. It’s as simple and uncomplicated as that. With one glance at this image Report, your ally knows what type of conversation needs to happen.

2. You want accountability to go with you everywhere on your devices.

We take our mobile devices with us everywhere, and can find an app for almost anything. For those who want to live porn-free lives, this can be a major source of temptation.

Activity within apps has traditionally been invisible to “old” methods of accountability that used URL monitoring. At best, URL monitoring can see domain level activity in these apps (i.e., someone used the Snapchat app), but they’re incapable of actually seeing what was viewed while using the app. Also, many apps have browsers built in, making it easy to access unfiltered search results.

Screen Accountability doesn’t need to read URLs to determine how a device is being used. It sees the whole screen, even when we’re using apps and the browsers within them. It makes it easy to use apps and stay accountable.*

*Please note: iOS creates limitations for monitoring the screen outside of the Covenant Eyes browser app. Please visit our complete feature grid to see how Covenant Eyes works on each type of device.

3. You want a solution for quitting porn that will create lasting change.

Our CEO and co-founder Ron DeHaas says, “Accountability sucks the life out of temptations.” And he’s right. Human beings don’t naturally seek out activities that increase shame. Accountability reminds us that someone else is involved in my digital choices and that knowledge compels me to make better choices.

But don’t take our word. Read this statement from a Covenant Eyes member:

“I was addicted to porn and masturbation for around 10 years. I tried everything to be healed, but only one thing worked: ACCOUNTABILITY. I had heard about it, but I never dared to do it. I was too afraid. I loved that people had a good image of me…but it was the only way out.

How can I say this? Because I have been healed for more than 3 years now. Covenant Eyes is key because when you feel really tempted, it helps you stand firm. Don’t wait to speak to someone, speak now. It’s the only way.”

–Yann, Covenant Eyes Member

Screen Accountability is the most advanced accountability tool available. And when you pair up our unique technology with a trusted ally, you create a powerful system that helps men, women, and families be restored and transformed.

4. There’s no risk (and you could win three years of Covenant Eyes for free!)

Each day from March 5 to March 11, we are giving away three free years of Covenant Eyes to a lucky winner. That’s seven winners total!

Everyone who signs up for a new Covenant Eyes account during that time period will be automatically entered to win. We know accountability will improve your life and help you live porn-free. If you don’t love it in 30 days, we’ll give you a full refund.

There’s no risk! Give it a try today.

For more info on the giveaway and how you can enter, check out our contest rules.

Sign Up for Screen Accountability Today

The post 4 Reasons to Start Using Screen Accountability Today appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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“Is the love of pleasure and amusement growing on you—gaining the power and authority over you? Is it dulling the keenness of your zest for spiritual pleasures? Is it making Bible study, prayer, communion with Christ, and meditation upon holy themes—less sweet enjoyments than they once were? Is it making your hunger for righteousness, and for God—less intense? If so, there is only one thing to do—hurry…to return to God…to find in Christ, the joy which the world cannot give.” –J. R. Miller

The Worst Advice for Breaking Addiction: “Just Stop!”

An addiction of any kind is more complex than simple. It is all-encompassing as opposed to one-dimensional. It is fueled through many sources and overcome through several steps. Many people battle addiction for years with minimal success because they suppose the outward action is the problem and do not understand the strong roots stemming way back in the mind and heart.

For the addict, the command to “Just Stop!” is the worst advice. It is vague, ineffectual, and hopeless. It makes light of the problem and unrealistically sends the message that freedom from what binds him or her will be effortless, painless, and quick. Here are three reasons this is terrible advice.

1. It doesn’t address the real issues.

“Spiritual wisdom consists in finding out the subtleties, policies, and depths of any indwelling sin…to trace this serpent in all its turnings and windings.”  –John Owen

A headache often calls for taking an aspirin. A toothache demands a prompt visit to the dentist. A poor health report makes daily exercise a requirement to stay alive. So too, habitual sin in our lives is a siren that signals there are very real issues to be worked through if we are to mend and repent fully.

Related: What Your Sexual Fantasies (Might) Say About You

2. It overestimates a person’s strength to do right and underestimates the power of sin.

Even after significant growth in godliness, no one is exempt from the possibility of returning to the sins that he or she falsely believed gave him or her life. It’s just a matter of how intense the trial, circumstance, or stress level we are experiencing that makes it easy for the depravity that formerly brought us comfort and relief to beckon us to return to it again.

Anyone who loves food can testify how difficult it is to say no to junk food brought in the house. If it is present, that means it is available, and we are likely to give in. A homeless person eats scraps out of a dumpster not because of the appeal necessarily, but because he is hungry and is seeking to pacify that gnawing feeling.

3. It robs a person of holistic healing and focuses on one aspect of their brokenness.

“We are holistically in need of God in every area, not just [sexuality]. … When I was able to see that all of me needed Jesus, and all of me needed to be whole, and all of me needed to be discipled, and grow, I think that’s what helped me because it humbles you in a place where it’s like ‘I’m really messed up’ because it’s not just one little fraction of me, it’ s all of me and I’m able to really crawl to Jesus and know that only He can fix me, only He can make me whole.” –Jackie Hill Perry

The Lord wants our obedience, submission, and surrender–not in one area of our lives but in its entirety. It is beyond me why we humans would expect anything less of our Creator, the One who gave us life and purchased the redeemed with a high price. If we see ourselves through the lens of Scripture and see God biblically, we will joyfully commit ourselves to His refining process and allow Him to beautify even the minimally ugly parts of us.

Ultimately, a strong and daily walk with the Lord will free us from being unable to say no to pornography’s lure. My lengthy history of sexual brokenness and the equally lengthy journey of healing are evidence that we cannot overcome sin, nor experience abundant life, apart from Christ. We must depend fully on Him, prioritizing regular Bible reading and prayer. We must continuously remind ourselves of the Gospel in order to renew our minds and do our part in the process of sanctification. No person, place, or experience can restore us like Jesus can. No amount of worldly philosophy or secular counseling could ever do for our hearts and minds what the true and living God can.

“Take these three spears—the Word of God, prayer, and mortification—and strike through the heart of your lusts, so that they die!” –Thomas Watson

The post The Worst Advice for Breaking a Porn Addiction appeared first on Covenant Eyes.

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