Except for one time.
Though his confession was painful to hear, it paled in comparison with the rage and sense of betrayal I felt when I caught him trying to hide it from me.
Lies are never better than the truth.
Why confess?We often tell our children it is always better if they confess to us first before we find out about something they did wrong. And this goes for adults too.
Anytime we harbor secret sin, it has the power to eat away at us and damage our relationships. Sin without confession always seems to beget more sin. We must keep up the lie lest we risk exposing the truth.
Even lies from long ago tend to bubble up to the surface. A few months ago, Craig and I met with a couple struggling with porn addiction. The wife had an affair twenty years ago. She ended it, confessed the sin to God, and went about her marriage, never considering to tell her husband. God prompted her to confess this to her husband 20 years later. And do you know what this led to? Him confessing his porn addiction to her.
Neither confession was easy to hear or forgive, but both confessions bore fruit. Her authenticity freed him to reveal himself as imperfect. His confession brought a current problem to light so he could get help and eventually receive love and support from his spouse.
Marriages weren’t designed so individual people could solve their individual problems. Marriages were designed so two people could help refine and love each other like Jesus helps and refines us.
Are you addicted to porn? Do you need some help? Do you need to bring your problems to the light so you don’t have to live a lie anymore? It’s exhausting, isn’t it?
Tips to confess your porn addiction to your spouse:Pray first. In your time with God, pray He will give you the words to say to your spouse and ears for he or she to respond to your confession. Ask God to prepare her heart for what she is about to learn. Ask the Holy Spirit to be present with both of you during this and subsequent conversations. Pray for protection against the enemy coming in to do more damage to your relationship.
Choose your timing wisely. Sometimes when we need to confess something to someone, we want to sneak it in when there’s not much time so the conversation will be over as fast as possible. Don’t drop a bomb and then expect to move on to your next activity. When you confess, make sure you have the time to allow both of you to talk and process as you need in a safe place.
Think about your partner when she hears this news and have options for her to process as she needs. Will she need a quiet space alone to think? If so, plan to give her the space. Take the kids off her hands for awhile – whatever she needs in order to be able to cope with this news. Is your husband an external processor? If so, be prepared to hear the myriad of emotions that comes with a confession of betrayal. Allow him to speak about how he feels: betrayed, angry, confused, hurt, etc.
Don’t expect forgiveness right away. Yes, we are supposed to forgive one another because we are all sinners and God always forgives us when we ask. Allow for your spouse to be human and know it might take some time for her to come to a place where she forgives you. Also be aware he might verbally say, “I forgive you” but his actions might not match up with that right away.
There are stages of grief (and your spouse isgrieving the loss of the marriage as he knew it to be), so expect waves of differing emotions as you walk through this together. Your spouse may also try to figure out what did wrong to cause this, so reassure her this is about you and not her.
Have a plan or be willing to make a plan. If you know what you need in order to find freedom from your addiction, let your spouse know how you are actively breaking your addiction. If you are at a total loss for what your next steps should be, enlist the help of a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor.
Be open to what your spouse might suggest as helpful things as well. Though things like Internet filters are not cures for pornography, having them installed on your electronic devices might help her feel more at ease. Be willing to talk about it as much as your spouse needs to discuss it. Every idea your spouse has may not be beneficial, but it’s important you hear her heart behind her suggestions and take the ones God leads you to consider.
Keep praying. Pray together. Pray individually. Pray for yourself and for your spouse. The enemy has many entrances to both the addicted and the spouse, but the power of prayer and the Word of God are strong weapons to keep Satan out and love in.
After you confess, you might doubt you did the right thing. But know this: Truth is always better than a lie. In order for your marriage to be whole, you and your spouse need to be real with each other, learn how to best support each other and be mutually invested in each other’s healing and recovery, whether it’s porn or any other thing in the way of a loving, strong, healthy marriage.