Surviving the Worst Day of Your Life: How to Confess Your Porn Addiction to Your Spouse
Thursday, June 18, 2015 | Written by John Doyel
September 9, 2005 was the worst day of my life. Confronted by my church board leaders, I had to admit my addiction to porn and headed home to tell my wife and four children. I knew a major train wreck was about to happen, and there was nothing I could do. My sin had been found out and I had no idea of the consequences that were going to unfold.
If you are facing that reality, I have a few suggestion that will help.
It feels like the hardest thing in the world to do. You know this news is going to wound her deeply and you have used that as an excuse to not confess. You reason, “If I keep it a secret and she never knows your marriage will be better and I will be able to stop on my own.”
Look in the mirror and say to yourself, “Liar!”
The truth is you have already wounded her and your marriage. She just doesn’t know why there is this barrier between the two of you. Here is your reality.
- Your use of porn is heart adultery according to Jesus in Matthew 5:28.
- This has gone on for years and perhaps decades and you haven’t stopped.
- You are scared to death of what this confession will do to her, you, and the family.
I understand your fears and I know it is the last thing you want to do. Yet, it has to be done…so what is the best way to tell her?
I lived in that world for years. Not until I resigned my position as a pastor and was forced to confess was I able to do it. Nine years later our marriage is still intact and God has healed our wounds and inhabits our brokenness every day. Getting through it with your marriage surviving can be helped or hindered by how you deal with your disclosure. So here are five things that will prove helpful to you.
- Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. What you plan on telling her will not be the same as what she will want to know. The truth is how often you act out using porn. The when and the where are important facts. The details are not. Too many details will be destructive for her in the long run.
- Consider telling her in the presence of a counselor or pastor. Having someone there to help moderate the conversation can be helpful to things escalating and becoming worse. That third person should be made aware of what is going to happen in the meeting and should be someone your spouse is comfortable with.
- Confession is the beginning of the long journey of recovery. Hopefully you are broken by your bad choices and desire to really stop and get the help you need to walk in purity. This is a reality most people want to minimize. Seeing this as a first step is good but having a plan for recovery helps give hope. Find what groups there are in your area that deal with sexual brokenness and make plans to attend consistently. You should plan on attending at least for one year.
- Genuinely ask for forgiveness and be repentant. It will not be your words from which she will receive assurance. Talk is cheap. It will be a change in your behavior and seeing godly sorrow that will help her. She will feel that she cannot trust you…and that is normal. However, she needs to place her trust in God that whatever you do He will take care of her.
- Realize that this will be traumatic for her and create desperation and wounding. Both of you would do well reading from this websiteand this book.
Nothing is going to make this easy. Looking back, I wish I had come forward and confessed before I was caught. If I were a better man I would have done so. However, the bottom line is you need to come clean. You need to be honest.
Your Father, your Lord and Savior, and the Spirit—your comforter and counselor—will walk you through it. You need to allow Him to begin dealing with putting the broken pieces together. It all begin with walking in the light of confession and repentance.
Over the past 9 years I have worked with many men trying to break free from this sexual sin. The support and encouragement from your wife will be a very helpful part of the process. However, that is a decision she will need to make on her own. What you do and how you act in the days following your confess will either help her come along side of you or push her away.
It is time to be a humble and loving servant to her as we are commanded to love our wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25).