We know. We know. Your spouse might flip out if you confessed this sin. After all, we learned about the wreckage that porn causes to relationships (see Step 1). Yet, it is imperative that your spouse understands what you are doing so she (or he) can support you on this journey. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you take this essential step (note: although written from the point of view of a husband telling a wife, it could equally apply to a female user telling her husband if the genders are reversed):
- First, expect it to be hard. Hearing that your spouse is finding sexual pleasure from someone else is devastating, and rightfully so. It is sin and sin does real damage. So, don’t expect her to be incredibly grateful for your confession. She will be eventually, but not yet. Allow her to be angry, disappointed, silent, confused, and damaged.
- Second, explain why you are telling her now. Admit you have a desire to change, to love her like Jesus loves his church, but you haven’t been able to change on your own. You need help from her, from your pastor, from a counselor, and from gracious friends. Say, “Honey, I haven’t been loving you as Jesus loves you and I want to change that. I want to make you feel loved, cherished, valuable, and secure. I need lots of help to do that, especially yours.” Most spouses will appreciate your desire to love them in a deeper way.
- Third, don’t blame her. Your sex life is not the problem. Your sin is the problem. You may or may not have a fulfilling life of godly intimacy with your spouse, but that is never an excuse for sin. Ever. While a pastor or counselor will be able to help your sex life, never use that struggle as the reason for your virtual infidelity. Confess it. Repent of it. Ask for her forgiveness.
- Fourth, explain that this isn’t about her. She will rightly wonder, “Why am I not good enough? What didn’t I give him that he did this?” Explain that sexual addiction is illogical and stupid, as all sin is. Tell her she is beautiful and you love her (expect her not to believe it in the moment) and, like Paul in Romans 7, you hate what you’ve done to her, to your body, to God, and to others. This is your battle with sin, not an expression of your dissatisfaction with her.
- Fifth, think big picture, not tiny details. Tell her you’ve been looking at pornography, but don’t take her to the sites you’ve been visiting. It is unnecessary and those images will only do greater damage to your relationship.
- Finally, explain your path to recovery. Tell her about your desire to get help from a pastor, a counselor, and a gracious friend. Show her the info you’ve gathered and take her on a tour of this website! A path and a plan give hope to hurting people. Show her your path, including your “battle plan” (see Step 5) and give her hope for a better future for your marriage.