Pornography | Page 31 | Focus on the Family Australia
Should You Tell Your Spouse About Your Porn Problem?
By M.T. Willliams
Whats in this Article

Telling your spouse the truth about your pornography use is a sensitive and complicated choice for multiple reasons. But counsellors have seen that the major, long-term benefits of truth-telling are worth enduring the challenges. In fact, stable and sustainable sobriety requires it.

Before you tell your spouse about your secret pornography use, you have to admit a few things to yourself.

The challenges

Telling your spouse the whole truth about your pornography use might just be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. And by doing so, you will give up control of what happens next — how your spouse responds.

None of us can dictate what another person chooses to do with the truth. And so we must trust the Lord with our spouse's response and the future of our marriage, asking Him for mercy and grace where it’s not deserved. We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to be alone with our secrets or do we want to own our truth and trust that God will set us free (John 8:32) — even if a flourishing marriage is not part of that freedom?

Telling your spouse about your addiction will reveal the true level of intimacy in your marriage. You may have realised that your relationship with your spouse isn’t as close as it should be. Unhealthy sexual behaviour (with another or with oneself) is often devoid of deep human connection; its primary focus is restricted to the orgasmic experience. Yes, it’s initially exciting and of course it feels good in the moment, but it does little to truly feed your soul at an emotional, relational or spiritual level. Those who use pornography starve their souls of the nourishment needed for a healthy, whole life. And chasing after this counterfeit intimacy disconnects your attachment with loved ones and distracts your heart from what you’re really feeling. This relational avoidance is not what God intended when He created vulnerable, biblical and sexual marriage. And admitting that you’re not truly connected will cause major shifts in you, your spouse and your marriage.

Account for and brace for these challenges before initiating this conversation with your spouse.

The rewards

A full confession to your spouse is part of your release from the shame that shackles you. For those still living in bondage, the power of this freedom is hard to grasp. But those who have experienced this freedom are witnesses to this truth. Moving from the darkness of shame to the light of God’s love and forgiveness (1 Thessalonians 5:4-10) will set you free to become the person God planned you to be from the beginning (Ephesians 2:10).

Couples who don’t walk through the necessary steps toward healing and forgiveness, whose marriages break down or end in divorce, often say the reason for their greatest pain is the betrayal of deception. Conversely, when couples start the challenging but healing task of being honest about pornography use, they open up the opportunity to receive support and begin the process of restoring their marriage.

Coming clean to your spouse will allow him or her to grieve the loss of what he or she believed your marriage was and give him or her the opportunity to accept reality. It enables your spouse to begin the journey of healing that will, in turn, restore your marriage in ways you never thought possible. You will be able to love vulnerably rather than living with the constant fear of being found out. Such radical honesty facilitates true marital intimacy.

One of the greatest comforts in telling the truth is that you won’t have to go it alone anymore. With no more secrets between you and your spouse, you can admit your weakness with vulnerability and ask for the support you need. You can admit that you don’t have what it takes to always live in purity, that the temptations of pornography may still pull on you in the future.

When we include others in our journey to overcome our weaknesses, we are able to ask our spouse for prayer and practical help. This foundation of biblical humility, vulnerability and truth will empower your personal integrity and strengthen your marriage — the very things your spouse has wanted from you all along.

So, if in counting the cost you decide that telling your spouse the whole truth is indeed the right step, how do you begin? While there are different options, the next article suggests one practical and healthy pathway toward honesty.

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