5 Reasons to Tell Your Spouse About Your Porn Problem

sad embarrassed husband
iStock/Thinkstock (Models for illustrative purposes only)

Today’s the day you realized your pornography usage is a problem and you’re ready to quit. You figure you got into the habit all on your own and you wonder if you should try to get out of it without telling your spouse about your struggle. After all, what he or she doesn’t know can’t hurt, right?

Before you go down the path of recovery in silence, consider this: Intimacy is about knowing another person fully and being fully known. A person carrying a heavy secret can’t be intimately known.

So today’s also the day to ask yourself, If I maintain the secret, is that really the intimacy I’ve always longed for in my marriage?

How to stop the shame cycle

Counselors specializing in sex and intimacy issues recommend that spouses confess. Why? Those who view pornography on a regular basis likely have developed an intimacy disorder and attempt to avoid a deep, vulnerable emotional connection in relationships. Keeping secrets about pornography use continues this harmful pattern. Porn use is not only about sexual release.

Many spouses avoid emotional intimacy through use of substances or behaviors such as pornography. They engage in porn as a sexual release, unaware of their desire to escape negative emotions such as loneliness, resentment or fear. The irony is that porn use leads to feelings of guilt and shame, which are also negative emotions.

Do you see the pattern? Hiding the truth instead of becoming honest in your marriage serves to perpetuate the cycle you’re trying to stop.

Four other reasons to share your secret

Building intimacy is the primary benefit to opening up about your porn struggle. Here are four other compelling reasons to share.

First, when you harbor secret sins, a tendency develops to justify future sins by telling yourself that you already have secrets, so one more isn’t really all that consequential. It’s a lie, but a believable one when your gut reaction is to avoid the consequences of your past sin. By withholding the whole story, you’re fostering a habit of deceit.

Second, if you don’t initiate sharing the truth of your sin, there’s a strong possibility your spouse will find out eventually.

Which scenario do you really think will have a greater benefit of restoring your spouse’s trust: one where you voluntarily share your secret or one in which your spouse catches you after you’ve hidden it for a long period of time? Mistakes that a person voluntarily owns up to are much easier to work through than is exposed deceit.

Third, spouses who know the whole truth and choose to stay know more about what they’re saying “I do” to for the future. A spouse who doesn’t know the truth is unwittingly believing a lie about the marriage. This is a setup for an even greater disillusionment, if and when the truth comes to light — and it virtually always does.

Finally, a tangible benefit exists in a marriage where a person can share the complete truth and where the offended spouse is able to come to a place of genuine forgiveness. If your husband or wife knows everything and still chooses to work on the marriage, there is a release from shame. That kind of freedom can empower you to leave behind sexual sin. And according to Scripture, such confession also has the power to heal (James 5:16).

Ready to take a step toward improving intimacy in your marriage? If so, there are some important things to admit to yourself before admitting the truth to your spouse.

MT Wilson is a licensed professional counselor, certified sex therapist and life coach who works for Focus on the Family.

A variety of issues can fuel habitual pornography use. Understanding the deeper needs of individuals affected by this common problem is important. Reach out to well-trained helpers, and if you are a married couple do so together. Change is possible! We can guide you as you seek a referral and take your first steps toward recovery. You can contact us Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain time) at: 855-771-HELP (4357) or
help@FocusOnTheFamily.com
www.FocusontheFamily.com/FindaCounselor

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