First off, a warning: Don’t destroy your family with pornography. If you’re giving lustful thoughts an inch of freedom to roam around in your mind, it’s imperative that you fight it. Your marriage, family, and most importantly, your salvation depend on it. Yes. Your salvation. If you continue in this habitual sin, you will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). In Matthew 5, Jesus takes the law a step further (vv27-28) “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So how serious was Jesus about fighting lust? Read on. (vv29-30) “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” I think the stakes are high enough to turn from this sin.
You need to know there is freedom from porn and lust, and its found only in Christ. If you are made alive in Him, you are no longer a slave to sin (Romans 6). Because of His victory on the cross, you already have the victory over it. Repent and embrace the purpose God has placed on your life; to lead and shepherd your family.
I was ready to move on with my life after finally making a decision to turn from and destroy the stronghold of lust in my heart. I found a deep ocean of Grace in Christ. He restored peace in my soul. My prayer life was strengthening. My bible reading was deepening. I felt a communion with the Father that I hadn’t felt in a long time. After a couple of weeks, I woke up one morning feeling overwhelmingly convicted. I couldn’t shake it. I acted confused. In denial, I pretended to ask God to remove this spiritual attack on me. But deep down, I knew what it was. The Holy Spirit was shining His vivid light on the sin at hand. I needed to tell my wife about my recent porn use, and knew I couldn’t be right with God until I did. 1 Peter 3:7 tells husbands that if we don’t treat our wife in a godly way, He won’t even listen to our prayers. Therefore the opposite has to be true; He will if I do.
Rectifying my relationship with my wife would only be a byproduct of being in communion with God again. Of course, I don’t want to lie to my wife anymore, but if that is the only motive in confessing to her, it will fall short. If I place her as my treasure, she will fall short. Being renewed and walking in light with Christ is the ultimate goal, and fellowship with my wife is the gift because of that. He is the desire, and she is the blessing.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
Sitting down on our sofa with my beautiful, strong, and gracious wife and confessing the awful acts of betrayal was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I wasn’t promised an easy response, because there are earthly consequences to our sin. There were so many fears of her throwing in the towel because of my adultery, but I had to get everything out in the open. Even if trusting in Him meant losing her, that’s worth the risk. Contrary to what the world will teach you about manhood and masculinity, there is such a hidden blessing to be found in being vulnerable in front of your wife. Thomas Watson, a 17th century puritan, puts it like this: “Confession of sin shuts the mouth of hell and opens the gates of paradise” (the doctrine of repentance).
To say that my wife responded with love would be an understatement. I was undeservingly met with tears of reassurance and grace. I was able to witness the Holy Spirit leading her away from her fleshly desire to walk away, and leading her toward love and forgiveness. God is so faithful.
tell the whole truth
Be completely up front. Don’t try to soften the blow. Trusting God with any of it means trusting God with all of it. One temptation that immediately followed was to not be completely honest about the details, essentially trading one lie for another. If she has questions, answer them honestly and humbly. You won’t do her or yourself any favors by withholding things. “But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.” (Ephesians 5:13) Drag this whole thing into the light. Then kill it.
stay humble, not shameful
Shame is a tactic of the enemy. It’s not a method the Holy Spirit will ever use, therefore don’t give it a stronghold in your life following your confession. Shame of one sin will lead you into more sin. Satan will try to convince you that you’re not worthy of leading your family. Don’t buy it. Don’t let the shame and guilt of your past keep rob you of your joy in Christ. Pray for God to restore the joy of salvation to your heart and uphold you with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51)
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)
The flip side of this coin is to stay humble. You’ve betrayed her trust. Give your wife the grace needed to process the pain. Pray for her daily. Give more grace. Let the Holy Spirit restore peace in her soul. Give more grace. If she randomly questions you or asks to see your phone, graciously hand it over. (Also give more grace.) You’re showing her that you’re being led by the Spirit by repenting and confessing to her. That’s a solid rock of reassurance to stand on while beginning to earn her trust.
beware the lion
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) Satan wants to devour you. He wants to keep you so preoccupied with your fleshly desires that you completely miss out on your ministry as a husband. He is actively seeking to destroy your spiritual life. If he can deceive you, he gets the family. If he can deceive the families, he gets the church. Fight for your family. Pray for and pray with your wife daily. Stand firm in your faith, and don’t give sin permission to reign over your life any longer. (Romans 6:12)
You have the victory in Christ Jesus.