Most people are too shocked, numb, or angry to think about the proper way to confront a loved one involved in sexual sin. This list is designed to help you through this difficult process.
Allow the facts known about your spouse’s addiction and your feelings to compliment one another. Both are valid and will help you to share your concerns effectively.
Embrace the principle that what is right is more important than who (you or your spouse) is right. This principle ultimately leads us back to God as the author of righteousness.
Identify the various resources that you and your spouse are going to need in order to repair the marriage and have individual healing. Resources may include books, tapes, helpful web sites, support groups, pastoral counseling, and professional counseling.
Your legitimate need may involve discreetly telling a few people the exact nature of the problem. Identify two or three people who are mature, trustworthy, and love both you and your spouse. Avoid those individuals who would seek to either quickly dismiss your concerns or rush to judge your spouse.
Identify your specific expectations or goals before your confront your spouse. For example, you will want to state both what you know and feel about your spouse’s “acting out.” It will also be important for your spouse to hear you out, and respond with a willingness to receive at least a timely, professional evaluation for possible treatment of sex addiction. You should expect your spouse to agree to reasonable therapeutic strategies designed to assist either of both of you.
If your goals include professional help, have the appointment and arrangements made in advance. Further indecisiveness can reinjure both of you.
Don’t wait for the perfect time to present your concerns.
Throughout the confrontation, be concise, committed, and compassionate. This is not the time to begin the process of working through your anger.
Present copies of any evidence of pornography that you have. This is not to suggest that you should have sought out hard evidence, but if you have found it, put the originals in a safe place and make copies for the confrontation. The intent here is to help end your spouse’s denial with tangible proof. (If the pornography in question involves children, making or keeping copies is illegal. The danger to self and others is much greater with this form of pornography and may require you to report such material to authorities, especially if you have children in the home.
Keep your tone “adult-to-adult.” Avoid the parent-child trap.
Above all, offer your concerns as a brother or sister in Christ. The fact that you are eternally connected outweighs a temporal, but sacred marriage.
Copyright © 2004 Rob Jackson. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.
About the author
Rob Jackson is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice who specializes in intimacy disorders, including sex addiction and codependency. He also speaks nationally on a variety of topics, including intimacy with God and family. www.ChristianCounsel.com.