Confession or being caught doesn't necessarily secure a happy, walk away from my sin ending. There's far more to it than that.
Exposing the sin is just the beginning of a complex process. The spouse with the figurative pornography noose around his/her neck has to want to remove it.
By the time my spouse confessed, he was already fed up with himself. He desired change and spent too many years trying to do it on his own. Confession freed him from the burden he carried alone, but it wasn't easy and it sometimes comes with a cost.
But sometimes, a spouse is sorry he got caught instead of being sorry for the hurt he's caused or the sin itself. What do you do then?
I can't speak from that experience specifically since everyone's journey through this looks different. But I can tell you that sexual betrayal, via adultery or pornography or lust, impacts your marriage and requires healing for both husband and wife, whether there is repentance or not.
Dealing with the pain of betrayal is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but the work was necessary. My husband's sexual addiction became an opportunity for me to do some self-examining.
And since I chose to stay and fight for our marriage, I knew my attitude towards his healing would effect everything. I could remain withdrawn, bitter, and angry or I could become his biggest ally. Neither option was a guarantee that he would not slip again, but one could lead to more hiding and the other encourages open communication.
If you suspect your spouse is struggling with pornography or sexual addiction:
- Talk to him about it. Show him you are a safe person by the way you approach/respond to him.
- Share/confess your own sin. God knows you struggle, too! Does your spouse know you're not perfect either?
- Find help for both of you — good counseling, a marriage weekend/retreat, an addiction program, Every Man's Battle, addiction recovery support, healing from betrayal
- Establish accountability to protect him from temptations. Who can he call on when he's feeling tempted? Who can both encourage him and help pick him back up if he falters?
- Become partners/allies/teammates — together fighting against temptations. Can you help guard his heart? How can you help establish/support healthy boundaries for him/for both of you (what he sees, reads, hears)?