Men, I have news for you . . . Life doesn’t get easier when you decide to live with integrity. If it does, you’re doing it wrong! When we make the choice that we’re going to live our lives the way God intended with purity and integrity, we also agree to come face to face with our past indiscretions. Confession is a vital step in finding freedom from the past and stepping into your future.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
Unfortunately, while confession heals us, it almost always causes the ones we love to hurt. When I decided to confess to my wife about my pornography addiction and other secrets of my past, it almost ended my marriage. She was very hurt, confused, sad, angry . . . basically every negative emotion a person can feel. The important thing to remember is that she wasn’t mad that I confessed. She was upset by what I confessed. The damage had already been done long before I confessed and unfortunately the only way for me to find freedom from the guilt and shame was to confess. Then came the difficult task of righting all my wrongs and rebuilding my wife’s trust.
It’s not uncommon for men to keep secrets from their wives, families and friends. As men we tend to keep a lot of information to ourselves for fear of looking bad in the eyes of the ones who count on us to have it all together. As impossible as it is to fathom coming forth with your darkest secrets, it’s an absolutely necessary part of putting it in your past. You can’t get past what you do not own.
Once you’ve taken that difficult but necessary step, you will have some work to do repairing the damage caused to your loved one(s). I’ve compiled a list of things that you can do to begin the healing process and help restore the trust and confidence that was lost. These are just a few things that helped me and are still helping me as I rebuild the relationship with my wife.
Set clear priorities, making God first
Making God first sends a clear message to your spouse that this things is bigger than you. No amount of effort you put into recovering will ever equal that power of giving your situation to God. I used to be under the false assumption that my wife should be first. What I didn’t realize is that put an enormous amount of pressure on her to meet my needs both emotionally and physically. When I put God first she found a divine sense of security and freedom knowing that God is meeting those needs and making me a better man.
Have an accountability person . . . or two, or three.
You can’t do this alone. Life is a team sport and it’s meant to be played with other men who you can trust and will always look out for you. Sexual sin is an individual act where we somehow feel empowered to stop on our power. The reality is we don’t have the power to walk the straight and narrow by ourselves. God created us all to do life together and that means we lean on each other when things get difficult.
When your wife sees you grouping together with other men, she will know right away that the odds are more in your favor and that’s something she can begin to trust.
Once you’ve come clean, all eyes are on you. What will you do next? What steps will you take to restore your marriage and other relationships? One of the most important things we can do when restoring the trust we’ve lost is to set boundaries. Boundaries cause us to stay on track and even if your wife can’t trust you, she can trust that your boundaries will keep you out of bad situations.
Invest in yourself
Personal growth is a vital part of the recovery process and it also goes a long way towards building trust. One of the first things I did after my wife left me, was pick up “Be Real Because Fake Is Exhausting” by Rick Bezet. This book began the process of change in me by showing me how damaging it was to spend my entire life pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Once I was done with that book, I started reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Taking the time to read and improve myself showed my wife that I was serious about taking the right steps toward healing and it also built her confidence in the person I was becoming.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
One of the biggest mistakes I made early on in the recovery process was being afraid to discuss my thoughts honestly. After the trauma of nearly losing my wife it scared the hell out of me to bring up anything related to pornography, lust or immorality. However, I quickly realized that avoiding the issue, destroys trust. Rebuilding trust is an every day process that can sometimes be uncomfortable. When she has to question whether or not you’re telling her everything, you can’t rebuild trust.
The couple that prays together, stays together. Although it’s a little cliché, it’s true. Praying together builds a foundation for your relationship that’s rooted in God and nothing else. Routinely praying with your spouse helps them to trust that you’ve given yourself to a higher power instead of trying to solve everything with your own limited ability.
Show interest in her feelings, thoughts and opinions
Believe it or not, it’s NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! I know that may come as a shock to some of you, but it’s true. It is so easy to be completely self-involved during the process of overcoming addiction, lust, immorality, and more. Our struggles and even our wins can dominate the conversation and before we know it our wives don’t get to express the way they feel.
Even if you don’t want to hear it, you must make it a priority to let your wife express her thoughts about this process. If she doesn’t feel heard, then it will be impossible for her to trust you with her feelings.
If you’re interested in learning more about my ministry and how you can begin living a life of integrity, please contact me here or comment below. I love connecting with men who have a desire to live a life of integrity.