Coming Clean

Parenting the Internet Generation Ebook Cover

It’s easy for accountability relationships to fail. Learn how to get it right. Take your Accountability partnership to the next level. Read Coming Clean and introduce it to your Accountability Partner.

4 thoughts on “Four Tips on Developing an Accountability Relationship

  1. one of my best friends has asked me to keep him accountable for a porn addiction. i find this an awkward topic to speak about with a guy but he asked me to help. is there anything that will allow me to be a good accountability partner even though i feel awkward even discussing it or should i suggest he asks someone else?

    • @kate – I typically think guys asking their female friends to hold them accountable, especially on sexual topics, is a bad idea. There was a time I wouldn’t have thought this way, but at that time I was also quite blind to how much those guy-gal conversations about intimate topics knit my heart to those women in inappropriate ways. Accountability, if it is done well, is a close relationship. This article by Michael Dorr from Christian Single talks more about this topic.

      I applaud you to want to help your friend about this. This is a struggle many men have, and I am happy to hear your friend wants to make strides to rid his life of this sin. But good accountability isn’t just a willingness to open up and confess a struggle. It is also a willingness to receive counsel, encouragement, and, at times, rebuke. It is a willingness to not just be accountable for your actions, but also for your motives and the state of your heart. A good accountability partner is willing to probe beneath the surface and ask questions like: “So when you looked at porn the other day, what was going through your mind minutes or hours before that? Why do you think you were vulnerable at that time? What were some of the triggers for you?” A good partner will help your friend get to the hidden sins underneath the obvious sin of pornography. Typically I believe a more mature Christian man should do that for the guy who struggles with this. He should be a person the Proverbs calls a “man of understanding” who can help draw out the hidden motives of his heart (Proverbs 20:5).

      I would love to advise you to be your friend’s accountability partner. I’d love to believe that you and your friend could be the exception to the general principles I’ve outlined here, that you could be the kind of accountability partner he needs right now. But your gut reaction to this, I believe, is a good one.

  2. I typically hear about “accountability” in a support group setting. Some groups have a specific person you choose as an accountability partner, mentors, or sponsors but many groups essentially allow everyone to be everyone’s accountability “partner.”

    The problem with believing all our accountability is to be restricted to a support group setting is, it locks away all our real and honest interaction to a somewhat artificial environment. A support group for pornography addiction, for example, is a great place for a man or woman to first begin to be open and honest about some very personal and embarrassing issues. This is (or should be) a safe place to do so as everyone shares common struggles. While I believe such support groups are extremely valuable and necessary for recovery, we limit the boundaries of our recovery if we refuse to develop these honest, accountable relationships outside of the group.

    In time, maybe a long time, the goal is to develop the kind of honest and open healing relationships Cynthia is talking about outside of a support group setting. The support group is a place to learn it’s okay to be real, but it should not be meant to serve as a replacement to Christian community in the long run.

    I am in a support group which includes weekly accountability. I believe this support group, or one like it, is good for me to continue to be a part of, probably the rest of my life. However, I also have accountability relationships with a couple of men who are not part of my recovery group. We meet regularly and talk about the deepest things we are going through. My group does not have time for me to go into this kind of depth and it would be unfair to the rest of them if I did. But, I do have time to share anything and everything with my other accountability partners any time I need to.

    Great stuff! I would encourage others to follow the advice of this article.

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