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Confessing Porn Struggles to Your Spouse – Redeemed Accountability

Last Updated: August 5, 2021

Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Coming Clean: Overcoming Lust Through Biblical Accountability and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

When you struggle with sexual sin, how should you confess the nature and details of your sin to your spouse? For some, this question causes great anxiety.

A little over a year ago we released a podcast called, “Should my wife be my accountability partner?” The four experts we interviewed all gave the same answer: No, she should not.

Here were the reasons they gave:

  • Causing Unnecessary Pain – An accountability partner’s job is detail-oriented. The goal of deep accountability is not merely to draw out a general confession, but to talk openly about specific sins, specific temptations, and specific motives. For many women, a regular confession of uncensored details from their husbands can be very painful to hear.
  • The Temptation to Control – When women have watched their husbands fall into sexual sin time and time again, this can often lead them to an obsessive curiosity about their husband’s progress or lack of progress. These obsessive thoughts can often feed unforgiveness or even their desire to manipulate or control their husbands.

For these interviewees, there was a clear difference between “being accountable” in a general sense and being an “accountability partner” in a specific sense:

  • Yes, be “accountable” to your wife – All the interviewees agreed a husband should demonstrate trustworthiness to his wife by being honest and forthright about his struggles and victories. He should volunteer information to his wife so she can see the fruit of his repentance.
  • No, don’t make her your “accountability partner” – But being an “accountability partner” means more than this. A good accountability partner not only listens to the sordid details of someone’s temptations and sins, but is able to respond to that confession in a way that encourages future obedience motivated by godly intentions. For many wives, they don’t know how (nor should men expect them to know how) to untangle this task from the raw emotion of their pain or their desire to manage their husband’s spiritual life.

Redeemed Accountability

Recently I read some interesting thoughts on PornToPurity.com about this subject. Gavin and Kristina Croft talk about the subject of “redeemed accountability” between husbands and wives.

Knowing the pain a confession could cause their wives, often men avoid confession altogether. But the Crofts believe (rightly) that sin thrives in secrecy. When couples choose to avoid specific topics of conversation—like sexual sin—because of the stigma attached to them, it only creates space in the marriage for that sin to increase. They believe husbands should absolutely confess their struggles to their wives.

The Crofts also give a detailed outline of when and in what way these confessions should happen. How specific should you be? How should a wife respond? What does repentance look like? These are some of the questions the Crofts address.

Over time husbands and wives can develop godly patterns of communication where sin can be brought into the light in a way that develops deeper intimacy and trust, not hurt or manipulation. This is redeemed accountability.

Resources to Start the Conversation:

For the Husbands Who Don’t Want to Change:

For Husbands Who Want to Change:

For the Dating and Engaged:

For Wives Who Struggle with Porn:

Videos to Watch Together:

Books to Read Together: