2 minute read

5 Barriers to Finding the Right Accountability Partner

Last Updated: April 16, 2015

Jeff Fisher

Jeff Fisher and his wife Marsha live in Raleigh, North Carolina. They run PurityCoaching.com and have helped hundreds of sexual strugglers, spouses, and church leaders find help and resources. Jeff has podcasted for the last six years about sexual purity through his Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast (iTunes). Jeff can be reached at jeff@puritycoaching.com.

How effective is your current accountability relationship?

If you’re a Covenant Eyes user, your Accountability Partner is whoever is reviewing your weekly report. How do you know if you are doing accountability the right way?

In our recovery ministry, my wife and I have worked with hundreds of individuals and couples on their sexual addiction struggles. Most of them start strong by purchasing a filtering /accountability solution (like Covenant Eyes) for their computers, mobile phones, and tablets.  But many of them struggle, especially in the early months with establishing the right accountability partnership.

Here are five barriers we’ve seen to maintaining healthy accountability, along with some suggestions.

1. I Don’t Have Any Close Friends

A sexual struggler has been in isolation for so long, he or she has isolated themselves from close relationships. People know us, but they don’t know our deepest struggles.

Tips: Start with a counselor or minister. Reach out to someone in your small group. Call an old friend from high school or college who was a close friend in the past. Start small. Take a risk. Be courageous.

2. Been There, Done That

Some of us have tried accountability relationships before and it didn’t work out. Maybe we gave up. Maybe they gave up. Relationships can be too soft on sin and struggles, or too hard, forgetting about God’s grace.

Tips: Give it another shot. Join a support group and find a sponsor or leader who is experienced and serious. Keep at it until you find the right one.

3. My Spouse is My Accountability Partner

We have hurt our spouse with our sexual sins and they need healing. Finding others to help us with accountability is one way we can help take the burden off our spouses.

Tip: Love your spouse by expanding support team. Share your Accountability Report  with you spouse as a way of building trust.

4. My Spouse Doesn’t Trust My Accountability Partner

As a sexual struggler you have violated the trust between you and your spouse.  Understandably, he/she know may wonder if you are lying to your Accountability Partner too?

Tips: Talk with your spouse about how your accountability relationship can help rebuild trust. What ideas does your spouse have? Agree on a team approach starting with a list of people your spouse trusts.

5. What Do We Talk About?

What questions should your accountability partner ask? How often should you talk? What happens when you have a slip? How are slips treated?

Tips: Covenant Eyes has some good helps. Design a list of questions around your main struggles. Avoid YES/NO questions, stay on the broad side. (What struggles have you been having on your mobile phone this week? What sexual stimulating shows have you been watching or tempted to watch? How have you been dealing with that pretty girl at work?)

Another Option: Accountability Jumpstarts

Accountability JumpstartsI recently developed Accountability Jumpstarts, a short-term service that provides accountability and support for struggles for 4, 8 or 12 weeks. Within that time, you will be able to develop good questions and outline your long-term accountability plans.

How it works:

  • If you are not a member already, sign up for Covenant Eyes accountability software.
  • Add our email address to your accountability list so we can receive your weekly report.
  • Each week we will review your report and schedule a 30-minute check-in.
  • During check-in, we talk accountability and discuss ways to build your support team.
  • Add on a 30-minute session for your spouse to discuss the general nature of your progress.

To learn more or sign up: PurityCoaching.com/accountability 

Please comment below and chime in on this topic. We’d love your feedback.