In confessing sin to my wife, should I detail everything that happened?
I have been free of pornography for almost 5 years now. Yet the problem of lust in the form of looking at other women or reading material that might be sexually charged, etc. still remains.
I have made it my habit to always tell my wife and ask for forgiveness, which is not easy. Our counselor, an elder from our church, told me that I should ask my wife for forgiveness always, but that I should not go into detail on what I specifically looked at or read as it might needlessly hurt my wife more than necessary.
What is your take on this? Should a man describe his sin in detail to his wife, or should he just say what he did (“I looked at a woman today”, or “I read something I shouldn’t have/inappropriate”)? I would greatly appreciate a woman’s perspective on this. Thanks!
I’m not a woman, but I think I can answer that. I think a good step in that decision would be to just ask your wife. It may be that she doesn’t want the images of your sin floating around in her head. If you have something to confess, get it out in the open and then ask if she has any questions she needs answers to. I had to confess something very difficult at one point, and I had prepared myself for a barrage of questions, and the only one my wife asked me was so far from what I had expected that it never even occured to me.
It might depend on her. The question of what the extent was hurts me more, personally, than knowing what sort of porn my husband watched. Not knowing details leaves every action questionable. It makes me wonder if I should worry about conversations my husband has with girls he has known in the past (not intimately, but girls he went to college and high school with). He tells me every time he watches porn but doesn’t tell me what kind, but I want him to because I’m curious what hes drawn to when he can click on anything, because if he already did it, why can’t I get an idea from it? Lol
This is an excellent article/video from https://www.covenanteyes.com/2010/08/12/confessing-lust-to-your-wife-how-detailed-should-you-be/
In the video ‘David Powlison calls for what he calls a “generic specificity” in this sort of confession. The confession must be specific: the wife must know what sort of sin she is forgiving, the gravity of it. At the same time, the confession should be general: there is no need to spell out gory details.’
It seems Oldbear, with the link, summed it up well.
“The confession must be specific: the wife must know what sort of sin she is forgiving, the gravity of it. At the same time, the confession should be general: there is no need to spell out gory details.’”
Our counselor has advised the same thing. She says you might want to know details, because you are trying to make sense of things, but it won’t. Over and over, she sees the giving of explicit details sets the healing back, and at times prevents it from happening, because those details will come back to mind, and the hearer of them can’t get over it.
And that also might depend on the extent of the sin, and her perception of it. I look at it as it’s so in your face all the time I kinda expect it to happen on accident once in a while, we all sin in various ways sometimes, and porn is everywhere, especially soft porn which can make you think of harder stuff. But I wouldn’t want details of what sort of fantasy he had about some girl he saw, I think just hearing “I had inappropriate thoughts when I saw someone, I’m sorry” would be appropriate, I’m not sure, we have not run into that.
I would encourage you to read Unwanted by Jay Stringer. He talks about the whys behind porn use and the healing/growing process of walking away from it. It might be something to read through and include your wife in. Instead of making her your confessional, you’d be inviting her to understand what you are going through and see the progress and growth.