If you’ve ever had an affair, you may wonder what effect your secret would have on your marriage if you were to tell your husband about it.
Some psychologists say, “There’s no reason for your partner to know about your affair. What purpose does it serve to clear your conscience if it is only going to upset him?” I am all for protecting someone else’s feelings by not burdening him with unnecessary information. I also understand your commitment to keeping your marriage together, especially if you feel that divulging your secrets would drive the nail into your marriage coffin. However, before you decide you would never confess an affair to your husband, ask yourself these questions:
~ Is harboring these secrets ultimately as damaging to our marriage as what I did in the first place?
~ Am I robbing myself and my husband of true intimacy and sexual fulfillment because of the guilt I wrestle with?
~ Is my confidence that my husband loves me based on who he thinks I am — a wife who has never betrayed him?
If the answer to these questions is yes, I encourage you to look at this issue in a different light. Discovering a new level of intimacy in your marriage may be very difficult if you can’t let your husband see completely into you. As I mentioned previously, intimacy can best be understood by breaking the word down into syllables: in-to-me-see. Marital secrets serve no purpose but to alienate you from the only one who can provide the level of intimacy you truly desire as a sexual being. If you keep secrets from each other you may build a wall between you and ultimate sexual and emotional fulfillment.
However, through humble confession and eventual restoration of trust, you can turn those walls into bridges that will bring the two of you closer together than ever before. I believe you can rebuild on a firmer foundation by opening up to your husband, confessing your sin, seeking healing counsel, and recruiting his help to overcome future temptations. After all, when you believe your husband loves you for who he thinks you are (yet you see yourself as a different person because you know things he doesn’t), that’s not intimate nor is it fulfilling.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Obviously James felt that confession is good for the soul. While it may be dreadfully painful at first, I believe confession is ultimately good for the marriage as well.
Perhaps your honesty will create an environment where he finally feels safe to discuss his innermost sexual struggles. Make a pact that you won’t judge him for how he is prone to visual stimulation and that he won’t judge you for how you are prone to emotional stimulation. Your unconditional love can inspire him to guard his eyes, and his unconditional love can inspire you to guard your heart. So consider taking off the mask and allowing him see the good, the bad, and the ugly. And don’t cringe when he, too, takes his mask off. Remember, we are all human beings with our own unique struggles. Your marriage can be a place where you and your spouse can sharpen each other with accountability, not stab each other with judgment.
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.