It’s time to confront your spouse with what you know or suspect about their sexual sin. Or, if facts are in the open but your spouse won’t take action to change, it’s time to confront them with what must happen next. And how they handle the confrontation will guide your response.
How to respond if your spouse repents and wants help
If your spouse responds with godly sorrow and repentance, you can voice the need for specialized recovery counseling. From this point, it’s a long but direct road to healing and restoration. After your spouse agrees to act on the three non-negotiables we mentioned last month, you’ll begin the counseling process.
How to respond if your spouse makes promises but returns to damaging behavior
If your spouse continues their damaging behavior, it’s time to stage an intervention. A formal intervention affirms the serious nature of your spouse’s sin and shows that your concerns are valid.
The first step is to meet with a small group of people who love and care about you and your spouse. They need to understand that you’re doing this in an effort to save your marriage, not to seek revenge by revealing your spouse’s secrets.
When the day of intervention comes, talk to your spouse clearly, lovingly, and respectfully about their destructive behavior. Your immediate goal is for them to agree to treatment, which should begin sooner rather than later. (Don’t be surprised if your spouse consents to treatment in front of everyone and later withdraws it. One part of them may want to stop their compulsive habit, but another part can’t let it go.)
How to respond if your spouse denies their problem and refuses to cooperate
A temporary separation can open your spouse’s eyes to the seriousness of their actions. You could say, Either we deal with this by getting counseling together right away, or you will have to look for another place to live until you’re ready to help solve this problem. Work with a counselor and be prepared to follow through if your spouse still refuses to change.
If it comes to that and they refuse to move out, you may have no choice but to move out yourself. Let your spouse know where you can be contacted and make it clear that you’ll ready to resume negotiations as soon as they’re willing.
How to respond if your spouse never repents
A separation can lead to great redemption if a wayward spouse will embrace it. But the fact remains that they might permanently refuse to renounce their sin. If, when, and how to release someone to the rebellion they’ve chosen is a matter of wise biblical counsel and walking closely with the Holy Spirit. If you find yourself at that crossroads, remember that your recovery is still entirely possible with God.
These principles are drawn from the book Aftershock: Overcoming His Secret Life with Pornography—A Plan for Recovery by Joann Condie and Geremy Keeton.
Next month: The Road to Recovery