I can think of no more difficult season in our marriage than when we both had to confess sins.
Some were against each other. Some were committed without the other knowing anything at all. Some happened before we were married. Yet God compelled us to come clean by confessing our sins, so that we might be restored.
On our wedding day we weren’t thinking about the reality that our “Prince Charming” or our “Beauty Queen” was actually a sinner saved by grace. When we said “I do” we were committing to being loving and faithful to each other even when sin sought to separate us.
“Marriage is the union of two people who arrive toting the luggage of life. And that luggage always contains sin.”
― Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say “I Do”: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage
The best way to combat sin is by exposing it; It likes to hide in the dark; It likes to keep secrets; It likes to divide.
But God has called us to be united in love. He did a miracle on our wedding day by taking two and making us one flesh. We believe this isn’t just a sweet metaphor, but an actual bonding that takes place in the spiritual realm that is consummated in the physical realm when we make love for the first time on our wedding night.
When we sin against our spouse in various ways, it requires complete honesty with the other to make things right.
This is never easy because the confession will bring with it pain and hurt to the unsuspecting spouse. You know things will get worse before they get better, but this is true with so many other areas of life–i.e. surgery, dental procedures, etc. The pain is part of the cure.
I remember when Tom and I went through this for the first time. It was during our third year of marriage and I was pregnant with our first child. We were at a place in our relationship where we were either going to grow more intimate by being gut-level honest or grow more distant by hiding from being truly known. Intimacy is born through honest communication. I’m grateful that God led us to be honest. He ordered our steps–the hard ones that we thought were out of control at the time–so that we would come to a place of deeper intimacy.
When there is unconfessed sin in a relationship, it usually begins with conflict that is unexplainable.
You get into an argument over something that seems like nothing and you’re left shaking your head saying, “What just happened?”
“Blame-shifting is what I do when I basically know I’m guilty and am just trying to convince myself or someone else that maybe I’m not.” – Dave Harvey
This is often an indicator of a guilty conscience. Sin likes to build smoke screens to distract the other spouse from discovering it. Our encouragement to any marriage going through similar circumstances is to pray. God is our Good Shepherd, and He knows all the hidden things. Ask Him to help you love your spouse when things don’t seem to be going well. Ask Him to reveal any hidden sin, and ask your spouse the hard questions too.
It’s important to know that your spouse is committed to the marriage no matter how difficult the trial. When Tom and I married we both said that divorce would never be an option. When we faced trouble we knew we had to work it through or be miserable. It is this conviction that helped us stay the course when many others would have chosen to quit.
And you know what? We discovered that on the other side of confessed and repented sin is a deeper intimacy.
Our love grew and matured. It was no longer us grasping for a happy ending fairy tale, but we were experiencing real love worked out through real pain.
Have you experienced a similar time in your marriage? If so, you know what we’re talking about. Maybe you’re in the midst of the pain and trying to figure out what is happening. Don’t let yourself buy into the lie that you’re the only one who has ever gone through this. Any Christian couple who has been married for decades most likely has stories of seasons where they had to confess sins to their spouse. The enemy would love you to believe you’re the only one. He would love for you to question why you should stay in such a relationship. But please, lean into your spouse! The intimacy that follows confession is worth the pain it takes to get there.
(NOTE: If you’re in an abusive relationship, please get outside help. No one should ever endure such treatment.)
When Sinners Say I Do, by Dave Harvey
What Should I Tell My Spouse About My Sexual Sin?, CCEF
- When there is unconfessed sin in a relationship, it usually begins with conflict that is unexplainable. http://wp.me/ptlJr-31v
- “Marriage is the union of two people who arrive toting the luggage of life. And it always contains sin.” Dave Harvey http://wp.me/ptlJr-31v
- It’s important to know that your spouse is committed to the marriage no matter how difficult the trial. http://wp.me/ptlJr-31v
- Don’t let yourself buy into the lie that you’re the only one who has ever gone through this. http://wp.me/ptlJr-31v
- When we sin against our spouse in various ways, it requires complete honesty with the other to make things right. http://wp.me/ptlJr-31v
- Our love was no longer a happy ending fairy tale, but we were experiencing real love worked out through real pain. http://wp.me/ptlJr-31v
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Wow, it is so difficult to be honest with your spouse and tell them things that you know will hurt them. It is so important to do it, even though you know it will hurt them.
Yes, Keelie. It is one of the hardest things to do, but one of the most beneficial when done in the right way. It has to be said with the highest regard for the person hearing the confession, not in a dumping kind of way just to ease your conscience. Our advice is to pray for God’s help!
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