So what are you going to do now?

What do you think you ought to do?

Do you feel bad about it?

Are you trying to avoid the thought about it and put it in the past? 

Maybe you think, “I’ll feel bad about it today, but I’m going to do some good things for my wife and make up for it.  Then I won’t feel so bad.” 

Or you think if you push it away you’ll feel less guilty about it tomorrow.  Has that been your strategy?

Maybe you don’t think it really matters.  It’s not that big of a deal.  She probably lied about things too.  I’ve done a lot worse things in the past.

Or the most popular thought:  “I know if I tell the truth it’s going to make things worse.  It’s better to lie and not tell her.”

These are all rationalizations. 

What You Think About Lying Isn’t That Important
Your beliefs about lying and experiences are not nearly as important as what God’s Word says.

Ephesians 4:25
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

Proverbs 12:22
The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

Psalm 51:6
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Can you see the simplicity of these?  Telling the truth is even the goal of one of the 10 Commandments: 

Exodus 20:16
You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

Eliminate the question of “Does God think it’s OK?”  The answer:  no.

God wants you to be truthful.  He is Truth.  Any lie or cover-up is an affront to God’s standards, as well as your covenant with your wife.

What Do I Do Now?

I can’t tell you exactly how you need to confess to your wife, but here are some good principles: 

  1. Have THAT conversation with your spouse – Confess.  Be truthful.  It sucks, it’s hard, but it’s necessary for intimacy, closeness, connection and knowing each other.  Stop rationalizing.  Man up and own it!
  2. Or have THAT conversation with a counselor first – If there are patterns of lying, deep sexual sin, or adultery involved you probably need to talk to a counselor first.  They’re wise and have tools to help you.   
  3. Work toward full disclosure – You might think it’s easier to share a part, let your wife recover, then share more.  Not wise!  A friend of mine calls this “Death by 1000 Needles”.  It’s better to have one big disclosure than 60 mini disclosures.  Your wife will wonder, “What else is he not telling me about?” so it’s best to get it all out. 
  4. Don’t be defensive – Don’t rationalize your lies or push the blame on your wife.  Take responsibility and own it. 
  5. Answer your wife’s questions – It’s her turn to understand and make sense out of this.  She needs to know how much you were involved in (breath) and how deeply were you involved in your sins (depth). It’s not usually necessary or productive to share the “nitty gritty details”, but let a counselor help with this. 
  6. Give her space to be angry – To most wives, the deception and the hiding are worse than the actions themselves.  Give her room and time to process her feelings.
  7. Don’t school your wife on how she needs to react and feel – You’re best bet is to shut up, listen and pray.  Any feelings that come out now are good.  If they don’t come out, they will be bottled up and explode later in your relationship. 
  8. Work on your part – You can control your actions and your reactions.  Stick to these.  It’s one way you can show love to your wife.
  9. Follow-up – Be a man and lead the way in rebuilding trust and building your relationship.  She may have other feelings to get out.  You and she may need to see the counselor together.  There is always follow up to a confession.

Jeff Fisher is a blogger and podcaster living in Raleigh, North Carolina.  He and his wife run  Jeff’s podcast Top Tips For Sexual Purity Podcast (I-Tunes) is one of the more popular podcasts on sexual addiction recovery.