I’ve seen so many spouses needlessly unintentionally hurt by a “truth dump” perpetrated by a guilty-feeling spouse. The guilty spouse feels the need to alleviate a guilty conscience and so they tell their spouse about an infidelity, giving hurtful details that create sickening images and feelings of shame and despair. It needs to stop. And not sharing right away is counter-intuitive. The feelings of relief that the guilty party feels by sharing are intensely gratifying and last about as long as it takes their spouse time to respond to their confession.
I am not saying that confession shouldn’t occur. I am saying that there needs to be careful evaluation of the
motivation for the confession. There is a difference in my letting you know something for you and my letting you and our relationship and telling you something to “get it off my conscience.” Most people are not capable of making this determination without a trusted advisor.
In addition, there are issues surrounding what to share, and perhaps questions need to be asked giving the partner the freedom not to hear certain details or ask for more details. Where are the boundaries? What is healthy? What is merely a selfish “truth dump?”
Sometimes we feel guilty about our thoughts. When we share these things with a partner we can make things worse. Rarely is it wise to tell a spouse that you have been “lusting after another.” Confession needs to be made, and you have not sinned against your spouse by having these thoughts. Rather you have sinned against yourself and God. You may need to tell someone; you probably do. Telling your spouse this though, is ill conceived and more os a sin than the lustful thoughts themselves. You are failing to consider their feelings. You are harming them and not loving them at all.
If you feel guilty about your actions and you violated trust with your spouse, and are keeping the secret, you will need to talk with them. I
t is wise to talk to someone else first. It is also wise to ask and listen first to find out what your spouse wants to hear. For example, telling them that you slept with their best friend in the Holiday Inn Express room #214, after a romantic dinner at the Fancy Restaurant you’ve always wanted to visit, and you were wearing a green mini dress and he had on an amazing cologne and smelt so good. He had washboard abs and really listened to you when you shared what you were feeling. You had sex three times in the afternoon and evening; on the bed and in the in-room hot tub, probably is creating a hurtful picture that your husband doesn’t want to hear.
Working with a therapist and/or sponsor; even talking with a dear friend to learn how and when to share is a much better course of action. As you pray on your knees for your spouse and your relationship, make certain that you are asking for the Spirit’s words to come out of your mouth. That you would have Spirit infused ears to listen to what your spouse has to say; that you would be able to not be defensive and would truly be able to love your spouse instead of yourself.
So please think and pray before you speak. Run your words be a trusted friend before you direct them at someone you love who could easily be hurt by them. And get the help you need to love them well.