cotopaxi

Depression, pornography, and marriage...

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3 hours ago, zomarah said:

 

 

i can see that this was adultery or fornication in the heart. But I'm still not seeing where that qualifies as being against his wife.

Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

He was disloyal to his wife and he needs to set things right.

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1 hour ago, zomarah said:

Since when is treating someone differently a sin?

No offense taken. I hope you don't take offense to my reply either. I think rereading my previous post might be helpful in this instance. 

I think you have confused yourself and/or perhaps heard what you wanted to hear. When we have sinned, part of repentance is restitution. Restitution is required to those that we have hurt with our sin. Repentance minus restitution, when possible, isn't really repentance at all. In the case of "pornography", the use of pornography is a sin, and coming clean to your wife is part of the restitution needed to fully repent for that sin.

3 minutes ago, zomarah said:

Was the wife hurt by the sin? If so how? What physical/emotional pain was caused?

See below for starters...

3 hours ago, NeedleinA said:

Without going into graphic detail, some of the net results of pornography use that a spouse would notice in the user... 
1. Lack of attraction, spouse's appearance doesn't compare to others in the movies
2. Lack of desire to be intimate, needs were already met
3. More controlling, pornography teaches abstract views of submissiveness
4. Less patience, pornography teaches instant satisfaction
5. Retraction in the spiritual, pornography kills the spirit 


 

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4 minutes ago, Latter-Day Marriage said:

Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

He was disloyal to his wife and he needs to set things right.

As I read the OP, 'tseems he was not married when the offense occurred.

Lehi

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On 5/17/2016 at 4:31 PM, cotopaxi said:

For a few years before I got married, and a few years after I got married, I would use pornography

2 minutes ago, LeSellers said:

As I read the OP, 'tseems he was not married when the offense occurred.

Lehi

 

 

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1 minute ago, NeedleinA said:
On 5/17/2016 at 3:31 PM, cotopaxi said:

For a few years before I got married, and a few years after I got married, I would use pornography

3 minutes ago, LeSellers said:

As I read the OP, 'tseems he was not married when the offense occurred.

Lehi

 

Okeh. I see it now.

Lehi

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20 minutes ago, zomarah said:

Was the wife hurt by the sin? If so how? What physical/emotional pain was caused?

Ask any wife of someone using porn and they will break it down...  View any of the hundreds of threads on this very forum where wives come here in clear distress about their spouses habits...

The proof you ask for simply requires you to look and listen...

 

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Elder Richard G Scott, April 2000 General Conf.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2000/04/the-sanctity-of-womanhood?lang=eng


"A husband must have no private, hidden agenda that is kept secret from his wife. Sharing everything about each other’s personal life is powerful spiritual insurance...One of the most damning influences on earth, one that has caused uncountable grief, suffering, heartache, and destroyed marriages is the onslaught of pornography in all of its vicious, corroding, destructive forms. Whether it be through the printed page, movies, television, obscene lyrics, the telephone, or on a flickering personal computer screen, pornography is overpoweringly addictive and severely damaging. This potent tool of Lucifer degrades the mind, heart, and the soul of any who use it. All who are caught in its seductive, tantalizing web and remain so, will become addicted to its immoral, destructive influence. For many, that addiction cannot be overcome without help. The tragic pattern is so familiar. It begins with a curiosity that is fueled by its stimulation and is justified by the false premise that when done privately, it does no harm to anyone else. Lulled by this lie, the experimentation goes deeper, with more powerful stimulations, until the web closes and a terribly immoral, addictive habit is formed.  How can a man, particularly a priesthood bearer, not think of the damage emotionally and spiritually caused to women, especially to a wife, from such abhorrent activity? The participation in pornography in any of its lurid forms is a manifestation of unbridled selfishness."

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1 hour ago, Latter-Day Marriage said:

(Question:) How can a man, particularly a priesthood bearer, not think of the damage emotionally and spiritually caused to women, especially to a wife, from such abhorrent activity? 

(Answer:) 
Elder L. Whitney Clayton:  "Along with losing the Spirit, pornography users also lose perspective and proportion."
Elder Dallin H. Oaks: "Pornography impairs one's ability to enjoy a normal emotional, romantic and spiritual relationship with a person of the opposite sex... It impairs decision-making capacities"

There are wonderful members of the church who struggle with pornography, some even right here on this forum. We pray for one another as we each fight our own personal battles and do the best we can. As we strive to choose the right, may we not let the Father of all Lies deceive us into thinking that the issue of pornography doesn't affect others around us, especially our spouses.

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4 hours ago, zomarah said:

I suppose if it appears I'm twisting myself in knots it just means I haven't been clear enough.
 

Adultery/Fornication is not a sin against the wife. And you cannot say that she was sinned against when A)the sin was not against her, B) she had no knowledge of the sin. Had she known at the time, then perhaps she would have been hurt, but that is just a hypothetical; and you aren't held accountable for hypothetical sins. Repentance does not require redress where there was no wrong. This means that the OP has no reason* to confess anything to his wife in order to repent. However, if confessing the now repented of sin does hurt her, then the sin is in telling her of it.

Now, concerning secrets being shouted from the rooftops, I agree. But Christ's atonement washes away our sins and they are remembered no more. If the OP has truly repented of his sin then it will be remembered no more and there will be no more secret thing to be made known.

*Apply generous amounts of Ask-The-Lord-What-You-Should-Do here.

Adultery/Fornication absolutely is a sin against the wife.  It is a breaking of a sacred covenant made with her (and God).  It is taking what is rightfully hers and giving it to somebody else.  I can guarantee you that a whatever church discipline that comes from it won't be lifted without a confession to the wife being part of the repentance.  Likewise, simply not knowing about it doesn't change a thing, it is the act that is the sin, not the confession of the sin, and the act is a sin no mater whether the wife knows it happened or not.  Third, it is a lot of double talk to say on one hand don't tell her because it will hurt her and doing it doesn't hurt her.  You don't get to decide how somebody ought to feel.  She wouldn't be feeling hurt out of cultural conditioning, she would feel hurt because something truly hurtful was done to her and if you don't realize that you are deluding yourself.  Adultery happens in the heart before it happens in the bed and porn is adultery without intercourse.

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6 hours ago, zomarah said:

I apologize, my comment was directed at this specific situation, not pornography use in general.

If you accept that Porn can... and generally does harm the spouse...  Then we have to accept that in a case of limited information (like forum posts) we have to respond based on generalities...

Now is it possible that his wife has already mastered the Christ-like levels of understanding and forgiveness that make the whole situation moot...In that case why would he not share his weakness with his spouse so he can gain additional support?  The reason is simple most people (men and women) aren't there yet... and it generally requires a life long painful struggle to get there. (Kind of the point for being here).  If it takes a life time of painful struggles to gain Christ-like attributes then it is a life well spent.

Hiding it to "protect" the spouse is using a short-sighted and selfish definition of "protection."  It also leads to deception.  Why?  Because at some point in the marriage porn and its use will come up.  Will the Lord justify his deception to her about his past just because he repented or will he require truthfulness?  (I think the scriptural answer is quite clear)

So the question for the faithful follower of Christ who has repented isn't... should they reveal their past.... it a matter of when they reveal...  And generally speaking sooner is better then later, and voluntarily is better then some situation that might be taken as compelling 

 

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To the OP, I think you need to follow the spirit first and foremost. 

That said, my personal opinion is if your level of pornography usage means being disfellowshiped, then of course you need to confess to your wife. 


If you've confessed this to the proper authorities and have taken the sacrament and are temple worthy, then perhaps you should repent for your lack of faith and understanding of the gospel. NOT ALL SINS need or ought to be shouted from the roof tops.

I feel that men who deal with this issue need to "man up" and "own up" and that does not involve going and whining, seeking comfort and whether you intend to or not, blaming your spouse for your problem. You might feel something like a hero after confessing this, and while you turn around and pat your righteous self on the back with a grin of satisfaction at your load unburdened, you ignorantly just dumped a whole heap of guilt, disgust, insecurity and shame on your wife. 

There are many burdens a husband and wife must bear together, but this is one that might prove too much and for what? So you feel less guilty? Rather then unload it on your spouse, use that guilt to drive you to be more tender, more dedicated and more true to your wife.

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9 minutes ago, Windseeker said:

I feel that men who deal with this issue need to "man up" and "own up" and that does not involve going and whining, seeking comfort and whether you intend to or not, blaming your spouse for your problem. You might feel something like a hero after confessing this, and while you turn around and pat your righteous self on the back with a grin of satisfaction at your load unburdened, you ignorantly just dumped a whole heap of guilt, disgust, insecurity and shame on your wife. 

There are many burdens a husband and wife must bear together, but this is one that might prove too much and for what? So you feel less guilty? Rather then unload it on your spouse, use that guilt to drive you to be more tender, more dedicated and more true to your wife.

And when you keep it back... the fruit of that tree is deception, lies, dishonesty, shame...  The fruit should tell you that it is not a good tree...

If you dump it on your wife thinking it becomes better or for other selfish reasons... You will quickly see that is not a good idea...  You tell your wife because it needs to be done and the pain and suffering that follows is a natural consequence of trying to get right and growing and learning to do better

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I don't believe my wife is deceiving me or lying to me if she chooses not to confess all her sins to me. 

...and I can speak first hand to the fruits of telling a spouse about an infrequent pornography problem, abandoned by my wife, I get to hold my daughters hand by myself while she rests in the ICU after her second suicide attempt.

not all spouses have Christ-like levels of understanding and forgiveness.

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@zomarah

I think between @estradling75 , @Latter-Day Marriage and myself, we have outlined enough information to paint a clear picture of the issue.
If I'm understanding you correctly:

1. You agree that using pornography is a sin. 
2. Yet, you don't believe using pornography while married in any way hurts the spouse of the user.
3. Since it supposedly does not "hurt" the spouse, there is no reason to apologize to them once the user does decide to repent. 
4. Repenting of pornography while married only involves the offender and the Lord, but not the offended. 

If I am understanding your correctly, and you have some how convinced yourself that porn use does not affect/hurt your relationship with your spouse, then I'm sorry but we have major fundamental differences in our understandings of the effects of porn, what sin is, how to repent and ultimately what restitution really means. 

Having sat on many disciplinary councils, both Stake and Ward, your responses to this thread strike me as oh too familiar. They come across almost word for word as someone who has struggled with porn themselves. Struggled to the point of doing everything in their power to "justify" things in their mind and not to take "full" responsibility for it, only "half" responsibility. Giving the outward appearance of full repentance, they wrestle the subject in their minds until they can find what they think is a gospel loophole to excuse themselves from the demands of justice. They hear what they want to hear, what sounds pleasing unto themselves and rationalize that they have not hurt others. Those who can not get over this hump, rather than listen to Church counsel, then produce statements like, "The subject of marriage, adultery, fornication etc has been a subject of my research for some time...Church disciplinary councils may do what they want. According to my own experience they are hardly indicative of the Lord's will." 

If I had to guess, it would not surprise me in the least to find out, that this subject isn't simply one of curiosity, but rather something that is very personal to you for a personal reason. 

I will respond in a moment: Why is talking to the spouse important/required?

Edited by NeedleinA

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10 hours ago, zomarah said:

The key to this verse is the word adultery. Since adultery is becoming one flesh with another man's wife. That means that the “woman” mentioned in the verse must be married. If not, then the sin committed in the heart would be something else. So what is condemned here is not sexually desiring just any woman. It is sexually desiring a married woman. If the woman being sexually desired is not married then it is not adultery.

Your definition of adultery is wrong.  The True to The Faith book says, "The Ten Commandments include the command that we not commit adultery, which is sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband."

The woman in the verse doesn't necessarily have to be married for it to be adultery.  If the man were married and the woman not married, it would also be adultery. 

 

 

In the LDS guide to the scriptures on lds.org ( https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/adultery?lang=eng) it says this about Adultery: "The unlawful sexual association of men and women. Although adultery generally refers to sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse, in the scriptures it may also refer to the unmarried. "

 

Quote

Suppose the woman was not married and the man became one flesh with her. She has not previously been one flesh with another so she is now the wife of the man. Whether the man is married or single it makes no difference. In the case of a married man he still has not sinned against her because there is no law against such.

In the Church today, that's not how marriage works.  Having sex with an unmarried person is NOT the performance of a marriage ceremony.  Marriage must be done beforehand.

 

Here's a scripture that teaches that a married man lusting after another woman (doesn't matter whether she's married or single) is sin:

D&C 42:22-23:  “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else. And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out.”

 

I suggest in your studies of these issues, you rely heavily on the basics such as these:

For the Strength of Youth : https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/sexual-purity?lang=eng

True to the Faith: https://www.lds.org/manual/true-to-the-faith/chastity?lang=eng

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Rather than just remove the duplicate post, I'll address the OP.

 

In my judgement you've received some good advice, but also lots of bad advice with false doctrine from both sides.  Use fasting, prayer, and possibly counsel with trusted priesthood leaders before talking to your wife if that's what you decide.  Proceed only if you feel it is best for her and best for your marriage at this time.

Edited by Rhoades
Duplicate

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24 minutes ago, Windseeker said:

I don't believe my wife is deceiving me or lying to me if she chooses not to confess all her sins to me. 

...and I can speak first hand to the fruits of telling a spouse about an infrequent pornography problem, abandoned by my wife, I get to hold my daughters hand by myself while she rests in the ICU after her second suicide attempt.

not all spouses have Christ-like levels of understanding and forgiveness.

No not all spouses have Christ-like levels of understanding and forgiveness...  In fact I would say very few men or women do....  That is part of the problem...  We learn how.. by doing...  And some will ultimately fail to do so.   This is sad but it is part of the test of this mortality that we are here on earth to do.

Sure you don't believe its a lie if her to you her prior sins have no meaning to your current life.   Most women I have met take the emotional, physical and mental faithfulness of their spouse very personally.... Your story about your wife is perfect example just how important it is and was to her.  She clearly would have/did view it as deception/lying.  She struggled with the call to be Christ-like in understanding and forgiveness...  That is her failing...  just like yours was yours

 

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2 hours ago, Windseeker said:

To the OP, I think you need to follow the spirit first and foremost. 

That said, my personal opinion is if your level of pornography usage means being disfellowshiped, then of course you need to confess to your wife. 


If you've confessed this to the proper authorities and have taken the sacrament and are temple worthy, then perhaps you should repent for your lack of faith and understanding of the gospel. NOT ALL SINS need or ought to be shouted from the roof tops.

I feel that men who deal with this issue need to "man up" and "own up" and that does not involve going and whining, seeking comfort and whether you intend to or not, blaming your spouse for your problem. You might feel something like a hero after confessing this, and while you turn around and pat your righteous self on the back with a grin of satisfaction at your load unburdened, you ignorantly just dumped a whole heap of guilt, disgust, insecurity and shame on your wife. 

There are many burdens a husband and wife must bear together, but this is one that might prove too much and for what? So you feel less guilty? Rather then unload it on your spouse, use that guilt to drive you to be more tender, more dedicated and more true to your wife.

The OP has handled the repentance process in my opinion.  I am in the camp of don't tell.  No one benefits.  If the OP has truly repented (My personal opinion is that his level of pornography usage does not rise to the level of disfellowshipment) then he is done (home repentance plan).

If the OP wants to shatter his wife's trust, and wants to be miserable.....again....then by all means hurt her to assuage your guilt.   

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36 minutes ago, zomarah said:

I do not include sources such as scripture study guides, True to the Faith, For the Strength of Youth, etc. because I have no indication that they are authoritative on the issue

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the "the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth" (D&C 1:30)  It was in 1831 and it is now.  I sense you either don't believe this or you don't really grasp the "living" part.

 

Quote

But this, and many others, are excellent questions to take to the Lord.

It's important to know that one of the ways the Lord answers such questions and gives us knowledge is through apostles and prophets. (Ephesians 4:11)  The scriptures teach this and provide many examples.  If you don't eventually come to realize this, you'll be left in the dark.

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5 hours ago, zomarah said:

I think our disagreement largely boils down to a disagreement on the definition of adultery.

Your interpretations are historically correct, and, for the most part, I agree with them.

However (and you knew there was going to be a "but"), the definition of adultery is immaterial. We don't covenant to not adulterate. We covenant to obey the Law of Chastity, "which is … ." (You know the rest, I assume.) It's not about "sex", per se, but about fidelity to one's spouse (or, for those to whom it applied, spouses).

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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On 5/18/2016 at 10:32 AM, zomarah said:

sounds like you have repented(i.e. completely changed the behaviour). In which case, I wouldn't tell her. You've repented, it's gone.

On 5/18/2016 at 11:51 AM, omegaseamaster75 said:

DON'T DO IT!  I don't understand the need for full disclosure (not in this case),

5 hours ago, Windseeker said:

There are many burdens a husband and wife must bear together, but this is one that might prove too much and for what? So you feel less guilty? 

2 hours ago, mdfxdb said:

I am in the camp of don't tell.  No one benefits.  

While I can appreciate the sentiment that all of you are trying to express, "shelter the wife and help her avoid future pain", those that only follow this line of thinking are fundamentally missing the point of why he should be telling her to begin with. 

It appears we are only focused on the possible/probable "future pain", and that we are creating a convenient excuse for not apologizing for "past pain". Talking to his wife is first and foremost for her benefit, not his. A chance to help make her whole again, you know the person that was actually wronged during the marriage. Him being able to offload his personal guilt is only secondary, but not the primary purpose. Restitution is about making right/helping/healing the "other" person. By healing the other person, the sinner is then able to truly unburden himself of his guilt. By not telling his wife, he is doing a disservice to both parties. 

I think the hold up for most people is the subject matter involved. The matter of pornography is a subject that hits home for many people, and as such we look for any possible loophole we can find. We are human, I get it. If we were talking about a wife not knowing about her husband's past drug abuse problem during their marriage, I think most of us would have a much clearer perspective on how we would handle things.

The wife deserves and is entitled to an apology, an apology for his: spiritual absence, his physical absence while off viewing porn, his diminished affection towards her, his decline in patience and long suffering with her, his reduced tenderness during intimacy, his desire to place his needs above hers, etc. etc. 

If he didn't actually hurt her during the time of his porn use (which appears to be the defense), why then the fear to tell her about it all? If she wasn't hurt then, why would she be hurt now? Hurt from what? Either the porn user was so incredibly good at hiding things that the wife had absolutely zero clue...OR...she always knew/felt something was off/wrong but she couldn't figure it out, and so she blamed herself instead for all those years. Why aren't I a better wife? I wish I was more attractive? I must have done something wrong because he is short tempered with me again, etc. 

One school of thought is: Don't tell her ever.
The other school of thought is: Do tell her at some point. She deserves an apology. There are wiser/smarter times than others to have this conversation. I would suggest the best time to do it is when the Spirit tells you, "this is the time". If the OP says "I feel like I need to talk to her", then who are any of us to tell him not to?

Everyone benefits from this apology. While we might measure the success or lack thereof only by the immediate or short term feedback, we need to view this in the eternal perspective. In the long run it is better for both parties.

Edited by NeedleinA

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4 minutes ago, NeedleinA said:

While I can appreciate the sentiment that all of you are trying to express, "shelter the wife and help her avoid future pain", those that only follow this line of thinking are fundamentally missing the point of why he should be telling her to begin with. 

It appears we are only focused on the possible/probable "future pain", and that we are creating a convenient excuse for not apologizing for "past pain". Talking to his wife is first and foremost for her benefit, not his. A chance to help make her whole again, you know the person that was actually wronged during the marriage. Him being able to offload his personal guilt is only secondary, but not the primary purpose. Restitution is about making right/helping/healing the "other" person. By healing the other person, the sinner is then able to truly unburden himself of his guilt. By not telling his wife, he is doing a disservice to both parties. 

I think the hold up for most people is the subject matter involved. The matter of pornography is a subject that hits home for many people, and as such we look for any possible loophole we can find. We are human, I get it. If we were talking about a wife not knowing about her husband's past drug abuse problem during their marriage, I think most of us would have a much clearer perspective on how we would handle things.

The wife deserves and is entitled to an apology, an apology for his: spiritual absence, his physical absence while off viewing porn, his diminished affection towards her, his decline in patience and long suffering with her, his reduced tenderness during intimacy, his desire to place his needs above hers, etc. etc. 

If he didn't actually hurt her during the time of his porn use (which appears to be the defense), why then the fear to tell her about it all? If she wasn't hurt then, why would she be hurt now? Hurt from what? Either the porn user was so incredibly good at hiding things that the wife had absolutely zero clue...OR...she always knew/felt something was off/wrong but she couldn't figure it out, and so she blamed herself instead for all those years. Why aren't I a better wife? I wish I was more attractive? I must have done something wrong because is short tempered with me again, etc. 

One school of thought is: Don't tell her ever.
The other school of thought is: Do tell her at some point. She deserves an apology. There are wiser/smarter times than others to have this conversation. I would suggest the best time to do it is when the Spirit tells you, "this is the time". If the OP says "I feel like I need to talk to her", then who are any of us to tell him not to?

Everyone benefits from this apology. While we might measure the success or lack thereof only by the immediate or short term feedback, we need to view this in the eternal perspective. In the long run it is better for both parties.

You don't know he was physically absent.  Maybe he did this while she wasn't around, maybe she was off doing something else and he found his time when he could get it.  You don't know his tenderness was reduced, or his affection was reduced.  If he was a young man at the time, his porn viewing may have had zero impact on their sex life from her perspective.  The OP doesn't state that she had a grievance during that time, only that he feels compelled to confess to her.  

No one benefits from this apology.  The OP has repented, he hasn't repeated the sin, he doesn't desire to repeat the sin.  It's OVER bringing this stuff up only hurts people.  His wife, his kids, his marriage.  

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7 minutes ago, mdfxdb said:

You don't know he was physically absent.  Maybe he did this while she wasn't around, maybe she was off doing something else and he found his time when he could get it.  You don't know his tenderness was reduced, or his affection was reduced.  If he was a young man at the time, his porn viewing may have had zero impact on their sex life from her perspective.  The OP doesn't state that she had a grievance during that time, only that he feels compelled to confess to her.  

No one benefits from this apology.  The OP has repented, he hasn't repeated the sin, he doesn't desire to repeat the sin.  It's OVER bringing this stuff up only hurts people.  His wife, his kids, his marriage.  

If someone functions at 100% with or without porn, why stop then? Why repent? If no one is getting hurt, great! - lets all watch porn, what is the difference?

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I don’t know your wife. So imma throw my lot in with those who say to pray about it and do as the Spirit directs. However, if it were me, I would want to know. If my husband came to me and said here’s what I did wrong, here’s what I did to make it right, and here’s how long it’s been since I’ve done it, that would foster in me nothing but respect and even trust. In fact, something similar has happened in my marriage (not with pornography, it was something else). And I was hurt, but mostly because he felt like he needed to shelter me from it for so long. This was a family/couple matter, and he felt like he needed to take care of it himself and then not talk about what was going on. I am a woman, but I’m not a baby. I’m a partner—a helpmeet—and I was hurt that he wouldn’t bring this matter to me so we could deal with it together.

We women get human nature. We have it too. I don’t know if your wife will see things this way, but that’s how I see it. I understand you’re dealing with some emotionally charged issues here. But, quite frankly, sexuality is a couples matter. As your wife, your sexuality is her business just as hers is yours. Every couple out there has had issues and things to talk about regarding this aspect of marriage. A wife deserves to know what your struggles and issues have been, even if they are in the past.

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