How Do I Forgive My Spouse Who Betrayed Me in a Sexual Addiction?

Spouse holding hands

The devastating fallout of sexual addictions is de-stabilizing and wreaking havoc on the average American family. It’s been reported that 50% of all men and 30 % of all women have an active engagement with pornographic material (and here’s the sad truth, most studies show that it’s not much different in the Church).

We’ve traded real, heart-to-heart intimacy with a pathetic counterfeit that is ripping the souls of men and women out and slowly killing the humanity right out of their own chest. It’s like a kid sucking on a hard piece of sugared cyanide….it tastes good for a moment but it always leads to death.

How can the “sinned against” spouse find forgiveness and hope in the midst of such devastating pain? I would suggest 3 truths that you must embrace if you seek to find relational healing from someone who has sexually betrayed you.

#1- You must not be-little the personal pain or become compliant with the dysfunctional.

Addicted people create new normals…and they are CRAZY, CHAOTIC normals. Addicts know how to make victims (those they’ve sinned against) become the perpetrators. Addicts know how to manipulate situations and people to get what they want most while guarding against any loss or fear.

If you’ve been sinned against by a loved one through a sexual addiction it’s imperative that you find a healthy place to really share that hurt and eventually you must share it with the one who hurt you.

#2- You need to own your emotion, your attitude and your commitment to the relationship.

So many spouses come into my office talking about; “well, if spouse only changed…”. Well here’s the rough news…you can’t change your spouse, you can only change one half of the marriage, yourself.

You bring half of the culture that your marriage is made up of, so what are you bringing to that half? Contempt, anger, rage, bitterness and frustration or do you bring patience, love, grace, kindness, etc? Nobody influences your marriage more than you do, the question is, how are you influencing it?

#3- Forgiveness is ultimately about God

Paul gives these important admonitions to a local Church in Ephesus and he says this:

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you,
along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.”

Couple healing from Sexual AddictionThe Apostle Paul says…”Forgive” and notice the logic. It’s not that we forgive because “people are good” or “that idiot finally changed”. No, it’s VERTICAL before it’s ever HORIZONTAL. We forgive because we’ve been forgiven. We love because we’ve been loved. We accept because we’ve been accepted.

The only way you’ll ever truly forgive someone who has deeply hurt you is when you come to grips with how deeply you’ve hurt God and how amazing it is that He (the God of the universe) does not hold it against you. When, and only when, you come to grips with this AMAZING grace will your life blossom into a conduit of grace not just conduit of judgment.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

What has kept you from extending forgiveness in your relationship with your spouse?

Pastor Ryan Moffet family photoAbout the Author:

Ryan Moffat is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR

Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 17, 2017
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About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.