After discovering that one’s partner was in sexual sin, many people ask detailed questions about that sin. Many people, wanting to be honest during their restoration, give all the information that is demanded of them. However, knowing so many details can delay the healing process, and create unnecessary harm. On the other hand, a person’s refusal to reveal details may be interpreted as a sign that they are not repentant, or that they are lying. Therefore, you must wisely navigate this time of asking and receiving answers.
Pray to be guided by the Holy Spirit and not by your fears. That you be guided to ask the questions that lead to the restoration, and indicates you how to avoid the information that poisons you. The guidance of a counselor will also help you avoid injuries and mistakes in the process.
Before asking your partner for details, consider these ideas:
When you should NOT ask for details
- When they feed your desire to avenge yourself.
I know a woman who promised her husband that she would be with a man for every woman he had been with – and she fulfilled it. The information she obtained did not serve for restoration, but caused her to sink into sin. Many people are left with a twisted desire for justice after hearing the confession of their spouse. Revenge against your partner, or the people you were with, will add more sin to an already complicated situation. In doing so, you will usurp the functions that God reserves for himself. “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.”
- When you do it to gain control.
It is understandable the desire to ask to take away the feeling of being naive. But many people use the information to control their partner: “You no longer have permission to go out with friends”. “Your boss has to call me to report that you came to the office”. “You have no right to use the Internet”. I can assure you that no one has ever changed their heart by means of punishment and control. Only Christ changes the heart. On another occasion, we will comment on the limits, which is a matter that has to do with sticking to the core values of the Gospel, and is not the same as the use of rules and prohibitions.
- When they hurt your identity.
If you discover that the details you receive cause you to compare yourself with your partner’s lovers, or that you feel increasingly despicable, stop immediately. That does not come from the Holy Spirit. If you can’t identify how learning about a specific detail can build you up, it may be better not to ask.
When you should ask for details.
- When your health is at risk.
A man who I advised discovered his wife’s infidelity the day he took her to the doctor for a urinary tract infection. The doctor told him: “Your wife actually has severe venereal diseases. It is necessary that you talk honestly with her about the type of sexual activity she has had with other people, because if they have been high-risk activities, you may be infected”. The difficult information that he heard helped him start medical treatment the same day. Not all cases may be so extreme, but this case shows that certain details about sexual activity can be important if you suspect that you have been infected with a disease.
- When it is useful to evaluate the extent of sin.
The steps that you will take to recover will depend on the frequency and nature of your partner’s sexual sin. Has it been an occasional fight or is it a daily relapse? Has your partner been consuming heterosexual or homosexual pornography? You can ask if sexual sin have resulted in legal or financial problems, or if there is an unwanted pregnancy. Getting this kind of information can help you take steps ranging from installing an internet filter at home, to hiring an attorney to guide you through child support proceedings.
- When the information helps you to reconcile.
One principle that helps a lot is that “forgiveness is specific to specific acts”. You may not make progress in freeing your aggressors, because you have done it in a general way: “I forgive everyone for what they did to me”. God shows us in the Bible a model in which forgiveness is specific to individuals by individual acts. If you get details about your partner’s sin, be sure to turn it into acts of forgiveness against your aggressor: “I forgive my sister for having hidden that she had seen my boyfriend with someone else”. “I forgive my husband for taking the tuition money to buy pornography, “etc.
In conclusion, make sure that the information you request is for mutual edification, and that it has a purpose. Finally, reflect on this idea:
“Think well about the questions you are going to ask your partner. You will have to live with the answers for the rest of your life. “