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Marriage Accountability

Confronting Your Spouse about a Sin Issue

by Ali Royann

Dear Ali,
How do I go about confronting my spouse about a sin issue? I want to help but am not sure how to address the situation.

Concerned Christian in Virginia

Dear Concerned Christian,

It’s not easy to confront a spouse about difficult topics, but it is necessary in order to have a healthy functioning marriage. Sweeping serious issues under the rug will lead to worse problems that encourage bitterness, resentment, and discontentment in the relationship. Marriage is a union of two imperfect, sinful people. If we come into marriage comparing our relationship with what we see in the movies or read in novels, we set ourselves up for unrealistic expectations that will breed disappointment.

Sweeping serious issues under the rug will lead to worse problems.

Before rushing into a conversation, I encourage you to bathe the situation in prayer. Charging into a confrontation thoughtlessly can bring the wrong tone and attitude. Seek godly wisdom first to be sure your heart and mind are in the right posture. Respect for your spouse is not based on whether they deserve it but is a reflection of our obedience to God.

Be certain what you are about to discuss is actually a sin and not just a different perspective. We may not always agree with how our spouse acts, thinks, or makes decisions, but that doesn’t mean it is sinful. Examine your own heart as well for any sin issues you have not dealt with. The tendency to rank some sin worse than others can cause us to push our own faults and failures aside. In God’s eyes, any sin is an offense.

Plan your conversation ahead of time. Bringing up a weighty topic if your spouse has had a difficult day or is not feeling well is not fair to them. Remember to address the sin and not make it a personal attack against your spouse. Sin is the enemy. Be clear and listen to your spouse as they respond. If they become defensive or shut down the conversation, let them know you would be willing to talk about this at a different time when they are ready.

Above all, love your spouse.

Be ready to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean that trust has been restored. It is a response to the forgiveness we receive through Christ. Work on ways to rebuild the trust and communication that may have been lost. Accountability between spouses is a wonderful way to be transparent with one another and provide an opportunity for honest dialogue about all areas of life. If there is no desire for repentance from your spouse, then wise counsel should be sought out.

Above all, love your spouse. Marriage is a duty you took on at the wedding altar for life! Being able to face difficult situations together as a unified team will make your relationship stronger and draw you closer together.

Yours in accountability,

“Ask Ali” is an op-ed column answering common questions about accountability and related topics.

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