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Do I have to confess my adultery to my spouse?

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Question: "Do I have to confess my adultery to my spouse?"

Whether or not to confess the sin of adultery to one’s spouse is a dilemma for many Christians who have had the unfortunate experience of the sin of adultery. Worldly "experts" usually encourage adulterers to keep their mouths shut about their infidelities, proclaiming worse damage will be done by confessing. The problem with this is that it stifles one’s conscience and doesn’t allow for the restoration of relationships that confession is intended to encompass. James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."

The apostle Paul wisely stated, "So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man" (Acts 24:16). Although adultery is a sin against God, first and foremost, the Bible also says that our bodies do not belong to ourselves, but also to the one we are married to (1 Corinthians 7:4). The physical act of sex is the symbol of the way a married couple becomes one flesh when God joins them together in marriage (1 Corinthians 6:15-16). For these reasons, a person who has committed adultery should pray and allow the Holy Spirit to lead him or her, confessing the infidelity at the appropriate time.

A guilty conscience will not go away simply by trying to ignore it. It may, in fact, lead to psychological and even physical problems. As difficult as it would be for anyone to tell their husband or wife that they have been unfaithful, it is necessary not only for the integrity of the marriage, but also for the relationship between the person and God, so that their conscience may be clear and they will be able to live a holy and blameless life.

Recommended Resource: Surviving an Affair by Willard Harley

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What should be the response of a Christian whose spouse has had an affair?

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How should a Christian spouse handle an adulterous affair that has resulted in a child?

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Do I have to confess my adultery to my spouse?

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