God continues to refine our methods, but here is what we believe He has shown us is the ideal way to begin the process. The couple typically comes because they are in crisis over the husband’s struggle with different forms of sexual acting out and of course deception. They have often met with other pastors, counselors and others who have attempted to guide them. Sometimes that guidance is helpful, sometimes it is actually counterproductive. By the time they get to us, the wife is usually at her wits end and doesn’t have any idea what to do with her pain or know what she can believe.
In the first session, We allow both individuals to describe where they are. The husband usually tells a little about his history with sexual sin. The wife typically describes how hurt she felt the first time she became aware of the problem, but how she was able to forgive and move on when he promised he wouldn’t do it again. She then describes the many times and ways she found out the problem was still ongoing as well as her pain from his many deceptions and even outright lies. She will often speak of his inability to connect to her and/or their children and describe her own struggle of believing Satan’s lie that it is somehow her fault.
We then explain our ministry. We show the husband the New Hope For Sexual Integrity manual and describe to him, in his wife’s presence, the process we have found so powerful for recovery. We emphasize the absolute importance of attending groups and making relational connections with others in recovery.
We talk frankly about the absolute necessity of coming clean with his wife. He has hurt her in many ways and he owes her the truth. We explain our position that we believe a man needs to confess the breadth and depth of his sexual sins against her, but that he should not burden her with specific details. The reason for full disclosure is, if there is going to be true intimacy, there must first be forgiveness and that forgiveness must be complete. After all, if you owed someone $10,000 but they were misinformed and only thought it was $1,000, then even if they said, “I forgive your debt against me,” you would know there was still $9,000 outstanding. If down the road, they learned of the additional debt, they would most certainly feel betrayed. This is how most wives feel when they forgive their husbands only to discover later they had only forgiven the tip of the ice berg.
We then explain that while this “full disclosure” is essential, it probably shouldn’t happen today. The reason is the husband needs some time to work through his own history to clearly see the depth of his sin. To help him do that, I point him to the “Sexual History Inventory” I have in chapter three. I instruct him to go home and work through it and then through chapter XIII “Telling Your Wife About Your Struggle.”
We share a few other things, including pointing the wife to a wives’ recovery group and giving her some basic things to look for to know if she has reason to hope things can be different this time. We then encourage the husband to set up a follow up appointment to talk through his inventory. Finally, we pray with and for the couple and send them on their way.
Ideally, the husband will make a second appointment within a few days. He will have done his homework which allows us to help him determine exactly what he still needs to confess to his wife. We then have a second couples session where he fully discloses and confesses his sins against her.
Yes, the wife is hurt by further disclosures. However, once she believes she knows the truth and knows what she needs to forgive, the relief is very evident and the couple has a new foundation of truth on which they can begin rebuilding their marriage. Yes, there is still much work to be done and only time will tell if they will make it. However, it is a great blessing to see the relief in the wife’s eyes when her deep seeded fear of “is there more?” finally begins to slip away.
If this process is something you believe would benefit your marriage, please go to the Joining The Men’s Groups page and follow the procedure for making an appointment with Darrell or a listed counselor.
Phone & Web Support
If you are outside our area and would like to schedule a phone or web video appointment with Darrell Brazell, director of recovery ministries, or his wife, Debbie Brazell, director of women’s ministry, or Stephanie Bessent, a wives’ coach, please use the form below to send them a message. They are available on a limited basis and suggested donation guidelines are in the Intake Documents. You are welcome to request a time even if you are not able to donate, but we ask you understand their time limitations and prayerfully consider supporting New Hope Recovery Ministries.