Fr. Mike talks about how to navigate discussions with your partner about sexual sin—whether it’s pornography, masturbation, or other impurity.
It’s important to realize that sometimes a person doesn’t have a right to know everything about you immediately. Keeping this in mind, at what point does a couple have to be vulnerable about their sexual sins? After two months of dating, maybe six months? It’s quite possible—actually likely—that a person’s sexual sins are the most shameful part of his or her life, so when someone is not exposing those sins—no matter how long the couple has been together—it may just be that the person is not comfortable being that vulnerable with their partner yet.
A person has a right to be hurt and mad if their partner is not revealing their sexual sins, but he or she should also ask if they had a right to that knowledge.
Father Mike asserts that such knowledge doesn’t have to result in the end of the relationship. Once the sin has been revealed, it should stay revealed. Neither partner should just assume that it’s in the past and done with. It’s bound to come up again.
If you’re struggling with sexual sin, your partner needs to know you are doing everything you can to defeat the sin. He or she probably shouldn’t be your accountability partner, but should be informed. If your partner is the one struggling, you ought to help him or her defeat the sin in whatever way you can. Both of you should champion romantic love, since it is a strong combatant against sexual sin.
Meet Fr. Mike Schmitz
Fr. Mike Schmitz serves as Director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and as chaplain for the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
He is a presenter in Ascension’s Chosen, Altaration, and The 99 programs, and has a channel on Ascension Presents.
Great podcast, Fr. Mike. I had never thought about your point of someone’s right to know at just the 1-2 month mark. As a former girlfriend who did this— I think I agree with you (as hard as that pill is to swallow!).
Since you went on to talk about the engaged and married couples, I do think it’s worth explicitly stating that you MUST disclose this kind of information before entering in to a sacrament with someone. And with this particular issue, they have a right to decide they don’t want to take the risk of indefinite, periodic infidelity.
I found this podcast episode to somewhat minimize the issue and effects on the partner. Almost blaming them for asking too soon— and giving the other party an excuse to not disclose because on side “asked too soon.” If you ever do a follow up, I think it could be worth clarifying, especially if someone plans to propose or marry their partner. You can’t use the “I didn’t have to tell you only 1 month in” card forever.
Also, I 100% agree with someone needing to do everything possible to be free. Many don’t understand what that might entail, though. Weekly therapy, weekly meetings, device monitoring, self-imposed rules about when/where to use devices— it can be tough. Worth it, but tough. And freedom IS possible. I think that piece must be emphasized. Don’t settle for occasional relapses— it doesn’t have to be that way. (And your spouse shouldn’t have to tolerate occasional infidelity.)
I say all of this as someone who assumed marriage would “fix” a porn problem. Obviously, it didn’t. Things got bad— a lot of work had to be done, and maintenance work is required because the threat is never gone— but we are free from this. And our marriage is incredible now! But 100% freedom, honesty, and trust is KEY.