As the Houston marriage counselor, I bring religion into my sessions with clients only if it is something that they ask for or obviously feel comfortable with it. I believe that spiritual health is essential, whether one believes in a particular religion or have some other practice that connects you with some Higher Power.  It is essential to happiness in and outside of marriage and committed love relationship, for the vast majority of ‘souls.’   I also believe that there are some useful practices that have come to be seen as “religious” even though there is much therapeutic and spiritual value in them.

One of the most important of these is the act of confession. Most of you probably immediately think of Catholicism when you hear the word, and that’s understandable. Catholics have a sacrament called ‘Confession’ which involves telling a priest your sins and having him forgive you for them as a representative of God. You are thus washed clean in the eyes of God.  Most religious traditions have something similar: the Jewish Day of Atonement, the Sweat Lodge of many traditions like the Lakota, Islam’s Ramadan, etc.

Confessing to your spouse probably isn’t going to have the exact same effect, but it is something that can give your relationship help and ultimately bring you closer together if you find that you are pulling apart.

Houston Marriage Counselor: So Why Don’t More People Confess?

Simple: it’s scary. If you feel like you’ve done something wrong, it’s a natural inclination to want to hide it. The problem is that the longer you hide whatever it is that you’ve done, the more the lies build up. This causes stress and more fear on the part of the person lying, and confusion, frustration, and distance from the person being kept in the dark.

Eventually, this cycle can get so bad that you end up needing relationship help. That’s unfortunate, because the quicker you can admit your wrongdoing, the easier it will be for your partner to accept and move on. Moreover, even though their initial reaction may be to feel hurt and angry, your confession will ultimately make them feel closer to you.

With that in mind, here are some tips to make confessing easier:

  • Organize your thoughts on paper. Confessions are nerve-wracking, but writing it down makes it easier to think through what you want to say and how you want to say it. It will also help you get details right, because your spouse will most likely have lots of questions, and you need to answer as clearly as you can.
  • Tell them in private. Hopefully this is obvious, but you need to find the right time for a confession, and a work party or family dinner isn’t it.
  • Concentrate on them, and don’t be defensive. One helps the other. Chances are if you confess to something truly hurtful, your spouse will attack you at first. This isn’t pleasant, but remember that you are the one who violated their trust. If they had done this to you, what would your response be? Think how they feel, and don’t fight back or justify your behavior.

If you’ve tried and just don’t know how to confess on your own, seek out the help of the Houston marriage counselor to walk you through the process in a safe environment.