Spousal confession


#1

Has anyone tried spousal confessions? And if so, is it a good thing or bad?

I am not here talking about just confessing some things to your spouse that directly impacts your spouse or marriage, such as “Honey, I lied to you yesterday” or “We have to talk I have been having an affair.” I am talking about a much more formal process in which all sins are confessed to your spouse in addition to being confessed to a priest. In other words, a system in which there is a preview or review of your confession for your spouse: “Honey I went to confession today (or am about to), as you know my last confession was __ ago and in that time I ___ 4 times, ___ 3 times and once didn’t _____.”

I have seen many anecdotal accounts relating that in marriage preparation couples have been told not to share issues from the confessional and a few that go the other way. Recently, I was having a discussion with a very devoted follower of this practice; it seems to make some sense, but I wanted a broader viewpoint.

As I understand it, the idea behind this is based on the concept that part of a marriage is trying to help your spouse get to heaven and the more information about his/her earthly challenges the easier that is. Also, if done as a preview to the sacrament, the spouse may be able to help in the examination of conscience.

Has anyone tried this? Was it helpful?


#2

Yikes! “spousal confessions” makes it sound weird…

I general, married couples should recognize that their vocation to marriage is about them getting to Heaven by being married. Helping your spouse get to Heaven plays a big role in the vocation.

Generally, I think all sins against the marriage, and chastity need to be talked about between spouses. I think some details can / should be withheld, just like in confession. (all depends on the detail, the situation/sin, and the spouse being “confessed” to.) Frequency may or may not be important.

Other sins… not directly related to marriage… my wife and I generally talk about them so as to help each other other prepare for the sacrament, or when we need help over coming this or that. The “spousal confessions” is never some formal process like true confession is… that might make it weird! :smiley:

Is “spousal confessions” required to get to Heaven… to a great extent probably not. Can it help in a marriage… most likely.


#3

I don’t know about a formalized “confession”, but my girlfriend and I share pretty much everything with each other. We often discuss what went on in confession. It helps us to understand each other’s difficulties. It is not out of obligation mind you, but out of a general openness between us.

We aren’t married yet, but I think that bringing our problems to each other and being willing to hear those problems and help each other work them out will continue to be a fruitful part of our relationship. The trust and friendship that we share has certainly helped make this practice easier.

I don’t think that formalizing this sharing would be good for us. For us, I believe it should be completely free and voluntary. An awareness of the vocation my girlfriend and I will have in marriage (to bring each other to heaven) is key, as well as the desire to fulfill this vocation to the best of our ability.

God bless,

Agricola


#4

I have told my husband everything that I have ever done & I’ve also told him what I confess when I’ve gone to confession.
I am pretty sure he’s told me everything, too.


#5

In my opinion, if you can’t do some form of spousal confession, then you shouldn’t be married. What is the purpose of having secrets? If you can’t tell your wife what you are confessing, then you shouldn’t be married.


#6

I was one of those that have been warned by priests and various religious materials that one should not, under any circumstances at all, share the entirty of a confession with a spouse.


#7

I do not want to know what my husband tells Jesus in confession. He does not want to know what I tell Jesus in confession. We do not even use the same confessor. We may swap penances (tell, not do them for each other), but that’s about it.

The theory of telling all is NOT a good one!!! For example (JUST an example, not something I have done), suppose one has an affair and ends it with guilt, but before any real harm is done to the spouse. So, rather than go to confession, receive whatever penance the priest sets upon the sinful party, with full repentance not to repeat, one should also go home and bare all, thus hurting the spouse? NO!!! The injuring spouse is compounding the situation.

I don’t want to know if my husband has masturbated (just another example). I don’t want to know if he has sworn three times, lied twice, and stolen a piece of candy out of my special drawer. That is between God and my husband. And I don’t want him to know that I abused the credit card, was slothful about the laundry, and didn’t put God first when I was lazy about prayer.

If we don’t have the right to be an individual before God, then we will, in my opinion, make distrustful, sneaky marriage partners.


#8

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]I do not want to know what my husband tells Jesus in confession. He does not want to know what I tell Jesus in confession. We do not even use the same confessor. We may swap penances (tell, not do them for each other), but that’s about it.

The theory of telling all is NOT a good one!!! For example (JUST an example, not something I have done), suppose one has an affair and ends it with guilt, but before any real harm is done to the spouse. So, rather than go to confession, receive whatever penance the priest sets upon the sinful party, with full repentance not to repeat, one should also go home and bare all, thus hurting the spouse? NO!!! The injuring spouse is compounding the situation.

I don’t want to know if my husband has masturbated (just another example). I don’t want to know if he has sworn three times, lied twice, and stolen a piece of candy out of my special drawer. That is between God and my husband. And I don’t want him to know that I abused the credit card, was slothful about the laundry, and didn’t put God first when I was lazy about prayer.

If we don’t have the right to be an individual before God, then we will, in my opinion, make distrustful, sneaky marriage partners.
[/quote]

While all sin is against God, some sin is directly against other people. Does one’s spouse have the right to know if you have sinned against them?

If one doesn’t have any obligation to confess to another when we have sinned against them, then why do we ever bother with apologies or asking for forgiveness (from others besides God) in the first place?


#9

Confession is a deference to higer power. Since God is the true Head of your marriage, confess to Him (through the priest, of course). Marriage is not as vertical, and I wouldn’t suggest horizontally confessing. Plus, people are not as forgiving as God. Go to the priest, do your penance, ammend your life, apply yourself to your promise to avoid sin, and order your marriage. It’s sufficient.

Plus, there is a SERIOUS veil over Confession, and you may be violating it, or close to it.


#10

[quote=Prometheum_x]While all sin is against God, some sin is directly against other people. Does one’s spouse have the right to know if you have sinned against them?

If one doesn’t have any obligation to confess to another when we have sinned against them, then why do we ever bother with apologies or asking for forgiveness (from others besides God) in the first place?
[/quote]

What would be more harmful in this situation: To lay the guilt on the already injured party or to confess directly to them as ask forgiveness? Yes, the party sinning would be released from sin nad guilt and all the horrible feelings of the secret. The already injured party would be forced to carry that burden. Why make it worse?


#11

[quote=papa_k]Confession is a deference to higer power. Since God is the true Head of your marriage, confess to Him (through the priest, of course). Marriage is not as vertical, and I wouldn’t suggest horizontally confessing. Plus, people are not as forgiving as God. Go to the priest, do your penance, ammend your life, apply yourself to your promise to avoid sin, and order your marriage. It’s sufficient.

Plus, there is a SERIOUS veil over Confession, and you may be violating it, or close to it.
[/quote]

Yes!!!


#12

Our priest prefers we not even take our babies into confession. I’m not sure that this is allowed.


#13

Just so there is no confusion, as noted here:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=92306
the penitent may share their confession or any part of it with anyone.


#14

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]I do not want to know what my husband tells Jesus in confession. He does not want to know what I tell Jesus in confession. We do not even use the same confessor. We may swap penances (tell, not do them for each other), but that’s about it.

The theory of telling all is NOT a good one!!! For example (JUST an example, not something I have done), suppose one has an affair and ends it with guilt, but before any real harm is done to the spouse. So, rather than go to confession, receive whatever penance the priest sets upon the sinful party, with full repentance not to repeat, one should also go home and bare all, thus hurting the spouse? NO!!! The injuring spouse is compounding the situation.

I don’t want to know if my husband has masturbated (just another example). I don’t want to know if he has sworn three times, lied twice, and stolen a piece of candy out of my special drawer. That is between God and my husband. And I don’t want him to know that I abused the credit card, was slothful about the laundry, and didn’t put God first when I was lazy about prayer.

If we don’t have the right to be an individual before God, then we will, in my opinion, make distrustful, sneaky marriage partners.
[/quote]

Sorry, but in this example I would have to say that I’m not so sure that in the long run this would be a good thing to keep to yourself for a few reasons. It may cause you to lie further to your spouse if they don’t know the truth. It may continue to fuel further guilt, which is not good for a relationship. Hearing that you are forgiven from the person whom you hurt is a very important part of repentance and moving on from a sinful thing such as this. There will always be that one big secret between two people who are to be one flesh. Also, what if the guilty party contracted some disease in the process? I think that the other person would have the right to know about this and get themselves tested. What if some day another child pops up in the picture that is a product of the affair and the pregnancy wasn’t know about at the time of the break up. Or what if the other spouse someday, someway, finds out from someone else? That would be even worse than finding out from your spouse. Basically I feel that if you want your realationship to grow and move on from this, and if something like this happened in the first place there are some major issues that need to be addressed and that cannot happen by keeping quiet.


#15

[quote=CuriousInIL]Has anyone tried spousal confessions?
… I am talking about a much more formal process in which all sins are confessed to your spouse in addition to being confessed to a priest.
[/quote]

:bigyikes: Until such time as I have to address DH as “Father”, and he’s capable of granting a dispensation, he’s not getting my confession!!


#16

[quote=luvmykids]Sorry, but in this example I would have to say that I’m not so sure that in the long run this would be a good thing to keep to yourself for a few reasons. It may cause you to lie further to your spouse if they don’t know the truth. It may continue to fuel further guilt, which is not good for a relationship. Hearing that you are forgiven from the person whom you hurt is a very important part of repentance and moving on from a sinful thing such as this. There will always be that one big secret between two people who are to be one flesh. Also, what if the guilty party contracted some disease in the process? I think that the other person would have the right to know about this and get themselves tested. What if some day another child pops up in the picture that is a product of the affair and the pregnancy wasn’t know about at the time of the break up. Or what if the other spouse someday, someway, finds out from someone else? That would be even worse than finding out from your spouse. Basically I feel that if you want your realationship to grow and move on from this, and if something like this happened in the first place there are some major issues that need to be addressed and that cannot happen by keeping quiet.
[/quote]

And what if that never happens? If it happens then, deal with it then. It would not be worse. The worse already happened.

And why should a person burden another, just because of marriage? The “what if” and “maybe…” I’ve lived a very long time in my marriage, and from my experience, couples blab too much to each other, instead of sucking up their mistakes and moving on, for the sake of the other. That’s true contrition, to repent and move on, never to repeat the same sin if possible.

We have become a society that feels everything must be examined, disected and dismantled, in the Name of Love. Horse-hockey.

I feel that you are entitled to tell whoever about your confession or not, but YOU get to make the choice. There is no demand on telling your spouse everything, and sometimes that information can cause more harm than good.

Remember, too, that two may become one flesh, but it’s until death, when couples part. In other words, some day one of us is going to be alone in a couple, with the same individual soul we’ve always had, unless we both die in some sort of horrible accident. We need to be individuals, and God does see us as individuals, and does not hold us cupable for each other’s sins in the marriage relationship.

I think the entire idea of spousal confession is harmful! :bigyikes: I think that as Catholics, to be blessed with this opportunity to bring our self sinfulness to God AND THE COMMUNITY through the privacy of the confessional is one of the very best gifts there is. I don’t like the idea of some touchy-feely experimentation “to bring us closer together” is such a hot idea, when private, integral, individual confession has worked for centuries, and is necessary even in communal celebrations of Reconciliation.

And even if my husband became a priest tomorrow, he would still not be my confessor. In fact, I do believe priests are taught to discourage relatives from using their power to bind and loose on anything more than an emergency basis, aside from a few very old ladies who can’t get out.


And before I forget, there is also the matter of counseling that goes on at times in the confessional. Surely my husband does not want to know that at times, I think he’s a selfish pig (just an example) and what Father said to do about that.


#17

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]And what if that never happens? If it happens then, deal with it then. It would not be worse. The worse already happened.

And why should a person burden another, just because of marriage? The “what if” and “maybe…” I’ve lived a very long time in my marriage, and from my experience, couples blab too much to each other, instead of sucking up their mistakes and moving on, for the sake of the other. That’s true contrition, to repent and move on, never to repeat the same sin if possible.

We have become a society that feels everything must be examined, disected and dismantled, in the Name of Love. Horse-hockey.

I feel that you are entitled to tell whoever about your confession or not, but YOU get to make the choice. There is no demand on telling your spouse everything, and sometimes that information can cause more harm than good.

Remember, too, that two may become one flesh, but it’s until death, when couples part. In other words, some day one of us is going to be alone in a couple, with the same individual soul we’ve always had, unless we both die in some sort of horrible accident. We need to be individuals, and God does see us as individuals, and does not hold us cupable for each other’s sins in the marriage relationship.

I think the entire idea of spousal confession is harmful! :bigyikes: I think that as Catholics, to be blessed with this opportunity to bring our self sinfulness to God AND THE COMMUNITY through the privacy of the confessional is one of the very best gifts there is. I don’t like the idea of some touchy-feely experimentation “to bring us closer together” is such a hot idea, when private, integral, individual confession has worked for centuries, and is necessary even in communal celebrations of Reconciliation.

And even if my husband became a priest tomorrow, he would still not be my confessor. In fact, I do believe priests are taught to discourage relatives from using their power to bind and loose on anything more than an emergency basis, aside from a few very old ladies who can’t get out.


And before I forget, there is also the matter of counseling that goes on at times in the confessional. Surely my husband does not want to know that at times, I think he’s a selfish pig (just an example) and what Father said to do about that.
[/quote]

I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one. I would want to know if there was another woman out their who knew my husband in that way. Whether I am told or not, this sin still affects me. There are consequences to this whether I know about them or not. We are all affected by people’s sins such as these. By the way, I would also want to know if my husband thought I was a selfish pig sometimes so I could work on that. Of course wanting the information to be given in a charitable manner, but it would be his duty to help me get to heaven by letting me know if I am being selfish. We are suppose to be helping each other get to heaven and by just sitting there and letting the other be sinful, that is not helping.


#18

Here is an EWTN answer indicating that this is a bad idea.

ewtn.org/vexperts/showmessage.asp?Pgnu=1&Pg=Forum6&recnu=5&number=457485


#19

Wow. Who ever thought of this terrible idea??? I can’t imagine how it could help anyone!!!

I mean, if there are certain problems in marriage then of course, a husband and wife should tell each other. “Honey, this house is always a pit when I get home and I’m really getting tired of it.” or “Dear, it really bothers me that you spend so much time on the computer and don’t interact with me or the kids in the evenings.”

Sure, I tell my husband the occassional sin, “I wasted time at work today. I’d better confess that.” or “You know that parsley I bought at the grocer’s for the rabbit? I lied and told the clerk I only had four when I bought five because the last batch we bought was bad and I thought I deserved a free one.” :slight_smile: Yes, we really do buy parsley for our rabbit, and yes, I really did lie a few times. :eek:

But more personal sins? I don’t think so! I don’t want my husband telling me anything that can hurt our marriage in ANY WAY. And I won’t tell him anything, either. Why place any doubts or confusion or stress there where it doesn’t need to be?

How would I react if my husband told me he gratified himself weekly in our bathroom and used to have a stash of porn in the guest room? Or if he thinks the lady down the street is sexy and fantasizes about her? Or if he has been tempted to have an affair with a coworker? My God! Spare me!!! As long as his soul is clean and pure before God after he confesses, then let’s just leave it with God. Knowing those things will only make me doubt him and hurt our marital unity. What if he’s late coming home one day? I’ll think he’s seeing another woman. What if he’s sitting on the porch enjoying the summer? I’ll think he’s trying to see the sexy neighbor lady weeding her flower bed. What if he’s spending an awful lot of time in the bathroom with the door locked - will my mind immediately be turned to self-gratification rather than just the fact that he’s having a long poo? Sorry, TMI but you get the point. Why put stress there where it should not be?

Spousal confessions - BAD IDEA.


#20

I think it is a bad idea. Everytime I go to confession, my husband badgers me and raises his eyebrows, “What do you need to confess?” It makes me really second guess whether I really even need to go, to know that I am going to have to go through his inquisition, and have to listen to his opinions of the sins that I have committed. Most of the time he just makes fun of me for even thinking or caring that this or that is a sin.

If a husband and a wife have good communication and mutual respect, then that is great that they can talk about the kinds of things that would be confessed. However, I don’t think a spouse is entitled to know everything that is said in the confessional. I think if you really have respect for your spouse, you will allow them their privacy.


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