I’m in my early 30s and in a few months I’ll be getting married to a wonderful Christian man God has blessed me with.
However, in my late teens and much of my 20s I was involved in an abusive Bible-based cult. With much prayer and support from family and friends, I left the group. Very soon after leaving I was raped repeatedly by a “friend” and became pregnant. Scared and feeling abandoned by God, I had an abortion. Though I deeply regret my abortion, I know God used the event to break and restore me.
Since then I’ve been in Christian counseling and been surrounded by an amazing loving community. My life has totally turned around and God has given me much joy and happiness.
Sparing him the details, my fiancé knows about the cult and even the rapes. Though it wasn’t easy for him to come to grips with any of it, he’s learned to trust God as he’s seen how God has used much of those experiences for good.
But how am to tell him I’ve had an abortion? I’ve been advised by counselors not to tell him until we’re married. In the meantime, as we’re preparing for our marriage, I’m freaking out! My counselors offer no real sound advice. My family says he doesn’t really need to know. I’ve read a thousand Christian blogs and books but nowhere do I see this topic being addressed! I know I’m not the only Christian woman who has had an abortion that she deeply regrets and will have to share it with her husband. Can you offer any advice or insight on my dilemma?
I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to bare your soul with your fiancé, when what it was you were sharing was so painful. I remember talking through far less traumatic events in our past when Steve and I were still dating, and those were tough enough. But assuming you have a strong relationship with the man you’re going to marry, and that he a man of high Christian character, I can also imagine that it was a great relief to finally have the secrets revealed. To feel his acceptance and unconditional love must have released a great weight from your shoulders.
And so I believe for several reasons, that you must tell him about the abortion, and you must do so before the wedding.
You ask how you are to tell your fiancé you had an abortion. I think that part is straightforward: You must pray for courage and as soon as possible, tell him the truth. Just like you told me: “I was raped repeatedly and I got pregnant and I had an abortion.”
It won’t be easy. Far from it. But to wait until after the wedding is to set up a potentially devastating confrontation at the time when you should be celebrating and settling into a new routine. The transition from engaged to newly-married can be overwhelming in itself, you certainly don’t need the stress that such a post-wedding “bomb” would likely set off.
I don’t see any benefit to concealing this from him another day. And certainly not until after the wedding. Frankly, I’m stunned and saddened by the bad advice you’ve been given by all those you’ve trusted to have your best interest at heart. The benefit of telling your fiancé before the wedding is that you can say, in effect, “I want to get everything out in the open so that you can trust that our marriage will be built on a foundation of trust and honesty.” Yes, you will risk the possibility that he will say, “This is too much; I can’t marry you.” But if he’s the man of godly character you believe him to be, that will not be the outcome.
There will certainly be pain and grief and maybe even a need to seek more premarital counseling to deal specifically with this issue, but it is, at its core, about forgiven sin. And so there is great hope that he will be able to extend the forgiveness that Christ has already given you, and move forward in the confidence that he is marrying an honest, redeemed woman.
The enemy loves to keep us in knots over the sins for which we’ve already been forgiven. Remember, he is the father of lies. The freedom you seek can only be found in telling the truth; shining the light on the dark corners of your life. And if you are to be united in the one-flesh union of Christian marriage, it’s essential that you do it before you take that vow.
The alternative is to wait until after the wedding, when you will be hard-pressed to find any time that feels “right” for confessing. The temptation will be to keep putting it off for fear of upsetting your good marriage. But that will not ease your conscience, and you will never be able to fully rest in your husband’s love, or be truly one, with a guilty conscience. You’ll always feel like there’s a part of you that he doesn’t know, like there’s something forever coming between you.
And when you do finally break down and tell him the truth, he may be tempted to always wonder if there’s anything else. Regaining his trust at that point will be much more difficult, I believe, than it will be before the wedding. Not to mention that he may possibly feel like you tried to trap him. Far better to let him know now that because you respect him so much, and trust him to be a godly man, that you want to be completely honest.
Telling him may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, but once he knows, the healing and restoration can begin. That’s where the hope lies for your future happiness in marriage.
I’m praying for you that you find the strength to do this now — today if possible. I’d also encourage you, in light of what your counselors have been telling you, to seek out new, Biblically-grounded counsel.
Copyright 2012 Candice Watters. All rights reserved.