“He that has eyes to see and ears to hear may convince himself that no mortal can keep a secret. If his lips are silent, he chatters with his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.” – Sigmund Freud
It is not too uncommon to find marriage filled with secrets. From “little white lies” to more significant secrets, the married couple does not feel the freedom to be completely honest with one another. So for whatever reason, they decide to cover things up and hide things from one another. In most cases, however, their secrets are uncovered and the marriage often ends in the dark place of trying to separate the truth from the lies.
As Christians, none of us would argue that the healthiest of marriages are those filled with honesty, authenticity, and transparency. It would be hard to find anybody that believes there is room in marriage for lies and deceit. So why do we keep secrets? In fairness, most couples have the best of intentions. They don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, being tactful or being tolerant. They feel the relationship will be damaged if the truth gets out, although that is exactly what usually happens anyway.
You’ve probably got secrets—private, hidden things you do or think when you’re alone, or perhaps something that happened a long time ago that you prefer to keep to yourself. Are these secrets good or bad? How should you determine whether keeping something from your spouse is justifiable? The question of “to tell, or not to tell” can be settled by wrestling with the “why” and “how” reasoning behind keeping a secret.
If you’ve got a secret, the “why” question is, “why are you keeping this knowledge from your spouse?” Do you honestly believe what you’re doing is best for both of you? Or are you just scared of what might happen if the secret comes out?
Then follow the “why” question with a “how” question: “How is your marriage enhanced and intimacy promoted by keeping this secret?” By keeping the secret are you sincerely seeking the highest and best good of God’s great gift of marriage?
Secrets. They may have their place, but that place is rarely a healthy marriage. Even though it may feel risky to open up with the one you love, the rewards of deepened intimacy far exceed the risk and struggle it takes to get there. It can take huge amounts of energy to keep a secret hidden. That energy would be put to better use in promoting your closeness as a couple.
- Why is telling secrets so hard?
- Why is it better to disclose our secrets rather than have our spouse find out?