Intimacy in Marriage: When we Keep Secrets from Our Husbands and Wives
Self-disclosure is an important part of intimacy in marriage. Revealing yourself to your spouse is supposed to be a pleasant experience filled with understanding and acceptance, and devoid of judgment and criticism. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
Why we Keep Secrets
Fear is the main reason why we keep secrets from our partners. We are afraid that the truth will hurt them or our marriage. Keeping secrets therefore protects us from our partners’ disapproval and helps us avoid “rocking the boat.”
We also fear that telling the truth is admitting that we are not loyal to our spouses. Being honest forces us to acknowledge that we have done something that is not in line with our partners’ wishes.
Shame is another reason why we are not completely open and honest with our husbands and wives. If we believe our spouses will judge us for doing what we did, we’ll want to protect ourselves from said judgment and criticism.
Is It Ever Okay to Keep Secrets
Some of us feel we have valid reasons for keeping secrets from our spouses. However, it is never okay to keep a secret that directly affects or concerns your spouse. It’s one thing to keep your brownie recipe from your spouse, it is another to hide your spending from your spouse when it directly affects their finances.
All in all, most situations in married life require a balance between openness and gentleness. “Brutal honesty” is rarely the way to go if you want to maintain intimacy in marriage.
For instance, you can’t just bluntly tell your partner that you are no longer attracted to them. It might be better for your marriage if you have the “we don’t work out anymore” conversation as opposed to the “I’m no longer attracted to you” conversation.
Secrets can be just as harmful as lies because they serve the exact same purpose of protecting us from our spouse’s disapproval. For the sake of intimacy in marriage, we must find the right balance between openness and gentleness.