Do you think secrets are harming your marriage? Or strengthening it? You may not think so, but even the most innocent of secrets can cause big damage in your marriage if your heart isn’t in the right place.
And let’s be clear, I’m not talking about surprise birthday party’s, gifts, or pregnancy announcements. I fully understand keeping those things a secret until the big reveal. What I’m talking about are the kinds of secrets that threaten your marriage. The secrets that should not be secrets. Your finances, your friendships, relationships with the opposite gender, your Facebook conversations, browser history, family conflicts, dreams, goals, hopes, fears – the things you KNOW you should be sharing with your husband or wife but simply don’t. Today we’re going to address some of those things and I’m going to show you three ways secrets are harming your marriage and practical tips to help you avoid those mistakes.
3 Ways Secrets Are Harming Your Marriage
Disclaimer: If you’re looking for a feel good fluff piece to read, this isn’t it. Brace yourselves for the truth, because that is exactly what you are going to get.
1. Secrets create distance…
Which is great if the goal of your marriage is to be distant and disconnected but I have a feeling, that’s probably not the outcome you’re looking for. Secrets create space. And the more space that comes between your and your groom, the easier it is to disconnect and the greater the opportunity (although very wrong) becomes for your spouse to connect with someone else. This is typically one of the first steps towards an emotional affair. Either the husband or the wife removes their partner from the position of confidante and begins to confide in another person, allowing someone else to fulfill a role in their life, from the time you said “I do,” was only meant to be fulfilled by your spouse. Enter: the affair.
Action Step: Guard your marriage and friendship with your spouse by honoring their role as your partner and confidante and not allowing any other person to take their place.
2. Secrets foster conflict.
Instead of creating solutions, most secrets create more problems. Wherever there is a break down in communication there is bound to be conflict. It’s pretty uncommon for the lack of communication between husband and wife to go unnoticed by either of them, and the attempts to bridge the gap begin. Which is great, if both parties are open to it. But what if they aren’t? What happens when attempts to restore communication aren’t met with loving open arms? Distance is reinforced.
Action Step: A lot of couples are afraid of honesty because they know it will expose their dirty secrets. And often times it will. But that step of being honest no matter what the cost is an honorable step (especially in God’s eyes as seen in the principle of 1 John 1:9), especially when the one bringing their error to light is committed to reconciliation. A marriage can’t heal when if it is built on lies. It is the truth that brings freedom. So be honest. Come clean. And if you need a mediator or counselor to keep things safe and progressive, then so be it.
3. Secrets kill intimacy.
I was listening to an audio by Sandi Krakowski (One of the many Facebook mentors I like to follow) as she was talking about intimacy. She shared how intimacy is all about seeing into the heart of someone. “In-to-me-you-see.” If you want your marriage to thrive you have to be willing to share the deepest parts of you with the man you committed your life to. It’s not his job to “just know” your heart. It’s your job to show him your heart. When we keep secrets from our husbands we are saying clear as day, “I don’t want you to know my heart. You don’t get this part of me.” When in reality, the man you marry should have access to every part of you.
So how do you protect against this?
Action Step: Share your heart. Even when it’s hard. Be the spouse that trusts her husband enough to open up to him BEFORE opening up to every body else. For some people, being able to do this takes a lot of effort. And if that’s the case for you, don’t feel ashamed or defeated. Do what you have to do to protect the intimacy and foster genuine intimacy in your marriage relationship. That could mean counseling, or getting your hands on some good, God-honoring marriage resources (which is something you should be doing anyway no matter how great your marriage is). Take the time. Make the effort.
The Reason Behind the Secret
- Don’t know how to communicate what is going on inside of them.
- They don’t want to communicate what is going on inside of them.
Both of which are heart issues. It’s one thing to have difficulty finding the words to communicate with your spouse. It’s another thing to intentionally choose not to communicate. Communication is a skill that over time can be learned and strengthened. However, choosing not to communicate with your spouse about your struggles, choices, hardships, thoughts, etc. is a bit more of a red flag when it comes to the health of your relationship.
Listen, if your goal is to honor God with your marriage, you have to do marriage as He designed it. God’s design was for husbands and wives to be so extravagantly intimate, and have so little distance between them, that they are seen as one. “They are to become one flesh (Mark 10:8 and Genesis 2:24).” That means you operate in UNISON. You are undivided. This commitment is going to require you to set boundaries that PROTECT your marriage and foster trust and intimacy. It’s going to require to be open and honest with your spouse. It’s going to demand your attention in a way that no other relationship in your life can match. But is it WORTH IT? Absolutely!