Let’s face it, we all keep secrets from our spouses. There are some things we just don’t want our spouses to know. For example, what person has told their spouse everything about all their old boy/girlfriends? But just because every couple keeps secrets does that mean it’s okay?
The truth is that yes, some secrets are okay in your relationship. But some secrets aren’t. In fact, some secrets are absolutely necessary to tell your spouse in order to have a healthy and vibrant relationship. Others are really no big deal and it doesn’t matter if they’re kept secret or not. Unfortunately, there’s no golden rule about what secrets are okay and what secrets aren’t. It really depends on a variety of things.
So here’s a couple things to ask yourself to help you decide whether your particular secrets should be kept secret or not.
Would my spouse really care? If it’s a secret they wouldn’t really care about then there’s really no point in keeping it a secret. Ironically, it’s okay to keep these kinds of secrets because they wouldn’t care about it anyway. But if it’s something your spouse would feel is important for them to know then it shouldn’t be kept a secret. Keeping something secret that your spouse feels is important is a major relationship violation and brings into question your trust-ability. If it’s important to your spouse, they better now about it.
Am I keeping this secret to protect myself or protect my spouse? Are you keeping a secret because you know you’ll catch hell for it if they knew? If so, then it’s not okay to keep it from them. And you probably shouldn’t have done it in the first place. But if you’re trying to protect them from something that would cause unnecessary worry, anguish, alarm, etc., and you don’t want to see your spouse go through these kinds of unnecessary feelings, then this kind of little secret never hurt anybody (and in fact, is protecting somebody from being hurt unnecessarily).
How consequential is the secret? If it’s a secret that significantly affects your spouse’s future, they better know about it. If you’re paying fines for an old ‘mishap’ and will be paying for this for years to come, this has a big effect on your spouse and they need to know about it. If it affects your spouse in any way financially, socially, etc. then they need to know about it so they can plan accordingly.
Would your spouse want to know? This is perhaps the most important question to ask. If your spouse would want to know about the secret, then they should know about it. Regardless of whether it’s a big or little secret, or if it has little to no consequence. If they would want to know then they should know.
These are just a few questions to help you decide whether keeping certain secrets are okay or not. Secrets are tricky things in relationships. On one hand they may be no big deal. On the other hand, they may be life-changing. They’re also hard to judge. In your friends’ relationship, certain secrets may be okay, but in your relationship the same secrets aren’t.
In the end little harm came from transparency and even the dirtiest little secrets can be overcome to create a lively and vibrant relationship.
Guest Article By: Aaron Anderson
Aaron Anderson is a therapist and owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. In addition to his private practice, he is a speaker, presenter, adjunct faculty, and is a regular contributor to various blogs and websites all related to marriage and families. He is also on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
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