Keeping Secrets and the Right to Privacy
- "You have the right to privacy--in marriage, in a family, in any relationship, in any group--the right to keep a part of your life secret, no matter how trivial or how important, merely because you want it to be that way. And you have the right to be alone part of each day, each week, and each year, to spend time with yourself." - From the Valley Mental Health
If you don't honor the sense of privacy, both emotionally and physically, for yourself and your spouse, you limit your intimacy with one another. You can't be intimate with your mate without being in touch with the inner most parts of yourself.
Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?There are valid reasons for keeping a secret from your spouse. You shouldn't have to defend not revealing embarassing or hurtful moments from your past. It is possible that the secret involves someone else who asked that the story not be told.
There are many couples who have been married for a long time who have personal secrets that they haven't shared with their spouse. The sense of space, and the sense of a private me is important to many individuals.
Knowing When to Share a SecretIf you have a secret that you think you should share, but you are unsure about doing so, look at your own physical responses when you are hiding the secret. If your blood pressure increases, or you find yourself blinking a lot faster, or your breathing is heavier, or you are perspiring more, then these could be clues that you should share that particular secret.
If you are keeping a secret because you don't want to face a responsibility in your marriage, this can create problems. Withholding facts or information your spouse needs to know in decision making is harmful manipulation. Other secrets that can hurt your marriage are ones concerning job problems, not paying bills, not revealing an illness, seeing family and friends secretly, lying about how you spend money, and having an affair.
When to Stay QuietIf you are going to share a secret or difficult issue with your spouse, realize that the following times are not a good time to reveal all.
- At bedtime.
- If either of you are drunk.
- When either of you are in a stressful situation.
- During periods of grumpiness.
- When you or your spouse are angry.
- When either of you are tired or ill.
Seeking HelpHonesty and trust are vital to the success of a marriage. It's a thin line between what secrets are acceptable and which ones will haunt an individual and hurt a marriage.
If you begin to feel distance in your marriage, and think it may be the result of a secret, then it is time to consult a professional counselor or a minister.