I cannot keep a secret and it makes me crazy when someone keeps a secret from me. There have been plenty of occasions in my marriage when secret keeping has been a launching pad for hurt feelings and petty arguments. To be clear, the secret keeping isn’t sneaky or deceptive; it is keeping confidences and not sharing things pledged behind closed doors. Even though I am the most important person in his life, my husband doesn’t need to let me know every important detail in his life.
As I have wrestled with secret keeping, I researched Christian articles and commentaries on secrets in a marriage. I couldn’t find a single article that advocated keeping secrets. Most preached that there should never be any secrets in a marriage. The authors of these articles are all wiser than I am, and most of their positions can be summed up in this quote:
I understand and appreciate this position. At the same time, I think that 100% disclosure 100% of the time isn’t healthy for my marriage. How can I show my husband that I trust him if I demand to know every detail of his day? Why would I want him to compromise vows of confidence he makes with other men? He took vows on our wedding day to cherish and protect me; how can he do that effectively if I demand to know all the nuances and aspects of his existence? I made vows to respect him; isn’t it a testimony of respect when I give him the freedom to choose what he deems appropriate to disclose?
In marriage, we bear each other’s burdens. When my husband cannot share his burdens with me, I get to practice cherishing him through prayer. He takes his vow of protecting me seriously. He shows he cherishes me by being a man of character. When he keeps a confidence and doesn’t share it with me, he is leading with integrity and that adds value to our relationship.
When I can’t be included in the secret, prayer isn’t the consolation prize. Praying for my husband is the most effective tool for my healthy heart and our healthy marriage. Prayer is the ultimate way to honor and cherish my husband.
One of the most beautiful marriages in the Bible is the one between Ruth and Boaz. Ruth was a strong, loyal, prayerful woman of integrity. She trusted the Lord and trusted her husband. Boaz was a successful and honorable man and He cherished his role as Ruth’s protector. He didn’t include her in every detail. There were things she didn’t need to know. His lack of disclosure didn’t dishonor her… it honored her and showed how highly Boaz valued her. (See Ruth 2:15-16)
As women, it is natural to want to know every detail and every secret. We feel if we have all the information, we can control and fix things. This natural inclination is rooted in the curse Eve received in Genesis 3:
“And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” Genesis 3:16 (NLT)
Don’t lose heart or freak out in frustration. Our sin nature leaves us bruised, but Christ came to destroy sin and through His death and resurrection, He crushed the head of Satan and Satan’s curse. Our marriages are opportunities to glorify the Lord and enjoy Him. Bathe your marriage in prayer. Let your marriage be a reflection of the precious way God loves and protects you. Enjoy the gift of promised protection and celebrate it when all you can contribute is prayer.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)