Marital Secrets

Secret-keeping is unhealthy and destroys trust—particularly in marriages.

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Couples often ask, “Is it necessary to go back and drag out all of our dirty laundry and discuss in every detail our past?” Several guidelines we have found helpful include:

First, remember that honesty must always take first place in your marriage. Although Scripture doesn’t speak directly about secret-keeping in marriage, it speaks plainly and often regarding secrets, honesty, and dishonesty in every relationship (Psalm 19:12; 90:8; Proverbs 27:5; Romans 2:16; Ephesians 4:25).

We believe that honesty is central to personal and marital maturity. And when you allow or commit to an unwavering trust, the marital response to personal issues of the past and present need to be cloaked with grace, kindness, and love and are not driven by fear, chaos, and suspicion.

Secondly, keep in mind that not every secret (of past or present) is fully known or accurately remembered. Therefore, recalling and disclosing honestly a secret in every detail is unlikely.

You do not have to know all for love to grow and trust to flourish in your marriage. You must also ask yourself another important question. “Is the information you are withholding harmful to the marital bond?” If the secret has the potential to cause damage, or if it is in any way jeopardizing the level of intimacy desired and required for your love to grow, then it needs to be disclosed.

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Finally, do not get hung up on the past. If the secret is in the past—has been forgiven andresolved—and is not relevant to or helpful in the present, it is not necessarily important to disclose it. Often times, the desire to attain information about a spouse’s forgiven past is for selfish reasons and only causes more pain than good.

If you have a troubling secret to disclose, what should you do? We would encourage you to seek outside help. Bring in a third party who can provide guidance on how and when to disclose with the ultimate goal of keeping the marital bond strong. Pray individually and as a couple for God’s protection on your relationship.

Just for Thought

There are no secrets with God. Keep your marital bond pure. Because the sins we cover, God will uncover. And the sins that we uncover, God will cover.


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Dr. Tim Clinton, President of Light University Online
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