Secrets

(245/365) Mwah shhh ponderThere’s a wall that is built brick by brick in marriage. It is a wall that is almost imperceptible and subtle because it rises higher and higher without much fanfare or attention. One minute you’re looking the other way and when you look back, there’s another brick obstructing your sight.

How is this wall built? …

So very subtly that even the builder of the wall doesn’t see it after a while. It feels natural. It feels safer. It feels necessary to survive.

What is this wall?

It is the wall of secrets—or at its worst point—the wall of lies.

Perhaps it begins with a spouse who simply is fearful of being fully known. So he or she begins to keep things in reserve. She doesn’t always tell her husband how she feels when he hurts her feelings. She begins to nurse a secret grudge. Then she starts to hide what she’s doing with the credit cards—buying more and more to fill a hole that just can’t seem to be filled. Or perhaps she hides a secret crush she has on a coworker …

Whatever “it” is that she seeks to fill the void, it must be kept a secret from her spouse.

All of a sudden, she begins to keep secrets from others. She doesn’t let them know how terribly unhappy she is in her marriage, in her life. She acts as if all is fine and that she has the model family—model marriage.

At night when her husband comes home, they go to their separate corners, turning on the television and escaping into a pseudo-relational world. They feel as if they are connecting because they are under the same roof. But they avoid each others glances and lose sight of how to talk or even what to talk about with each other.

This charade does not go unnoticed. It builds like the proverbial “elephant in the room”—pushing emotional buttons and crowding out any chance at real connection. Shame comes to stay and keeps the deception firmly in place. The couple now feels as if they cannot move out of this false world they’ve walled themselves into … become imprisoned by.

There is a way out. It may seem insurmountable to reach. But it begins with one vulnerable word.at.a.time.

  1. Begin to ask your spouse about his or her day and really listen—really care about what your spouse shares.
  2. Be open about how you feel in small ways. Let your spouse know what you prefer—coffee over tea, etc. Let your spouse know how you feel about your friends and your coworkers. Don’t start out with huge revelations, but always work toward greater openness! Make time to talk about the simple issues of life each and every day.
  3. Find other trusted confidantes, godly friends who love you without judgment or reserve. Begin to open up to your friends and have them pray for you to be open with your spouse.
  4. Be honest with God about how you feel. Know that he knows more about you than you know about yourself. It’s no “secret” to him how you feel and what you’ve done. And the good news is that he loves you unconditionally with a love that is as big as he is BIG!

“… Speaking the truth with love, we will grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head.” Eph. 4:15 (NCV)

photo credit by Sarah G… (Flickr)


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  • It’s so true the way secrets can become a wall that seems to come from nowhere. We keep secrets when we don’t trust and trust is something many people battle. Great post and an important reminder to be real with our spouses.

  • Ro elliott

    Oh…you sadly describe so many marriages…I hope a lot of ladies read this today…and start taking those walls down…one brick at a time. blessings~

  • Wonderful steps for tearing down walls. I’m praying your post will convict and change marriages.

  • This is a slippery slope and I have seen many friends fall into its grasp and live an unfulfilled marriage. And you convey it so well. My husband and I leave this week for ten days in Europe to celebrate our 22nd. We are both so excited to have this kind of time for just the two of us. Can’t wait.

  • Beth,
    This is a great post on the power of transparency – with God and with each other.
    Blessings,
    Ann

  • Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us! Great points to ponder here.
    Michelle

  • Pam A Mueller

    Very timely, Beth!
    Pam

  • Renee Ann Smith

    Such good advice. I pray that many are blessed by your words, Beth. Thanks for visiting me at Doorkeeper. Blessings!

  • Megan Elzey

    You are so right, Beth. Sometimes it just seems easier to let it go when a conflict comes between spouses. But, the conversation to deal with it needs to happen! I used to be big on holding things in. Not anymore. Even though it feels wrong to tell my husband when he has done something that has upset me, it is always so much better when I have gotten it out. My husband was really upsetting me the way he was dealing with a particular thing with our oldest daughter. I felt like he was wrong and out of line. I held my tongue until he came to me, instead of breaking in and making him feel disrespected. I told him that I felt he was wrong in the way he was dealing with her. A few minutes later he came and apologized to me and said I was right, and that he had apologized to our daughter as well. Case closed.

  • messymarriage

    Yes, I’m also aware of way too many couples who have succumbed to this problem. The fact that it is subtle and gradual makes it all the more important to sound the alarm. Thanks for coming by and encouraging me as always, Ro!

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much, Pamela. Prayer for couples like these is the best encouragement you can offer here at MM! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  • messymarriage

    Yes, transparency is a perfect word for it. I really appreciate your encouragement and support, Ann! Thanks again!

  • messymarriage

    It may be considered “wisdom” but I really feel sadness when I see this occur, Michelle. And sadly, I see it occur way too often. Thanks so much for coming by though. You’ve been an encouragement to me!

  • messymarriage

    I’m so glad to know it was timely. Thanks for being such a great friend, Pam! LY

  • messymarriage

    Thank you, Renee Ann. And I appreciate your prayers for the impact of this post. My prayers are with these types of couples too. You’re welcome for the visit. Enjoyed your blog! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    It sounds as if you and you husband were able to come together on this issue, Megan. That’s what it’s all about. Learning to be real, respectful and vulnerable with each other. It’s easier said than done, but you both should be commended for your courage and perseverance. My prayers are with you! Hugs*

  • Sharon O

    Good words, and so true.

  • Diane Tolley

    Such wisdom! I love this post! I would add one more thing – pray to love your spouse. In every prayer. It’s amazing how it encourages you to look for positive things in your beloved. The more you look, the more you will find.

  • Jessica

    Beth this hits home. Scary how the enemy wants us to believe the lie that it’s safer in the secrets instead of in the light. Thanks for this reminder.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much for saying, Sharon … and for stopping by! 🙂

  • messymarriage

    That’s a great word of advice to add, Diane. Prayer is so important in all of God’s redemptive work in our lives and marriages. Thanks for stopping by and for weighing in!

  • messymarriage

    You’re right, Jessica. If Satan can’t get us to cut each other to pieces with our words, he will try with our silence. Thanks for pointing this out! 🙂

  • Such wonderful advice, Beth. It is a big problem in our culture today. When we stop sharing our lives with each other, it’s so easy to walk away from a marriage. Bless you for encouraging us to do better. And thank you.

  • messymarriage

    Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura, and also for hosting “Playdates.” Your support truly does bless and encourage me! 🙂