Saturday, September 04, 2010

Keeping Secrets From a Spouse?

When is that a good idea? CONFIDENTIALLY IN ST. LOUIS wrote to Dear Abby:

My son "Clay" has been married seven years. There are times I like to discuss things of a personal nature with him having to do with our family, and I have asked him not to mention our talks with his wife.
Clay now has a new family. In the Biblical tradition, this is called "leaving and cleaving". Clay's wife is every bit as much family to him as his mother is, even more so. I've discussed things with my family and haven’t always given my wife all of the details – such as if they question something about her or her family of origin. Though, I suppose a better approach on my part would be to tell them "You should ask her." However, if someone in my family prefaces something with asking me not to tell my wife, I say, "I don’t keep secrets from my wife." Now, if you read this blog, you know I've had thoughts I haven't shared with her – yet. But I do tell others, including her family, not to tell me things they don’t want me to share with her. If it is a surprise party or gift for her, then that is an exception, of course.

These discussions have nothing to do with her.
Not true. If they have to do with Clay, they have to do with her. She relies on Clay. She trusts Clay. They are supposed to have intimacy.

The problem is whatever he tells her, she repeats to her whole family.
She shouldn't necessarily do that.

I do not want our personal problems and other matters to be known by everyone.
Then don't tell them to Clay. But anything that Clay is involved with, his wife should know about (uh, unless he's blogging anonymously and keeping her anonymous, too).

A very dangerous thing is kind of the reverse - when a husband or wife complains to parents or siblings about a spouse on an ongoing basis.

Are there things a person shouldn't tell a spouse? Yes. One example: if a buddy came up to me and told me he cheated on his wife ten years ago and that there was no child or STI as a result and he hasn't seen that other person in years, I would tell him NOT to tell his wife (or anyone else) now. It would only hurt her. But when someone outside of the marriage tells one spouse something that can have an impact on the other spouse, the information should usually be shared.

What say you?

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