While marriage is a union between two people agreeing to share their lives with one another, does that mean we need to share everything? And what is everything, anyway?
Emotional intimacy, the kind we all crave in our marriages involves being vulnerable and open with one another. When we agree to share a life, we share our hopes, dreams and fears. We share our bodies, we share our families of origin, we create a new family sometimes and share our children. We share responsibilities and mortgages. Isn’t that everything?
When does intimacy interrupt privacy and does it matter to you? I’m a super private person, and yet, if my husband wants to know something, I answer him honestly. That said, there are things I keep to myself.
For example, I don’t tell him I prefer $22 mascara to the $8 drugstore variety. I may or may not tell him I took a nap instead of going to the grocery store. My husband may not tell me about a deal gone wrong at work. He may decide not to tell me about a conversation he had with his mom that he knows will upset me.
Quite frankly, I need to keep some things to myself. And Hubs needs the same. One thing I never tell Hubs? What my friends tell me in confidence. Or what we chat about that perhaps he just doesn’t need to know. I think that is an ultimate betrayal in trust. I know women who tell their husbands everything their friends say. Something about that just feels wrong to me.
I get that at the end of a fun night, there’s nothing like snuggling up with your husband or wife and chatting about who said what and how funny this person was and can you believe the joke Jake told blahblahblah. But. But. If I’m out with my gal pals and one of them starts talking about how aggravated they are with their job, their own Hubs or how she’s thinking of going on vacation alone, what kind of friend am I to share that with Hubs? She’s telling me, not him. I stopped sharing information with a friend of mine that does share everything with her husband. I stopped trusting her to keep my confidences, big or small. I didn't want her husband knowing about my private life.
Do our partners need to know all these things? I don’t think so. I talked with Hubs before writing this post and he and I both agreed on this. Neither of us, in these situations, are telling lies to disguise our true identities from one another.
Sharing becomes tricky though, when it involves bigger issues. What if my son goes to my husband about something and asks him not to tell me? YIKES. While I know I don’t need to know EVERYTHING about my kids, I admit, I kind of want to. That said, I trust Hubs enough to tell me what I need to know. That was tough to type, simply because, kids.
Thankfully, we communicate pretty well (B- communicators? Please see last week’s column for clarity.) Because of the good and open communication, we both know what needs to be shared and what doesn’t.
Sharing can become tricky though, if we tell little lies consistently, when we do begin to hide part of our life from our spouse. The more we hide our true selves the more we step away from each other. Over time, we create emotional distance. The small, consistent lies add up to a big old life of lies.
So what do we share and what do we keep private? It’s different for every relationship, I think. If we truly know our partners and know ourselves, a few secrets here and there are healthy. Hubs doesn’t need to know just how much green juice I buy every week, right?
What do you think? How much do you share with your spouse? Let us know.
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Filed under: marriage