In today’s blog post, I want to initiate a discussion, which I hope all my readers will be willing to contribute to. I will pose a number of questions to guide this discussion.
Recently, I planned a surprise party to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. In order to keep the surprise element, I had to do a number of things behind his back, withhold important information and limit what I shared with him.
This was the most difficult part of the process. There were many times that I had engaged in discussions with many of his old friends, especially those he had been out of touch with, in search of information about his days in the university. In my usual practice, I would download my entire day including conversations I had to him at the end of the day, when we are together. But during this period, I had to exercise extreme caution not to share this information with him.
I guarded my cell phone as if my life depended on it. It is not unusual for him to pick my phone when it rings and answer it for me or read out incoming text messages to me. It was an edgy, stand-on-the-toes period for me. I felt very bad on a number of occasions that I could not share important information with him. There was once he was worried that he had not heard from his longest friend despite trying to reach him a few times. I had spoken to the friend, and knew what was going on at his end but could not offer any reassurance to my husband as I would have had to explain why I could reach his friend and he could not. Some of our friends had limited contact with him so as not to accidentally divulge information about the event.
There was another occasion when I was alone at home and needed to go out to make arrangements for the venue of the event. At that time, I needed some assistance to get ready if I had to go out. My house is on multiple levels and I required support moving from one level to the other. I had arranged for a friend to take me out. I managed to get ready by myself and went out to meet my friend. It was the first time I would leave the house without any assistance getting ready after a long period of time, and I could not share this joy with him when I spoke to him later in the day. That was difficult.
For some time, communication was strained and tense. I was not spontaneous as I normally would be in sharing information. I was too guarded. I knew he was aware that I was up to something and definitely would plan an event to celebrate his birthday, but I also knew he would wonder how I was going to do it when I could not go out on my own and there was no movement in the family account.
This scenario I described above did not pose any serious threat to our relationship, but this as well as other situations that I have been privy to in the past, got me thinking about the following:
- To what extent should a couple withhold information from each other?
- Under what circumstances can a couple refrain from sharing information with each other?
- How do you maintain openness, transparency and communion in a relationship when a couple keep secrets from each other?
- In what ways would withholding information from your spouse provide grounds for lying or sidestepping the truth?
- How do you tell the truth or share information when you know that it may grieve the person you are in relationship with?
- How important is information sharing in promoting trust and honesty between a couple?
- What should you share and what should you not share?
- When the Bible says that the two shall become one, does this imply sharing everything?
- Even when our intentions are good and we are trying to protect the other party in the relationship, how would they feel if they eventually find out the truth?
- What are the things that can erode trust in a relationship?
I have heard that the truth will always come out no matter how long it takes. If this be the case, what good does it serve to withhold the truth from the significant people that we are in relationship with?
Luke 8:17 says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed (revealed), and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open,” what is the implication of this verse for those in a relationship?
I am not being naive. I know people who have found themselves in very difficult relationships where they have learnt to be guarded in what they share with their spouses as a coping mechanism. Neither am I after proposing an unnecessary argument or debate. However, I believe that there is something to discuss here that we all can learn from and thereby enrich our relationships.
My plan is to pool together salient points from your responses and prepare a blog post on this subject which I pray will help someone at a crossroad of decision making.
Please do share your thoughts on this subject in the comment box below.