Trait: I don’t have secrets I am keeping from my mate.
Some of the most relationally destructive stories I’ve heard as a marriage counselor have been when a husband or wife inadvertently discovers secrets that have been hidden by their spouse. Just to name a few…
• Secret bank accounts and credit cards.
• Another family in a distant town.
• A knock at the door and a person searching for their biological father or mother.
• A cross dressing husband.
• Prior felony and subsequent prison sentence.
• Massive debt due to an addictive gambling problem.
• Multiple prior marriages.
• Hetero and homo sexual affairs.
• Child molestation / incest.
I know I’ve shared this story before but it deserves repeating. One of the most tragic stories was from a caller to our New Life Live Radio show, a nationally syndicated counseling call in show (see www.newlife.com for local stations and times). The woman shared that her husband had died suddenly nine months ago and the family was still deeply grieving because he was a hero to everyone. As she began to clean out his office and go through computer files, she discovered vast amounts of pornography as well as names and numbers of prostitutes and call girls in various cities. E-mails were also found that detailed meeting dates and locations.
She went on to say that the family’s continual remembrances, loving memories and fun stories made her so angry. “I want to dig him up and kill him!” “Should I tell my family or suffer in this torment alone?”
For once, all of us were silent as the impact of her words sunk in (“dead air” in broadcasting is a no no). Finally the silence was broken and we said “Tell your family!”
This last Monday, we were talking about Valentine’s Day. Someone said “Don’t forget to buy your wife a card!” My response was, “How about an honest card that has something to do with reality? Perhaps “I know that our love has not been what we both have wanted, but I want it to be better. Let’s try to grow together this year!” Maybe the best and most healing gift would be to reveal a secret, ask forgiveness and begin to experience freedom.
Thanks for listening.