secrets in marriage

Should I Confess Secrets to My Wife?

We all have secrets. Things that we did, things we’ve thought, and all things we hide. Show me a closet with no skeletons in it, and I’ll show you the closet of a liar. No one gets out of this life with a perfect record. [Tweet This] The entire world does not need you to share your secrets. But does your wife? Yes, she most certainly does.

How do we and our marriages benefit when we confess those secrets to our wives? Here are three key benefits of not keeping secrets in marriage.

Peaceful Heart & Mind

When we present anything less than the truth to our wives it may prevent temporary pain, but it also builds internal walls in the relationship. For instance, if you’re a man looking at porn and self-satisfying most nights but keep that from her, she might not know what’s going on, but she surely feels your absence. Her heart becomes troubled, your mind feels guilty, and the longer it festers the bigger the issue gets. You’re both trapped in these emotions with no remedy. Truth and confession are the solutions to bring peace to the heart and mind. However, seek out counsel before your confession to think through how it will affect your wife and prepare for the ramifications. Tell her what you’re doing, and give grace to the consequences that will take time to heal.

Better Health

If you have secrets, you carry unnecessary burdens. That kind of thing is a major factor in physical health, particularly stress. It’s like a cancer that spreads throughout your life. The act of confession serves to release that burden and promotes healing. Men tend to bury things like financial woes and job issues thinking they are protecting their loved ones. You’re not; you are isolating them. Tell your wife what’s going on and it will improve your health.

Stronger Marriage Bond

Remember this? “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” That’s the vow. She can’t help you when she doesn’t know the full story. She can’t fulfill her duty based on half-truths and missing information. Secrets have no place. There are plenty of secrets of mine that my wife wishes she didn’t need to know, but she grasps that she must. That’s how unbreakable marriage bonds are built.

Sound Off

What's the hardest thing about confessing a secret to your wife?

  • TripleArcher

    Honesty and openness are crucial to having a great marriage. I have lived a policy of radical honesty in my marriage for a number of years in recovery from what was a bad marriage and is now a great marriage. I can confirm the benefits mentioned in this article, and more.

    The main thing that honesty and openness help accomplish in marriage is unity. It creates understanding, which is required for the couple to create compatibility and adjust to each other. It is required to resolve conflict.

    Honesty and openness are an emotional need, often more so of the wife. To be open and honest meets this need in her. Being dishonest and deceptive creates mistrust and damages the relationship.

    Openness and honesty are sometimes counter-intuitive. You may feel that an “innocent” lie is the best short-term solution to a problem or conflict. While this may bring short-term relief, it brings long-term destruction.

    In the article it is stated, “Truth and confession are the solutions to bring peace to the heart and mind”. However, the solution does not stop there. While this statement is true in what it brings for the husband, it would not be true for the wife. Frankly, truthful confession will bring pain for her initially. The solution for both husband and wife is CHANGE (true repentence) that the husband does after confession. Without change, all you have done is sought relief for yourself and hurt your wife. Confess and change. Positive change heals.

    Similarly, under “Better Health” in the article, confession should be the first step to seeking agreement with your wife on whatever the problem is (financial woes, job issues, etc.). Don’t just confess. Do it for the purpose of coming into agreement with her on a plan of action.

    I am confirming that the rewards of openness and honesty are many and great, if you want a great marriage. While this article does a good job of explaining the benefits to you, the husband, for honesty, remember that the most important thing is for BOTH of you to win in the process.

    • Gary Abernathy

      Great reply and I totally agree. With some topics, there simply isn’t enough space to get to the level of depth truly needed. This was one of those. Thanks for adding to my conversation starter in this way. That’s exactly what we want to see happen.

  • Ahuh!

    Absolutley not! How incredibly stupid. Who does this make feel better? Certainly not your wife. Go ahead, give her a memory to dwell on. One that has no barring on your current life relationship or one you left behind long ago to be a better person. Sorry fellas your wrong on this one.

  • George

    While I agree that honesty is the best policy in marriage, you have to “speak the truth in love” if you’re trying to call out things she’s doing wrong. Also, while you may feel better after “confessing” something to your wife, your wife may begin to look at you differently, or what you confessed may burden her. We are able to freely confess and talk to God, and he doesn’t look at us differently. But I would be very careful in “over-sharing” our struggles as men, or our past. I’m not saying to lie about it, but I wouldn’t get into sordid details or that type of thing.

    God has forgiven us for things we have done before we were married, and if He’s “forgotten” about them according to His word, there is probably little good that can come from being too candid about our past. As you get to know your wife, you generally get to understand what she can handle, and what she can’t handle about your past.

    For example, say you slept around a lot as a single guy. But you repented of that, and are faithful to your wife. Then I simply don’t see any benefit in telling her that. In fact, I can see harm in that, because it can stir up feelings of jealousy and insecurity. She may think, “He’s comparing me to all his other past women.” Or worse, she may think that you will cheat on her, because you were promiscuous with women in the past.

    So, in summary, I’d say be honest when you talk to her, but be wise in how much of your past you share. I don’t expect my wife to share every sordid detail of her past. She’s mentioned a couple longer term relationships, but I’ve never probed her for more detail, because I simply don’t see any value in that. She left them, and that’s all I need to know. I don’t see any command in the Bible which says for Christians to freely share their past sins with each other, except for a accountability type of relationship with another man or with a counsellor if you’re still struggling with certain sins.

Subscribe to the Play of the Day for daily advice, videos and updates on how to be better dad.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How can keeping secrets hurt you?”

foster and adoption
OCC
Every Man's Bible