What does a wife do when her husband is secretive about an issue and resistant to talk about it openly?
Here are a few thoughts:
1. Self-esteem and being valued are high on the husband’s list of needs; therefore, it’s important that, generally speaking, nothing is done ‘behind his back’, including discussions with others, counseling, or seeking opinions of friends. Taking ‘private’ problems between a husband and wife and discussing with friends in a ‘public’ manner without his permission can be devastating.
Men that discover their wives have been sharing private issues/ problems with others without stated permission feel “raped” and betrayed emotionally. Of course, the exception to this rule of thumb would be the presence of violence, neglect, or abuse of any kind taking place. Wives need to talk about this immediately with someone they trust!
2. The power of transformation in a marriage is found in its intimacy. The goal is to reach it, maintain it, and enjoy it, in all its expressions!
When Intimacy thrives, there is honesty, openness, and vulnerability between both partners:
- Honesty demands we work toward becoming an ‘open book’, being ourselves with no pretense—all the while expressing ourselves in love. Honesty leads me to say what I feel and think—even if I’m apprehensive.
- Openness is inviting your spouse into a relationship that enjoys free flowing expressions of ideas and feelings. This is the place of unconditional acceptance. Difficult conversations in the context of real love transform both partners.
- Vulnerability means I willingly expose my heart and mind to the person I love most in the world. No need to protect myself; heart encounters always result in the healing of souls.
3. Don’t encourage the secrecy by avoiding it. Occasionally a wife will empathize with her husband and begin to protect the secret by avoidance, even to the point of protecting him from situations or conversations she knows will bring it to light.
Men are designed to be warriors and protectors and when challenged appropriately, with God’s help, will rise to the occasion. It may be a mistake for wives to try to protect their husbands—perhaps the best approach is complete honesty and openness even if there is pain as a result.