I knew it would upset her, so I didn’t tell her.

November 15, 2010

in Communication, Marriage Killer

Ever not told your bride something because you knew it would upset her? Some guys do this to avoid confessing sin (adultery, porn) or mistake (bad financial decision, getting a ticket, gambling losses). Other times not telling is done to avoid things that are not the man’s fault – the possibility of being laid off at work, something one of the kids did, or bad news of any kind. Still other times it’s a matter of not wanting to upset her when you want something – from sex tonight to a few days away hunting next month.

I get it. I understand not wanting to be the messenger who might be yelled at, I understand not wanting her to be disappointed in you, and I understand just hating it when she feels hurt. Thing is, most women see not sharing something as the same thing as lying to them. So when she finds out (and let’s face it, that happens a good deal of the time) her anger or hurt is compounded by her sense of betrayal that you did not tell her in the first place. If this happens very often, she will feel she can’t trust you, and that’s not something you want or need in your life!

Personally, I think withholding things is wrong even if it’s guaranteed she will never find out – and a lot of guys have found out that there is no such thing as a guarantee that she won’t ever find out.

5 comments
Lou
Lou

Ok, granted, you've got to tell her about the ticket, or catching your son on a porn site, or the financial move you wish you hadn't made. But there has to be a measure of privacy granted you and your thoughts - your best buddy who confesses an affair to you in confidence . . . that she really DOES look fat in that dress . . . the things you discuss with your therapist - or there is no room for trust in the relationship. She has to have the confidence in you that if you don't tell her something that yes, it really is in your [the couple's] best interest. Total, uncensored, "brutal" honesty is a highway to discord, dissatisfaction, and regret. Wisdom is the right truth at the right time to the right person for the right reasons.

Rich
Rich

BOY AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH!!! My wife qualifies willfull omission of facts as lying. She sees no other motive than to deceive. And you're right, doing that more than a few times will make it difficult, if not impossible for her to trust you. Even YEARS later. :-/

Phil Evans
Phil Evans

Just wanted to add another facet to this which I find challenging: when something my wife has done/does that annoys or upsets me, it can be hard to tell her because I know she'll be upset when I do. And I kind of feel that the loving thing to do is to put up with whatever the issue is rather than upset my wife by telling her about it. Of course, this is equally poisonous to the relationship (I guess that's why the Bible says we should *speak the truth* with love, my emphasis as we usually stress the second part); no bride is perfect, and at least if you're me, holding back on presenting an issue to spare your wife's feelings will just bring increasing resentment which will eventually burst out, and probably hurt her feelings even more when it does.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Lou - To some degree I think it varies from couple to couple. Some couples do share pretty much everything, and it works for them. To those folks it's not brutal, while to others it certainly would be. As my relationship leans strongly that way, I may be advocating it too much. As to little white lies (you don't look fat in hat dress) it bugs me because I hate games. I'd much rather have the truth, and know it's the truth because I know that is all I will get from my bride. In my case, my bride is the same way, so it works out well for us. This again is going to vary from couple to couple. On the confessions of others, Lori and I are in a somewhat unusual situation because of what we do. We make it clear that we function as a team, and don't keep any secrets from each other. That does not mean we will share something, just that we retain the right to do so. For me there are two reasons for this. Firstly I know that my wife's prayers and counsel are solid and helpful, and frequently benefits the person who has shared something with me. Secondly, I just don't want to have secrets from my bride. The more we share, the more freely we can communicate the better we understand what the other is feeling and going through, and the deeper our relationship becomes. BTW, I should also make it clear that I trust my bride 100% to keep any confidence. It won't go past her - period. That trust is necessary to share certain things. As I said to Phil, the line is difficult to define on this. I know what that line is for my marraige (for all practical purposes the only real line for us is when) - but I also know our line is not one that would work or be healthy for every couple.

The Generous Husband
The Generous Husband

@Phil Evans – For a long time the “in love” part of the truth in love was difficult for me. There were times I did not speak the truth because I felt I could not manage the love (or was I rationalising to avoid saying it?). There is probably a line between “putting up with it in love” and letting her know, but drawing that line is difficult. If you can really put up with it, without feeling negatively about her because of it, then maybe it’s okay to be silent. If you are going to harbour negative thoughts, then it probably needs to be addressed. Other factors should be considered as well. If it’s a difficult or stressful time for her, putting it off may be wise. Of course this can come back to bite you, especially if you say nothing for a very long time – then she will rightly want to know why it “suddenly bothers you”. I also think we need to differentiate those things which are only in your marraige as opposed to things she does with you and others. If she is doing something annoying to others, it’s loving to let her know so she can change. Finally, I think there are times when we let her know, make sure she understands, then drop it and learn to live with it if she makes no effort to change.

Previous post:

Next post: