A lot has been said about openness in marriage, we have been led to believe that one has to bare their minds and souls always and share everything with a spouse in marriage or partner in a relationship. While openness upholds the principles of marriage, it is important to know how, when and what to share. There are things which are better left in the past where they belong, some of these may involve a person or people who may not want to be mentioned. “What the ear heareth not, grieveth not the heart” Do not in an attempt to appear an honest person destroy your spouse’s peace and happiness. Bear the burden of your guilty conscience alone if it does not directly affect your relationship. If you must, share it with God.

One thing to consider before sharing secrets is the temperament of your spouse, you must ensure that your spouse is emotionally strong and matured enough to handle the information. Most people may have had indiscretions from their past which may not be acceptable to their spouse. As long as this information is not shared at the onset of the relationship, it may be insensitive to share after they have invested their trust, love and commitment on you; especially if the secret predates your relationship and does not in any way interfere with the way you relate with your spouse.

It is a mistake to share secrets with your spouse if they have the tendency to be too judgemental and use things you share with them against you in future. Instead of strengthening the bond between you, being open about certain information may destroy your relationship. As long as you are still not involved in whatever mistakes you may have made in the past, it is advised to leave it in the past to protect you and your spouse from unnecessary emotional trauma. Some spouses may not have the emotional capacity to absorb information about your past relationships or other indiscretions.

Maintaining a close personal relationship with a member of the opposite sex with whom you are in touch with regularly and keeping it a secret from your spouse is another deal breaker. Even when it is an innocent, platonic or professional relationship, it is extremely important that you share these details with your spouse. Failure to do this may lead them to arrive at a conclusion which may be far from the truth about the nature of that friendship. Keeping this type of relationship secret gives your spouse the right to assume that it is more than just an innocent relationship.

Full disclosure is required in some situations which may have happened in the past or in the course of the relationship, for instance, if you have a child from a previous or present relationship, a health condition, previous conviction for a crime, properties and investments, if while still married or in a relationship, you have received a favour from a member of the opposite sex, like helped you get a job, gave you money or helped your business in anyway. Failure to share these and in the likely event of these coming to light, it will send the wrong signals which may erode the trust and confidence your spouse has reposed in you. Chose in wisdom what to share to foster trust and what to keep to yourself to protect your spouse from hurt – Sir Stanley Ekezie