Having open and honest communication with your spouse is essential to a healthy relationship. This was drilled into M and I during our pre-marital counseling, as well as the marriage classes we have attended at our church during our 2 and 1/2 years of marriage. Like many of you, we feel we have a strong, communicating relationship and can talk to each other about anything…or just about anything. Even though I fully trust M with anything, there was one deep, dark secret that I was too ashamed and hurt to tell him about. Are there some secrets that are just too taboo to tell your spouse? Do you risk throwing your whole relationship away when you dig up trash from the past? In the following post, I will tell you about how my deepest, darkest secret resurfaced itself and how my husband reacted. If there is something you are struggling to share with your spouse, read on.
I have held a secret from my early childhood for my whole life, until 2 nights ago. My pastor had started a new marriage class on Wednesday nights on the book “What Husbands and Wives Aren’t Telling Each Other.” We were assigned to read the first chapter in the book as “homework” before the first class. We read the chapter together, out loud. It focused on how every person coming into a marriage has some type of baggage they bring with them, possibly caused by some kind of family dysfunction or traumatic experience as a child. The book listed several different scenarios that may cause future marital issues, such as being raped to feeling you couldn’t do anything right for your parents. The book continued to talk about how identifying these situations from your past and talking with your spouse about them will help the mending process, as well as giving your spouse a better understanding of you. Needless to say, while M read the book to me, memories from a hurtful past kept running through my head, and I tried to hide my tears. I didn’t want M to know what I’d been through.
At the end of the chapter were a series of discussion questions, in which we had to identify the emotion we struggle with the most in our marriage and where we thought it rooted from. After sharing with each other, I became very outwardly emotionally distressed, and M could tell something was really bothering me. I knew I needed to tell him what happened to me, but I was scared and felt ashamed. Somehow I managed to muster out, “I was messed with.” And then the real crying started. I had just told the person I love the most on this earth what I had never told anyone, and I was so afraid of his reaction. Would he be angry I didn’t share this painful part of my life with him before we got married? Would he feel like I’ve lied to him this whole time? Would he be disgusted with me and put blame on me? Sharing this secret with him was the hardest thing I have ever had to tell anyone.
So how did he react? I was amazed! He wasn’t angry one bit, but open and understanding. He held me and wiped my tears, and told me not to cover my face in shame. And most of all, he was patient. We stayed up until early in the morning until I was able to tell him exactly what happened to me. It took a very long time for me to tell him everything, from when, to where, to how, and the hardest…the who. But he waited patiently beside me the whole time, telling me it was okay, and waiting for me as I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore.
Yes, I was exposed to sexual experiences at a young age. M now knew that. After patiently waiting and listening, he found out a family member was the cause, which was the hardest thing for me to tell him of all. All this time we had been together, almost 7 years since we started dating, I was afraid to tell him thinking he’d reject me and blame me for what had happened. But do you know what he said? “It doesn’t change a thing with us.” That’s exactly what I needed to hear: total reassurance of his love for me. Through the whole process, he kept telling me how much he wanted to be able to help me with whatever has been bothering me all these years. And now that he knows my deepest, darkest secret, it is almost as if a weight has been lifted off my chest. Even thinking back to my experiences doesn’t hurt as bad. My husband knows all about it, and he still loves me and accepts me, and is there to help me through rough times whenever they pop into my head again.
If you are struggling with an issue from the past and you know you have a strong, loving relationship with your spouse, don’t be afraid to tell them! Yes, it will be very hard to bring up those past hurts and feelings, but the reward at the end is so great! I feel so much closer to M. He can now pray for healing in that specific area in my life and help me through it. If you can’t trust your spouse, the one you have vowed your entire life to, who can you trust?