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Read Letter

Confidences In Marriage

My dear Jil, yes I do agree he has to carry you along. Marriage thrives better when couples carry each other along, put each other in the know.

The only problem is that society conditions men not to share stuff. The evolutionists will of course find a basis for this, but truth is men don’t share stuff. Until a man is pushed to limits he won’t come out and share his problem. Women are freer in this regard. And so sharing stuff is not natural to men. We’re conditioned to keep things in. It’s part of being “macho.” The problem with that disposition is that by the time the wife gets to know what’s going on things have escalated significantly. She’ll be dealing with a pressured situation.

Of course, sharing things brings a couple closer. They’re invested in their joys and difficulties. And the burden is lessened because it’s shared. It weighs less on the soul. Part of the reason men don’t share stuff is because they prize privacy. They don’t want to be exposed, they don’t want their problems broadcast. Kind of takes away from the concept of manhood.

A man must learn to bear difficulties, hold his head high. Hemingway defines courage as grace under pressure.

There are exceptions to sharing confidences however and you must recognise these exceptions. The first exception to the sharing of confidence is the rule of conscience. If it violates conscience don’t share it. It’s injurious to the soul.

The second exception to the sharing of confidence is avoidance of gossip. Gossip is terrible. It’s usually unsubstantiated information masquerading as fact through repetition.

The third exception to sharing of confidence is fiduciary responsibility. If your husband is a doctor for example we won’t expect him to breach patient-doctor confidentiality. You shouldn’t expect your doctor husband to share his patients’ problems with you, no matter how close you are. It’s a violation of something sacred. There’s also attorney-client confidentiality. If your husband is an attorney surely he can’t share confidential depositions with you. He’ll violate trust. Or if he’s a pastor he can’t divulge confessions or issues from counselling sessions. That’s a serious breach of trust. There are professions in which the keeping of secrets is required.

The same applies to state secrets. If he’s a member of the intelligence community or is a high ranking government official surely you can’t expect him to divulge state secrets to you. You’ll go to jail or get killed. We wouldn’t expect your husband to share with you stuff that will endanger your life or send you to jail. That’s not love. Then there are stuff you can’t handle. Some things may be too sensitive for you. You may not have the capacity to handle certain types of information. May be too much for you.

There are some things that are best not known. If he finds out something untoward say about his senior pastor for example, he will have to assume responsibility for that kind of information. Then there are secrets confided by others in absolute trust. Such confidences should not be breached in the name of marriage. If the confider did not contemplate the sharing of the information with you it shouldn’t be shared. It’s someone’s privacy.

One of the key things in life is to be trusted with information. Those who know to keep their mouths shut tend to go far. And if your husband is the spiritual type and God tells him not to share some bit of information then he has to oblige. It’s terrible losing God’s confidence. Paul couldn’t divulge some stuff. Called it illegal to do so. Bothered on criminality. Then there’s information that can’t be shared immediately. They need to wait on the future. A man must be circumspect about such. You have to recognise these factors and not pressure your husband under these circumstances.

And so you’re dealing with two levels of information reticence in men: the very nature of men and inexpedient sharing of information. The natural disposition of men not to share information is why they isolate a snitch like a virus. Being a snitch can carry heavy penalty in the community of men. If the general belief is that a man can’t keep information everyone will be careful about sharing confidences with him or in front of him. When he’s around everyone is circumspect. They’re careful what they say. The genetic community of men generally regard such men as aberrations. Men aren’t supposed to be blabber mouths. Everyone is careful around such. And the man who seems to share everything with his wife is regarded less. He’s thought of less in the community of men. So you can understand why he seems reticent about sharing stuff with you.

Now, knowing that about him and about men in general you have to be mindful about divulging the confidences of your husband. When a man shares confidential information with his wife it pains him no end if she divulges the information to third parties. And it’s not just adult men who have this disposition. Notice how betrayed a young man feels when his mum betrays his confidence, say about a girlfriend. She’ll lose his confidence.

Confidentiality is one of the key attributes of marriage. There are things that must remain between a man and his wife. Your husband can’t tell you something in confidence and you become a publisher. You’ll lose his confidence. He’ll be careful what he tells you in the future. You’ll breed pain.

The betrayal of confidence can create room for another woman. It’s happened several times. You don’t want your husband confiding in another woman. That’s your place. It’s a place of trust. You can’t take what he tells you in confidence and go and share it with your family. The issue is not whether you trust your family. The issue is betrayal. And many marriages have broken from betrayal of trust and confidence. It makes a man keep silent. He makes a quiet resolution about you when you betray his trust. He may give you a second chance, confide in you again. When you break that trust a second time you break something delicate in the marriage. You become characterised.

The truth is, men want intimate partnership with their wife. It’s not always apparent but it’s true. They want someone they can trust with their life. Samson comes to mind. And so your ability to keep his confidence will to a large extent determine the nature of your relationship. It will determine the intimacy of the marriage. From a man’s perspective there’s no real intimacy in a relationship unless there’s data confidence. He must be able to trust you with information. That means a lot to a man. He also wants to seek your advice on issues he’s confronted with. He wants a different perspective, wants your wisdom.

There’s a perspective a woman brings to issues. That perspective helps a man seek balance, makes him see things from another angle. Men consider that invaluable. It’s why he’ll seek your opinion on human resource problems in his business. You bring a different perspective to issues. And you help him soften his approach to some other issues. Men can be hard-edged. There are family issues that your wisdom will resolve. And there are resolutions you’ll help him come to, especially when he’s too soft on an issue. You strengthen him.

Sometimes the role of a woman in a man’s life is to remind him of who he is. Circumstances and pressures can blunt definition of manhood. Being able to play these roles… That’s a powerful position in a man’s life. It’s a powerful position in your husband’s life. That’s the real partnership. You don’t want to lose that position. You don’t want him to distrust you. You have to take another look at the need to keep confidences. It’s more than words, it’s relationship, the gluing of partnership. It’s about trust. He won’t carry you along if he can’t trust you. He’ll put you on a need to know basis, especially if he feels your loyalty is to your family and not your marriage.

Wisdom is profitable in all things.

We’ll talk again soon.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

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Tags : Trust, Confidentiality, third parties

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