No Secrets in Marriage: Relationship Goal or Loss of Privacy?

Do you believe a great marriage is only built on no secrets? I think it depends on what you consider ‘secrets’.

Each partner will always know more about themselves than does the other. We can think we know it all or have told it all— that is seldom the case.

Consider this. Undisclosed information can be divided into secrets, surprises, and privacy.

  • Secrets are the kinds of things we advise our kids not to keep.  This helps      protect them. 

In committed adult partnerships, keeping secrets often suggests the need to hide something bad or cover up information. Hiding this secretive knowledge might function to prevent:

1. Verbal or physical abuse

2.  Surrendering individual rights to decision making

3.  Triggering of anger, frustration, or upset

4.   Loss of face

5.  Collapse of the relationship.


  • Surprises, in general, are considered the good things we hold in confidence temporarily.  But even so, not everybody appreciates surprises.


  • Privacy is an individual right to which we are all entitled—even in our intimate relationships. But how much? If we overvalue our privacy, intimacy is blocked. Too little privacy can compromise individuality and personal rights.


All three categories define limits in a marriage. The impact of secrets in a marriage depends on your marriage goals and the (healthy and unhealthy) relationship boundaries formed by secrets, surprises, and privacy.


  • Push back with your opinions and experiences. What do you think?



 © Copyright 2012 P.H. Pickett, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved.

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