Do I Have To Tell My Spouse Everything?

The answer may not be as easy as you think.
By John Daum
January 4, 2021

The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.   -Niels Bohr

Do I have to tell my spouse everything?

Do you want your spouse to tell you everything? 

It depends. It really does. 

What do we know for sure?

Once you marry someone, you aren’t leading your own life anymore. You are officially in a partnership, and you need to treat it as such. It’s important to discuss and respect boundaries.

We want to be known, understood, and accepted. Viewing marriage as a lifelong commitment between two people creates a safe environment to be accurately known, completely understood, and unconditionally accepted. Striving to accomplish those things is the journey of a lifetime.

Relationships are built in good faith on a foundation of honesty, trust, and communication. If you want to have a healthy, lasting marriage, it is not wise or healthy to be doing things you aren’t comfortable sharing with your spouse. If there is something you want or need, sit down with your spouse and discuss it. 

The moment you under-share, withhold relevant information, cross agreed-upon boundaries, or intentionally try to hide something, and are found out—the trust evaporates and your bond is weakened or broken. What breaks in an instant takes a long time to rebuild.

I don’t know you. I don’t know your spouse and I don’t know the health of your marriage or the boundaries you have agreed to put in place to protect your relationship and make it thrive. But here are some general things to think about as you consider what needs to be shared with your spouse:

  • You shouldn’t share what doesn’t belong to you. Your spouse has no claims to what friends and colleagues confide in you. “Secret” does not equal “Private.”
  • There is a major difference between telling your partner everything in your past because you want to and telling your partner everything in your past because they want you to.
  • You might be strong enough to share the truth, but your spouse might not be strong enough to deal with it. Sensitivity and timing are everything.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of believing you only have two options: tell your spouse everything or tell your spouse nothing. There could be dozens of legitimate options in between. Be compassionately discerning.
  • You need to examine your motives as to why you are sharing certain information.
  • It can be a short trip from “words” to “wounds.” Choose your words carefully.
  • Some of our choices bring shame, pain, and consequences to ourselves and others. Integrity doesn’t compound consequences beneath layers of lies.

The opposite of a fact is falsehood, but the opposite of one profound truth may very well be another profound truth.” Lying, deceit, and deception are wrong, but sharing is not necessarily always caring. But don’t disconnect the profound relationship between truthfulness and love.

Related blogs:


Maximize Your Marriage Series | Tips for Healthy Communication




***If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, contact the National Hotline for Domestic Abuse. At this link, you can access a private chat with someone who can help you 24/7. If you fear that someone is monitoring your computer or device, call the hotline 24/7 at 1−800−799−7233. For a clear understanding of what defines an abusive relationship, click here.***

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