A while back, a friend was talking to me about her significant other and his habit of deleting messages between him and a couple of particular friends. I have to admit, she’s never really been the jealous type, so I didn’t know what to think at first. I have always assumed that her husband is faithful to her, and never thought they would have “those” issues. But I guess anyone can get a little worried over something if it seems suspicious enough.
She’s asked him a couple times to respect how uncomfortable she is with him talking to two different ladies – both old friends, both ladies he’s known since before he met his wife. She thought he had finally given in to her request, and although she felt bad because she didn’t want to seem controlling, she also felt like it was right to protect their union.
Then, she found out that he was talking to these ladies from time to time. And deleting all evidence of the conversations. I didn’t know what to say to her, I didn’t want to tell her to assume the worst (which is exactly what I would do in her situation. Anybody know where I put my suitcase?) The reason I didn’t want to go there, is because I could be wrong. But do I tell her to just forget it?
Marriage requires transparency. The no-privacy, bare everything, always, kind of transparency. I believe that in marriage, we give up our right to privacy. I heard the reason for secrecy once as being “because I was planning a special gift and wanted to surprise him” but honestly, secrecy is hurtful, worrisome, and 9 times out 10, if you’re hiding something, it’s because you know you’re in the wrong. So, while a little careful planning for a special surprise is okay, going all out and being highly secretive can cause more damage than a good surprise is worth.
Luckily for my friend and her husband, they got it sorted it out. She sat down with him, and despite all of his defensiveness and her hurt, they worked it out. He figured out that she wasn’t angry, she was hurt, and she agreed to stop asking him to not talk to his friends. He stopped deleting the conversations, and she’s admitted that she still checks from time to time, but those conversations never include any naughty talk, he doesn’t whine to them about his wife or their home life. They trade phones at the end of most days, because come to find out, he thought she was talking to an old flame from time to time, too. She wasn’t, and after discussing who they each had saved in their contacts, he felt as much better as she did. She’s pretty picky about who she talks to, and she’s very upfront with her husband about her conversations with anyone. She admits that she struggles from time to time with him having a female best friend other than her, but she knows that being bitter, angry, or hateful about it will drive him away. She loves him too much for that.
When he quit defending his right to have friends, and quit hiding conversations with other women from her, she was able to trust him. In my opinion, trust is typically earned, and if you are doing sneaky things, then why does your spouse have any reason to trust you? But if you leave everything an open book, and live with nothing to hide, then the kind of trust that is built will last a lifetime.
Have you ever hidden anything from your significant other? Was it really harmless or were you hiding it because you were doing something wrong? Please share your story in the comments!
6 thoughts on “Transparency”
What a wonderful post. I feel the same way and also am the girl who, before I followed Christ and before I was married, have almost always had male best friends. But within marriage, I easily see the wisdom in your post and we too have the same agreements as in your marriage. I also appreciate the way you are able to share your thoughts in a straightforward way without being judgmental and harsh. I look forward to reading more of your writing!
Hubs has always said that males, even if they tell you until they are blue in the face you are only a friend to them, at some point have wanted more. While it might not be a full relationship, it’s more than just a friendship. Wink. Wink. lol. Considering the male population thinks different, I would have to agree.
Good post, Regina! I can only answer from my personal experience, but my husband and I decided together when we first married that we would not be close friends with a member of the opposite sex. We have many acquaintances, but any truly close friends that we would share intimate details of our lives are also married, and we don’t share any intimate life and marriage relationship details with the opposite sex friend, only the same sex friend. During vulnerable marriage relationship times, it’s just not wise to open a door that may not be able to be closed. We have been married happily for 26 years, so all I can say is that it is a good policy for us.
I can also say when I was a single woman, the majority of my friends were male. I had several male acquaintance level friends and about 5 very close male friends. We hung out, went to social functions (movies, etc.), and we would talk about the ups and downs of our love relationships with other people to each other. Unfortunately, one by one, each of these male ‘friends’ wanted to make our relationship one with ‘benefits’. I was always disappointed, because I never did anything intentional (at least I felt) to convey that I wanted a sexual relationship, and they truly were good friends up until that point. When I would say I only wanted to be friends, the friendship, mostly because of the awkwardness between us afterwards, or maybe because they had a goal of an intimate relationship in the first place, would die out.
I don’t think it’s impossible to have opposite-sex friends after you are married, but the key is being on the same page about it with your spouse, and being as transparent as possible, so there are no misunderstandings and no possibilities of ending up letting that relationship become something it shouldn’t. I’m glad your friends ended up getting on the same page.
Sorry, I just wanted to comment. Didn’t mean to write a book! 🙂
Thank you for your comment! Congrats on 26 years, that is wonderful!
A majority of my best friends are men and I would be so hurt if they just stopped talking to me because they got married. Friendships are a a great source of love and unfortunately in our day in age, may outlive most marriages. I am happy they sorted it out, because as a the single woman with best friends (who happen to be men) it just doesn’t seem fair.. HA, especially since I have known these people for most of my adult life. Transparency is important but as is trust….. sigh…. you are also right about secrecy.. it can be very hurtful in any relationship. I am an open book and really try to maintain that in all of my relationships.
It is my strong belief that married men should not be in the company of single women. While I appreciate your stance as “the friend,” I have to be honest and say that too many things happen between “just friends.” If marriages were more protected and regarded as the sacred and worthwhile covenant that they were intended to be, then this wouldn’t be quite such an issue.
Thank you for your comment and please don’t take my sentiments personally. I just believe in marriages, and the importance of making our spouse a priority over even long time friends.