Is there anything spouses should hide from each other?


#1

A man who had a very turbulent sexual past and who still struggled with his excessive sexual desires after his conversion and getting married was told in confession that when he falls back into his sexual sins (I.e masturbation, porn etc) he should keep it between him and God and just bring it to confession.

It’s true that such news would be a total devastation to his wife who was instrumental in his conversion and who witnessed the great miracle God did in his life - it could potentially ruin her trust and thereby really hurt the relationship- but do you think it’s right for the man to keep these struggles just between himself and God as the priest suggested?

Putting myself in these shoes I know I would feel extremely betrayed and would be tormented to know that the husband I trust is capable of that, not to mention that the trust would definitely become an issue, but I’m thinking what if she somehow finds out after a year or 2 or 5, wouldn’t it be even worse?

If it were a one-time thing it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world but if he has these temptations and struggles and falls regularly shouldn’t the spouse know?


#2

I’ve struggled with pornography and masturbation in the past, and I shared every nugget of information with my wife. Husbands and wives should not keep secrets from eachother. That said, if one doesn’t want to hear about each little thing and prefers to remain ignorant, they are not under an obligation to sit through such.

I found my wife to be very forgiving and a great acountability partner. She knew it had nothing whatsoever to do with her. It was my struggle, and she was happy to listen, pray and do whatever she could to help, because she loves me:)


#3

It would be up to the husband to decide if he should tell his wife or not, but the confessor is right to tell him that he is not obligated to tell his wife if he falls into sin again. And the reason is we all fall into sins–again. We are all fallible and prone to sin. We all have imperfections and faults. Expecting another, simply because s/he is married to you to be perfect and never sin in a particular way is setting yourself up for a major disappointment. It’s not that a husband might sin that’s the problem it’s thinking a spouse has some sort of right to demand he not sin–something even God doesn’t ask or expect. Struggling with an issue is not the same thing as sinning, either.

It’s something that a couple should discuss openly and find ways to aid each other in defeating, but to expect a spouse to never mess up or never have temptations is expecting the impossible. I would let my spouse know he can tell me anything without me judging him or getting angry with him. I’d want him to come to see that this problem can be dealt with and overcome, but I would not tell him he will break my heart or I will reject him if he happens to slip into such sin again. Confession is always between the penitent, the priest, and God. No spouse has the right to be included because we are all responsible for the state of our own souls not those of others not even our spouses, grown children or anyone else capable of making their own decisions.


#4

If I were married, I think I would hide the money.


#5

[quote="Magickman, post:4, topic:238698"]
If I were married, I think I would hide the money.

[/quote]

Oh man, that would open a whole other can of worms! It's one thing for a spouse to have a little "egg" money set aside, but to hide all that one has is not in the true spirit of marriage. It's not the same as not telling sins confessed to one's priest, after all, it's not trusting one's spouse. And why marry someone if you cannot trust him/her from the get-go? Not that people can't mess up--we all mess up, but to go into a marriage without a decent level of trust is only asking for trouble.


#6

I think there are certain things that spouses SHOULD hide from each other... like GAS and other disturbing habits...

But that's for a whole different thread... :cool:


#7

[quote="1inICXC, post:1, topic:238698"]
A man who had a very turbulent sexual past and who still struggled with his excessive sexual desires after his conversion and getting married was told in confession that when he falls back into his sexual sins (I.e masturbation, porn etc) he should keep it between him and God and just bring it to confession.

It's true that such news would be a total devastation to his wife who was instrumental in his conversion and who witnessed the great miracle God did in his life - it could potentially ruin her trust and thereby really hurt the relationship- but do you think it's right for the man to keep these struggles just between himself and God as the priest suggested?

Putting myself in these shoes I know I would feel extremely betrayed and would be tormented to know that the husband I trust is capable of that, not to mention that the trust would definitely become an issue, but I'm thinking what if she somehow finds out after a year or 2 or 5, wouldn't it be even worse?

If it were a one-time thing it probably wouldn't be the end of the world but if he has these temptations and struggles and falls regularly shouldn't the spouse know?

[/quote]

The reality is the reality.

A person who cheats/uses porn has an obligation first to get securely out on the other side of that addiction BEFORE he enters marriage.
Secondly, if he falls into such a serious sin of betrayal he has to come clean to his wife and ask for her forgiveness and sincerely repent. The betrayed spouse has a right to know what character she is living with, and if the cheating continues she has as right to seperate herself from her husband/the humiliation and destructive situation.
If the man is concerned for his wife and about her trust, he doesn't cheat in the first place.

Worms thrive in the dark.


#8

The priest is correct. Unless the spouse is a psychologist or licensed thearpist, specializing in sexual additction and can offer some real practical help, why in the world should they have to know? Telling them would only relieve the guilt of the offending party and leave the other with two choices, forgive or leave the relationship. That is an unfair burden to place on your spouse.


#9

[quote="Em_in_FL, post:6, topic:238698"]
I think there are certain things that spouses SHOULD hide from each other... like GAS and other disturbing habits...

But that's for a whole different thread... :cool:

[/quote]

:rotfl:

Unfortunately we can't hide that from each other.

Like...day 3 of marriage. "We've seen each other naked. I know what you look like in the morning and you snore a little. I don't care anymore." PFFFFFPPPPBBBBBT

But back on topic...I would rather know. I'd probably find it easier to place trust again in a person who had the backbone to tell me they did something as damaging as cheating than to find out for myself.

Not easy...just easier.


#10

So if your wife cheats on you, you don’t think you deserve to know?
You don’t think a person has a right to know they have been betrayed, that the wedding vows have been broken, and that their spouse has given his own soul a severe blow?

The spouse has comitted adultery, and the only right thing to do is to own that act and ask forgiveness from the one he has offended, which is not just God but also the person that he vowed faithfulness to.
Do you think if your wife goes and has an abortion of your child you deserve to know? Our actions have real bearings on our character, who we are, and as such we are obliged to be honest about betrayals and other gravely immoral actions to the one other person with whom we are “one flesh”.

This debate has been on CAF before. Its clear some people prefer not to know the sins of their spouse, but most people want an honest spouse. Its also clear that people who dont have to stand accountable to their spouse are much more likely to commit their adultery again. Its always easier to do things hidden, than when you know that your loved ones will know what you have done, this is a human fact.

As Jesus said: “Before you come to the alter, go and reconcile with your brother, and then you can come and give your gift”. The same… go and reconcile with your wife and have her forgiveness instead of pretending you can come to the Alter without doing this duty.


#11

Even in the confessional, the priest doesn’t need or want the gory details. That can be very self-indulgent. The spouse ought to have the big picture, though.

As others have pointed out, you don’t have to tell her, “I looked at such and so today,” and there might be good reason not to. You would do well to tell her, “I feel tempted to look at porn lately” or “I’m starting to get the wandering eye, like I did before I had that affair.” If she asks if you actually have acted on these temptations, then tell her, but even then not in detail that won’t help her keep you “clean and sober.”

If she only asks how she can help you avoid the temptations, she doesn’t want to know the details. She only wants to know that you trust her to help you overcome, and that you welcome her watchful eye to keep you on the straight and narrow.


#12

Hide your impatience, your jealousy, and problems that are yours alone to figure out. Hide your annoyance at your spouse's taste in gifts if they are given with a good heart. Hide anything that comes from selfishness or your own bad intentions and keep them in your heart. Hide any comments that are not loving, helpful, or complimentary.

But feel free to hide a really old and ugly tee shirt with holes in it that you are sick of seeing...:D
Hide that in the trash on pick up day. :thumbsup:


#13

We’ve gone from discussing private sins to more public ones. They are different from each other in kind. A sin privately committed and confessed is not the same as one committed with another person. There’s always the chance the spouse will learn about cheating–they usually do. To try to keep cheating secret is like trying to keep Hoover Dam from breaking by plugging the hole with your pinky finger. It’s better to come clean–the sooner the better, rid oneself of the temptation, and make amends.

Having said that, a spouse doesn’t have the right to demand to be told what his/her spouse has confessed. No one except the penitent has the right to break the seal of the confessional. This is to protect the sacrament from being profaned or used against the penitent.


#14

I’ve struggled with those sins to. I don’t really care about saying it. I have to be accountable for myself, and it still is a problem. The Lord is working in me and it is getting slightly easier to say no. Wile I would be honest with my wife. I would not openly blurt out that I have had the problem I think it would have to come up sometime before we get married especially if she is Catholic, But before I even go there I want to beat the problem well enough so when I am with my future spouse I will not have to worry about it. the urge never I think will go away but I just hope to be strong enough to throw out the temps of the devil especially if I am in a committed relationship.

Any way, I really think that spouses should trust each other. I think that ultimately all the doors should be open. We all have our skeletons, and I think we should be able to face them together because that is a show of true love. I would never judge the Woman I am with, we all have done our own sins, it’s not something to wallow over. Having each other and helping each other work through each problem is a great gift and I think it can really strengthen a relationship. I think we hurt ourselves when we don’t put trust and communication as a really important factor. For me I would be totally accountable to my wife, because we just all need someone here to be accountable to. Weather she will tell me is a different story that I can’t say because I am still single.


#15

[quote="Irishmom2, post:12, topic:238698"]
Hide your impatience, your jealousy, and problems that are yours alone to figure out. Hide your annoyance at your spouse's taste in gifts if they are given with a good heart. Hide anything that comes from selfishness or your own bad intentions and keep them in your heart. Hide any comments that are not loving, helpful, or complimentary.

But feel free to hide a really old and ugly tee shirt with holes in it that you are sick of seeing...:D
Hide that in the trash on pick up day. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

Great post :)


#16

I think it depends on many factors. In a good, solid, Christ centered marriage then there should be no reason to hide anything. You would have the love and support from your spouse to help you with your struggles.

During one of my confessions, I asked the priest if I should tell my husband about a certain sin. The priest said that I had caused a lot of damage to my marriage and needed to work on fixing what I broke first. And then to pray on it before telling my husband.

Sometimes there is just no good solution. If you tell your spouse the truth, you hurt them and could destroy the marriage. If you hide the truth, how you can have a good relationship if it is filled with secrets? I know I can never have a good marriage because both of us are keeping secrets. I accept that and am just doing the best I can.


#17

This is precisely how I feel

  1. The spouse has the right to know who she’s living with and
  2. If there’ no accountability it’s more likely to persist - I mean direct accountability, a priest in a confessional is not quite as palpable as a spouse

#18

[quote="cviolette, post:16, topic:238698"]
I think it depends on many factors. In a good, solid, Christ centered marriage then there should be no reason to hide anything. You would have the love and support from your spouse to help you with your struggles.

During one of my confessions, I asked the priest if I should tell my husband about a certain sin. The priest said that I had caused a lot of damage to my marriage and needed to work on fixing what I broke first. And then to pray on it before telling my husband.

Sometimes there is just no good solution. If you tell your spouse the truth, you hurt them and could destroy the marriage. If you hide the truth, how you can have a good relationship if it is filled with secrets? I know I can never have a good marriage because both of us are keeping secrets. I accept that and am just doing the best I can.

[/quote]

You bring excellent points to the table... It must be a very hard situation for you.
Just a suggestion.. DH and I both had some troublesome pasts, especially sexually so we made an agreement to tell each other our deepest, darkest secrets before getting engaged - I really held the premise that we should both know what we're really getting into- and he accepted. We had also agreed that if we found it impossible to accept or forgive each other than we would break up but take each other's secret to the grave.
It was incredibly eliberating to know I married the one who knew even the worst things about me.
Only u know f ud be comfortable with such a proposal however


#19

"Is there anything spouses should hide from each other?"

No.


#20

I think it depends on many factors. However, if there is no medical or legal reason to tell, and if the primary force behind telling is clearing of conscience, I amTOTALLY against it. The secret hiding spouse should absorb the guilt, not lessen it my hurting the other in the name of "honesty."

So while it is not a one size fits all, I agree with the initial priest's advice.


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