National Association of Marriage Enhancement

The You Your Spouse Doesn’t Know and Shouldn’t

There are some things that should be left unsaid, especially if they could be potentially harmful to the relationship. Of course, there are also times when you need to say what could be potentially harmful, because out of that friction of conflict your relationship would grow stronger. Many people do not share what is necessary for fear of hurt (which will most likely lead to hurt later on), and many people share far beyond what is necessary generating worlds more of hurt.

So where is the line? What constitutes as a necessary share and what is an over-share? Here are some examples.

Necessary: If you have had an affair, your spouse needs to know, even if it is over and opens up a can of worms. If you leave it unsaid, there will be a space that develops between the two of you.

Over-share: If you have had a weird “fantasy” dream with another person in your sleep (and that is not a pattern your have developed), your spouse does not need to know. It was probably the devil trying to climb into your subconscious. Don’t give any more attention to that dream than has already happened. Do your best to forget.

Necessary: You lost your job. You lost money and/or investments. Your spouse needs to know if the financial situation has changed.

Over-share: If you have a high stress job and an anxious spouse, it is probably not wise to bring home every little stress or worry from work.

Necessary: If something is bringing you discomfort in the bedroom, SPEAK UP!

Over-share: If you are spending more time talking about what went wrong in your sex than it took to actually have sex, you are most likely sharing too many hurtful comments and critiques. Follow up one negative comment, with three positive ones.

Necessary: If you think you are struggling with manic depression, bi-polar disorder, or any other psychological disorder, inform your spouse. Also, if you are having any thoughts of harming yourself, your spouse (and doctor) need to know.

Over-share: If you have been diagnosed with a disorder and are very sick of your spouse and know that the feeling will eventually go away, do not tell them. Allow it to subside. Work on your health. Do not take it out on him/her.

Necessary: If you have been abused in your past, your spouse needs to know that so you can work through it emotionally together. (We suggest the book Vessels of Honor. It can be found on

Over-share: The illicit details of past sexual encounters and experiences do not need to be shared and mentally re-created for your spouse. Responsibly, for health reasons and emotionally connectivity, your spouse can/should know if you have had sex prior to them, but keep the details out of it.

Necessary: Tell your spouse if you think you may be struggling with alcohol or substance abuse or pornography. If your addiction is private from your spouse, it will be harder to get rid of.

Over-share: Do not put guilt on your spouse for your addictions and personal issues. Even if you do feel that way, that should not be shared. If you blame him/her, your spouse will resent you.

Necessary: You did not like that recipe. It may briefly hurt your spouse’s feelings, but it saves you from eating it again. Besides, it wasn’t your spouse’s fault; it was the disagreeable recipe.

Over-share: Telling your wife that she is not a homemaker and should stay out of the kitchen. Believe it or not, even in our modern society, this can still be an incredibly painful criticism. Many women find part of their identity in what they do it home. You could be criticizing more than you realize.

Hopefully, you understand the secrets that should be shared, as they will be harmful to your marriage if you don’t, and hopefully, you understand the secrets that you should keep to yourself and work out with the Lord. A wise spouse will gingerly and tactfully say what needs to be said, but a foolish spouse will go beyond necessity and wound with hurtful words. Which path will you follow?