Should you tell your spouse everything?

Marriages shouldn’t have secrets. You should never promise that you won’t tell your wife/husband. People who reveal private and personal details to you should know that those details could go to your spouse.

But “could” is the operative word there. I’d be wary of the couple who say they “must” tell each other everything. Couples should only share other people’s private issues if they think it will be really helpful for the person involved to have their spose’s perspective. But, here’s some reasons to not share other people’s private issues with your spouse:

  • if you think your spouse won’t find it helpful (e.g. it will seriously damage their opinion of someone else in a way they won’t be able to contain)
  • if you think your spouse won’t be able to keep it private themselves
  • if you think your spouse just doesn’t need to know and them knowing really isn’t going to help you… why share it at all?
  • if you’re concerned you’re tending to gossip (you could say, “I’d like to share it, but I need to consider my motives for a while first.”)
  • if you’re concerned your spouse only wants to know because they like gossip (you could say, “I’m happy to tell you, but maybe in a few days, and if you still think you need to know, ask again.”)
  • if your spose is under other obligations to deal with information (e.g. they might be required by law or by their work place to report any incidents of a certain nature) you should think hard if your spouse will need to act upon hearing the information – and if you’re happy for that to happen.

It’s not just as simple as “tell your spouse everything”. You could… but not only should you have a good reason, you should also make sure there’s not a good reason to refrain.