Matt has an online relationship with a woman from another state. It isn’t anything serious, so why worry his wife? Katie has been hiding her spending sprees from her husband that has put them into serious financial debt. She is afraid if he finds out he will never forgive her. Jason never told his wife that he got fired from his job, but rather, that he got laid off. He did not want her to lose faith and respect for him.

From the above scenarios, we can clearly see that couples keep secrets from one another and they are not always honest. Let’s look at some reasons why people keep marital secrets:

1. They dread their spouse’s reaction which may evoke anger, rejection, blame or punishment.

2. They fear that it will just cause more unnecessary problems.

3. They are concerned that the secret will hurt or worry the spouse.

4. The secret may involve another person whom they don’t want to bring up.

5. They do not want to disclose details or issues from their past.

6. The secret is something they are ashamed of.

7. The secret may involve something illegal.

In couples counseling we often find that the most common secrets involve affairs, misuse of money, criminal problems, pornography, or sex issues. Although couples want to be honest with each other, there are proper boundaries between an individual’s privacy and keeping potentially relationship damaging secrets. So a key question is, “Would you want or need to know this secret if it were held by your partner?”

The marriage can be negatively affected if some secrets are not told. It can be difficult to keep secrets in a marriage and be honest and true at the same time. The big secrets can eventually lead to big marital problems.

The goal is to preserve a healthy relationship built on trust, honesty and open communication. And remember, marital secrets are not always the core problem. Marital secrets are oftentimes the symptom to a bigger problem. Why does the secret-keeping spouse feel a need to keep the secret? What is he/she afraid of? What does he/she really have to hide?

Couples counseling can help couples uncover reasons for marital secrets, help couples work through underlying issues, find balance between sharing secrets and a place for individual privacy, and strengthen marriages to face issues and overcome problems.


A quarter of all married men surveyed admitted to having kept "an important secret" from their spouse, such as debts, gambling, hidden financial assets, alcohol or drug abuse, or hidden sexual practices. An even greater percentage of women--31%--said they had discovered that their spouse kept an important secret from them. (Parade Poll Special Report)

Deep in my heart I'm concealing things that I'm longing to say. Scared to confess what I'm feeling - frightened you'll slip away. ~Evita

Concealing any activity from the other may create unnecessary suspicion and mistrust between husband and wife and the situation may go beyond repairs one day. Therefore it is in the best interest of both to share what ever they have so that it strengthens the mutual-bond and love. ~Atharva Veda

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. ~Saint Jerome

If we knew each other's secrets, what comforts we should find. ~John Collins

But behavior in the human being is sometimes a defense, a way of concealing motives and thoughts, as language can be a way of hiding your thoughts and preventing communication. ~Abraham Maslow

To know that one has a secret is to know half the secret itself. ~Henry Ward Beecher

It is wise to disclose what cannot be concealed. ~Friedrich von Schiller

What is love? Love is when one person knows all of your secrets... your deepest, darkest, most dreadful secrets of which no one else in the world knows... and yet in the end, that one person does not think any less of you; even if the rest of the world does. ~unknown

We dance round in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows. ~Robert Frost

Marital Secrets – 7 Reasons We Keep Them (from the Couples Counseling Series) by Krystal Kuehn
Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC is a psychotherapist, author, teacher & musician. She is the cofounder of New Day Counseling, a family couples counseling and child adolescent counseling center,, an award-winning, self-help and inspirational site where you can find hundreds of free resources, insights & words of inspiration to change your life, and where you can find beautiful baby poems, baby quotes, cute sayings & baby videos that will touch your heart & increase your joy & gratitude for the children you love & enjoy! Krystal is also author of The 10 Keys to Happy and Loving Relationships and several blogs: Words of Inspiration, Give Thanks Journal, Baby Poems blog & Be Your Best blog. Join Krystal on facebook today at