27 Aug 2010
A recurring theme that I continue to see in the lives of couples is secrecy about spending money as well as about how much money is being made and or saved. Sadly, I have also found that if someone is being secretive about money, chances are they are being secretive about other things as well.
Relationships are built on trust. Without trust it is near impossible to have a true intimate relationship. This holds true with any relationship but especially between husband and wife. If one person in the relationship is continually being secretive, about anything, the other person starts to lose trust. Trust is built on openness and honesty, once it is violated, and many times continually violated it is near impossible to rebuild trust to the level that it was prior to the violation.
Now let me be clear here, I am not talking about secrets like a surprise party or surprise vacation somewhere, I am talking about a consistent behavior of intentional secrecy and that is the bases of this post.
Some people are secretive because they have had their trust violated at some point in their past, we all know that we carry some sort of baggage into relationships. The key is to take that baggage and open it all up to your spouse so old hurts and trust violations don’t infect your current relationship. Yes, there is a risk you will be hurt and trust may be violated again by doing so, but by not doing so, they hurt will fester anyway.
Secrecy in couples about money is rampant. Many times one spouse who handles the bills and the other has no idea what is going on with the money. In most cases, not all, but most, one spouse knows the other spouse is doing something “funny” with the money but out of fear they do not ask questions or get involved because they are afraid they may lose what they have….this is no way to live in a relationship if you can even call it a relationship.
Let me preface that this isn’t about a healthy couple where one spouse is handling the bills because they are good at it and they do keep the other spouse in the loop of the financial situation of the household, this is about a spouse who intentionally handles the bills to keep the other spouse in the dark of the financial situation.
Secrecy occurs because one spouse is doing something they KNOW is wrong. Let me repeat, secrecy occurs because one spouse is doing something they know is wrong, they know their partner would not approve. It may be a bit on the illegal side either in mans law, God’s law…or both. Secrecy is lying by omission. Actually secrecy is already against God’s law because it is a form of deception, check out Leviticus 19:11.
There is no good that can come out of secrecy especially when it comes to money (there is no good from any secret behavior in a relationship baring the above disclaimer about a surprise party of something of that sort) but especially when it comes to money. The person keeping the financial secrets will be found out, sooner or later, and it will hurt the person who has been in the dark.
There was a couple who came to me for money management coaching. The husband had no clue about the concept of money much less how to manage it. He took charge of all the bills and for good reason he was keeping his wife in the dark about what was going on. The way she found out there was a problem was when a sheriff knocked on their door and presented her with a summons to appear in court. She was being sued by a credit card company for not paying the bill. A bill that she knew nothing about, a credit card she did NOT open. Her husband opened a credit card under her name. He sat across from me and said with a straight face that he did nothing wrong. That they were married, and as a married couple they shared everything, he shared her good credit and now she shared his bad credit due to his secret of opening a credit card under his wife’s name.
Folks, regardless of marital status, he broke the law. He committed fraud by forging her name and her signature to obtain the credit card in her name without her knowledge or permission. It is called identity theft even if you are stealing it from your one flesh spouse. Actually most common instances of identity theft is with someone you know or are related to. Regardless of reasons for doing so, it was a dishonest act, as well as secretive. His wife found out in the long run from the Sheriff. In this case she did not file criminal charges nor did the credit card company because the wife agreed to pay the bill. Sadly, not more than a year later the same thing happened again, the second time she did file charges…a relationship failed in divorce due to secrecy and deceit.
Yes, deceit goes hand in hand with secrecy. Some think they are not lying if they don’t actually speak the lie, however, there is such a thing as lying by omission. Secrecy is a form of deception and we all know deception is lying. It goes back to, if you are not doing anything wrong, what would be the purpose in being secretive to your spouse?
The reason I am sharing this is to encourage you to be open and honest about your finances to your spouse. If you can’t, take a good hard look at why you can’t be open and honest. Why are you being secretive? Yes, I have heard all the excuses like “well my spouse wouldn’t understand” or “I don’t want to be nagged about my spending habits” or “I make the money, there is no reason for my spouse to know what I am doing with it as long as the bills are being paid.” The list of excuses I hear goes on and on but you get the jest. Bottom line ladies and gentlemen if you want your marriage to be successful your must be open and honest with each other. Yes, there will be times when you will make a mistake. There will be times when your spouse may get onto you or “nag” you about the financial situation, but the pain of that moment is far less severe than when the secret comes out in the open and potentially causes a divorce and believe me, the secret ALWAYS comes out sooner or later.
Secrecy destroys trust, when trust is broken, the relationship will struggle from there on out and that environment isn’t good for either party. Re-exam your life and your actions. Look at your character, do you represent Christ to your spouse? If you are ashamed of your actions, which you must be if you are being secretive, why not turn over a new leaf and open yourself up with honesty toward your spouse? You will be amazed how much smoother your life will flow, as well as how much calmer and more at peace you will feel.
There are some who are secretive because you don’t know how to communicate with your spouse. Communication and listening take practice to get some help with communication I highly recommend the book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
by Dr. Emerson Eggrichs. This book will help both husband and wife better understand each other. If you understand each other you can then better share and communicate what you are doing, there will be no need to keeping a secret because you will know how the other person will respond. It will help teach you how to live in a relationship the way Christ intended. It is not focused on money, but it is focused on doing what is right in a marriage with your spouse.
Another fantastic resources is an eBook that has sold over 61,000 copies. The title is “Save Your Christian Marriage” but that is not to say this book is only for those who are on the path to divorce. The lessons taught will strengthen marriage regardless of the current state it is in. It is more than just an eBook, it is a lesson plan on how to be married. Face it nobody knows how, that is evident by the secrecy in marriages today as well as the divorce rate, this book shares and teaches you how to be a better for yourself so you can be better for your spouse. If you don’t do anything else that I have mentioned here today, please do this one thing, get this eBook, it will change your marriage, it will eliminate the secrecy and build up trust again. It will save your marriage, from what you learn in this book you can apply these principles how to live better financially, why? Because the two of you will now be on the same page together, openly and honestly.
If you want your life to continue on as it is, do nothing else, actually if that is the case chances are you haven’t even read down this far. But, if you are ready to improve who you are, improve your marriage, save your marriage even if you are not the one being secretive, get the “Save Your Christian Marriage” book today by click here now. You won’t regret it one bit. Then after you are done reading the book, and putting some of the lessons into practice, which will be very easy I might add, come back here and comment on this post, share with others how your marriage has improved with openness and honesty.