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Hiding A Secret? How To Know It’s Time To Open Up

By April 19, 2024April 21st, 2024No Comments

When was the last time you whispered something in another person’s ear that you didn’t want anyone else to hear?


We all have them. Some are good, like Christmas gifts.

Keeping certain secrets proves you are trustworthy. Others bring a blessing when they are revealed.

Throughout our marriage, I’ve managed to keep only a couple of fun secrets from Dave—not for lack of trying. He’s very difficult to surprise, or I’m terrible at keeping secrets.

The last one I successfully pulled off almost didn’t happen. The kids and I planned a surprise 50th birthday party for Dave. Our sons planned to keep Dave away from the house while our daughters and I set up the party. Our daughter-in-love planned a “party” to give me an excuse to be at her house at a certain time and for our son to “need to be gone by enjoying a golf day with Dad.”

Then, two weeks before the party, Dave told me he had to work an event that day. After hearing the details, I silently freaked out. The next day, I called his boss to get all the details. I explained what was happening and asked for help pulling this off.

He did.
We did.
Dave never figured it out.

Keeping that secret brought joy. And great photos and memories. 😃

But secrets can cause pain.

What is that one thing you hope no one ever finds out about you? You know what I’m talking about. If anyone discovered this secret, you’re positive you’d be rejected, despised, humiliated, ostracized, or worse. Life as you know it would be over, and you’re convinced you’d never recover.

I kept that secret, which almost destroyed me. Once I told the secret, I found freedom.

You can read about this devastating secret in my book, Choosing A Way Out.

Contrary to my self-protective amygdala response, the BEST thing I did was to tell someone and ask for help. Thankfully, God directed me to the person who would help and protect me at the same time.

Not everyone can be trusted with your secret.

Throughout the recovery process, I discovered that some people who discovered the personal and marriage crisis I faced proved unable, unwilling, or untrustworthy to handle the truth. Discerning who to share the story with challenged and grew me. I made many mistakes. I experienced stares, hushed voices, and halted conversations in certain circles. For someone already wounded and bleeding, these untrustworthy people deepened the pain and confusion I already felt.

Check your motives behind telling the secret.

Words bring life or death. When dealing with betrayal trauma, in your pain, it’s too easy to share what’s happening in such a way that paints the betrayer as badly as possible. You might find yourself over-sharing details that are no one else’s business. Did your friends need all the minutiae related to your husband’s struggle with porn? Christine Caine once said that a person who’s overcome abuse doesn’t need to share all the details. Using your words to vilify your betrayer doesn’t bring the healing or freedom you desire.

Only when you take that pain to God and ask him to heal you do you experience the healing you desperately desire. The more I healed and the more Dave healed, the less I felt the need to provide people with details. It was enough to state the problem.

People who want the juicy details probably aren’t safe people.

Think about a time when you asked someone to pray with you over a certain situation. How did that person respond? Mature, emotionally intelligent, and trustworthy people listen well and then take the issue to God. They understand they don’t need details because God already knows them. These people provide the safe haven you need along with the support system throughout your healing.

You quickly learn that people who push for all the details most often spread rumors. Unless you are talking with a doctor, therapist, or counselor, sharing the details might cause more harm than good. A dear friend of mine says, “Don’t tell people you understand when you’ve never experienced what they’re experiencing.” So true. I’ve made that mistake, which caused a breach of the relationship. I’ve also been wounded by over-sharing with someone whose words brought more damage.

What secrets do you hold tightly?

Would you classify them as healthy with a blessing attached? I bet you can’t wait to reveal them and celebrate with the other person.

If the secret you’re holding is unhealthy, please reach out. Don’t allow that secret to cause any more damage. You can tell the secret without destroying another person or you. Just like I did. Together, we’ll unlock your true freedom, joy, and a life worth living. I promise to listen well and hold your heart carefully.

  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.