Should you keep secrets from your spouse?Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Failing With Gusto
I am not sure if Joe ever got the memo.
In marriage, I thought it was clear that whatever neighborhood secrets are divulged to one's spouse are considered "joint marital property." That is, Joe is required to let me know whenever he hears anything even slightly racy or indelicate. It's my wifely right.
I think it's in the Bible.
Because honestly, what else do I have? I do the laundry and fill out the field trip forms. I scrub toilets and answer countless kid questions on the weather and world geography. I maintain the files for the car, the mortgage, and the furnace filter. My days are like an episode of "The Love Boat" or "Three's Company." If you've seen one, you've seen them all.
So when Joe and I arrived at a party this month, I was startled to discover an entire grocery list of drama and intrigue amongst the friend group.
Joe had never tipped me off. Never uttered a single word. Not even when I asked, "Anything scandalous going on with your gang?"
By the time we left, I was fuming. Clearly all the other wives had been brought up to speed on all the news by their far more considerate husbands. Joe? He had gone with "discreet." Why bother even getting married if your husband won't give you the goods on all that is unholy? I was getting cranky.
Joe, on the other hand, was indignant. He told me that when a friend asks him not to say anything, he holds true to his word.
"But nobody expects you not to tell ME," I argued. "Besides, everybody knew already!"
"I don't care," insisted my stubborn husband. "It's how I was raised."
Great. Then he went into the whole "I was brought up with honor and integrity and isn't that why you married me?" speech. I had no chance at victory.
In his concluding argument, Joe also pointed out that I had a less-than-stellar history of keeping secrets.
Naturally, I was insulted.
"What are you talking about? I can positively keep a secret. When have I blurted out something I wasn't supposed to?"
For once, Joe was ready:
"You told me the sex of our last baby even when I BEGGED you to keep it a secret until delivery."
"Remember the time you 'outed' your gay friend? AT A BEARS GAME."
"Didn't your co-worker friend once tell you of an upcoming termination only to have you throw the girl a going-away party BEFORE she knew she was fired??"
"Every year, you INSIST on giving me my Christmas present. IN NOVEMBER. You tell me it's 'painful' to keep secrets."
As I was overcome with the sudden realization that I could never work for the CIA, Joe went for the jugular:
"Besides, Marianne, we all know how you put EVERYTHING in the blog. People are scared that whatever they say will end up in Chicago Parent or in your next book."