A Little Advice for Couples: Secrets

Central to every couple is the issue of communication… and central to the ability to connect is the issue of disclosure. I’ve learned a lot about God’s view of secrets this summer. He hates them.

The Bible is full of examples of God having secrets, ranging from the mystery of his plan for mankind to the timing of the Second Coming. There are even cases of God telling people to keep secrets. Those aren’t the kind of secrets I’m talking about here.

The secrets that God hates are those we think we are keeping from Him—or sins we are hiding from one another. God assures us that nothing can be hidden from His sight. Jeremiah 23:24 reads, “’Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the Lord. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the Lord.” If we think we’re keeping secrets from God, we are only fooling ourselves.

Nothing done in secret will stay hidden forever. The Spirit will bring such things to light. Ted Haggard is the now infamous former pastor of New Life Church here in Colorado Springs. This happens to be our home church, and we spent seven years there under his leadership. While he is well known for his indiscretions, Pastor Ted preached a lot of excellent sermons. Ironically, one we will always remember was about secrets. He eloquently exhorted us to never try to hide sin. Unfortunately, his life ended up providing an unforgettable illustration.

Luke 12:2-3 reads, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”

Along with the eventual embarrassment of exposure, the problem with having secret sins is that they fester. Lies pile upon lies, while the corruption inside us feeds on itself until our consciences are seared. Secret sin blocks our communication, not only with God, but with one another. Little by little, we die.

Confession is a lost discipline in most evangelical churches. We would do well to relearn its importance. James 5:16 exhorts us to confess our sins to one another so that we may be healed. I believe this healing is not only physical but also emotional and spiritual. While there is no benefit from going into the gory details of our sin, there is something freeing about having nothing to hide, whether from one another, or from God. It robs Satan of any power over us. In a marriage, that transparency is the precursor to standing before one another naked and not ashamed.

This issue has surfaced in several of the relationships. In one case, a loose tongue revealed a significant lapse in the life of my friend, one she had been reluctant to share with her boyfriend. This led to a crisis in their relationship. In an impressive act of courage, full confession was made, repentance was demonstrated, and forgiveness was asked for and received. Grace carried the day. As a result, the couple has grown stronger, closer to God and to one another. There is a deeper sense of oneness, a new level of trust, increased respect, and much joy.

Unresolved issues are also largely to blame for the problems of the couple who is struggling. Baggage from past events has created a rift, not only between the two people, but in both their relationships with God. We’ve prayed and counseled; the outcome will largely depend on their decisions.

Of course, many issues are involved in forming Godly relationships. But these two themes—submission and transparency—seem to be paramount.

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