John 3:20 says “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed”. In many instances, spouses have numerous secrets that they keep from one another. There’s just certain things that they want to keep in the dark.
In some cases, marriages start off with an agreement to this effect with separate checking accounts, separate social circles, even separate vacations. It’s an attitude of “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours”. It could be argued that when taken to this extreme a marriage doesn’t really exist. There’s no coming together, no one-flesh attitude. It’s strictly an arrangement to live together as long as each partner sees some benefit. It’s easy to bring together and its easy to dissolve later.
But for most marriages, the separateness is far less obvious. Darkness creeps in. It could start out simply enough; a small purchase that he doesn’t need to know about or innocent flirtation with a secretary at work. It might involve parenting – “Okay, I’ll let you do this, but don’t tell your mother…” The thinking is there is no reason to raise an issue that could cause strife or conflict. The act is justified in the name of protecting the spouse from angst.
Technology plays a big role in our culture and in our attitudes toward privacy. It used to be that you had to have physical contact with another person in order to get involved in a compromising manner. Not any more. How many couples do you know have had issues with “emotional affairs” online? They start out innocently enough – just connecting with an old “friend” on Facebook. Until such a time that you find that friend is now divorced and begins expressing their long suppressed feelings for you. Suddenly, you’re getting flirtation and compliments that you don’t receive from your spouse… And you get sucked in to feelings and behaviors that were never intended.
Physical affairs still happen as well. How often are those discovered when a string of text messages are found on a cell phone? I can personally think of five different marriages where a discovery of this type either started the path toward divorce or at least significant damage.
So how can this be avoided? First, by recognizing that marriage is unlike any other relationship. God designed marriage and intended for two people to become one-flesh. One of the keys to this notion is that one flesh cannot keep secrets from itself! In a true one-flesh relationship, there is no “mine” and “yours”, there is simply “ours”. The light shines on everything.
My marriage is not perfect (none are), but we really try to not keep secrets by keeping our lives in the light. We have a joint checking account, we know each other’s passwords for our cell phones, emails and all social media accounts. We don’t spend time regularly checking out each others accounts, but we know that we could if we wanted to.
When we’re struggling with an issue, we openly share it with the other. My wife knows immediately if something is bothering me – as if she can sense it in herself and vice versa. That leads to a conversation – bringing the issue into the light.
What areas of darkness exist within your marriage? How can you eliminate these by shining light on them? Total trust can only exist within the light, something every marriage should strive for.