Communicating Past Secrets
“I never understood why Clark Kent was so hell-bent on keeping Lois Lane in the dark.”
― Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler’s Wife
I have yet to have a client say “I like that my spouse kept this from me, I think it was awesome!” Sometimes we keep secrets and find it difficult communicating past secrets because we do not know how those we care about are going to react to what we have to say. Even the mighty Superman was scared of revealing his secret to the woman he loved. When Lois finally finds out, and the shock wears off, she mentions that she is relieved to know. Lois is relieved to understand why Clark behaved the way he did around her.
Many times we assume the worst about revealing a secret when it can actually help a relationship draw closer together. Yes, there will be a “shock factor” and possibly a sense of betrayal, but this allows for an open and honest conversation that has the potential to bring the relationship to a stronger, healthier point. Our spouse can and should be our most significant support system; knowing that there is at least one person in the world that we can confide everything to allows for a huge burden to be lifted.
After secrets have been told, it may be difficult for that spouse, that support system, to believe the communication will be honest and authentic. It is easy to be stuck with those feeling of betrayal and hurt, and be constantly reminded of those feeling when a conversation is being had. Moving past those feeling of doubt and hurt and beginning to feel relieved that there are no secrets allows for that forgiveness, support, and healing to take place. It allows for that openness to happen in a healthy, productive way.
Really Forgive and Forget?
To often we are told that this process of communication and drawing closer together includes to “forgive and forget.” We live in a society where almost every moment of our lives is recorded in some manner or form; making the aspect of forgetting nearly impossible. Having these feelings and memories likewise, makes the forgetting challenging.
We are not meant to forget, but we are invited to forgive. Forgetting is the process of not bringing up these secrets and hurt feeling during every little argument that may arise; it is the process of letting go of the hurt. Forgiveness allows for the healing to begin, and for communication to take place without bringing up the negativity. Trusting your spouse provides for that communication to expand and for that closeness we all strive for to take place.
Clark Kent wanted to keep Lois Lane in the dark because he was fearful of how she might react to such a big secret that he had kept from her for so long. Lois was relieved to find out Clark’s secret because it allowed their relationship to grow and become stronger. We too should not let our secrets gnaw at us because we do not know how our loved ones may react. We all deserve to feel like a weight is being lifted and that healthy communication is possible between those we care for and ourselves.