Secrets. Shame. Shaky relationship.
She’s having an emotional affair over social media. He’s hiding a porn addiction. She’s spending too much time sharing their intimate secrets with her bff. He’s drinking after work with his buddies instead of being home getting the kids tucked into bed. They haven’t had good sex in months. There are more bills in the pile of clutter, and she went shopping anyway, and hid the credit card bill. He didn’t tell her he’s ordered another electronic toy.
These are the secrets that fuel the shame ….. That “pit in the stomach” feeling that I will be viewed as inferior. It is rarely money that keeps a couple from getting help; it is the possibility that “I will be seen as deficient.”
When I am feeling shame, I must confabulate (spin a lie to sound like truth) so I can temporarily feel a sense of relief. As the secrets pile up, the shame becomes greater, and the result is shaky ground.
I am now walking on eggshells, waiting for the bottom to fall out, and the shame is putting walls around my heart. I am perceived as distant, aloof, angry, frustrated, or controlling.
Reveal. Respect. Rich relationship.
I take the risk and reveal what’s going on with me. While the initial reaction might not be what I expected, I experience self-respect for the revelation. As I walk in self-respect, my partner begins to offer respect to me.
As we dialogue and show honor to one another, respect is earned. As I begin to walk in truth and dignity, I earn the respect from those around me. Fear and skepticism are replaced with faith and honor in our relationship.
The walls are down. We are now able to dialogue without secrets. We have a plan of action for change. We are having fun again. We experience the rich reward of investing in our marriage. We are truly friends again.
Cindy and David Southworth are marriage and relationship coaches, certified through the American Assn of Christian Counselors and members of the International Christian Coaching Assn. Cindy is a John Maxwell certified speaker, trainer, and coach. They are the owners of Breakwater Coaching. You can visit their website at Breakwater Coaching