Your fiancé knows all about your boss at work, your love of tacos, and the scar from your childhood bike accident. But does he or she know about your five credit cards or your family’s history of cancer?
Research shows that people in relationships keep secrets for all sorts of reasons. Most often, it’s to avoid hurting their partner or damaging the relationship. Shame and fear of disapproval also play a role. The bottom line: While it can be hard to know just how much to tell the other person, it’s crucial not to enter into a marriage with secrets that can keep you from being truly close.
Opening up now and sharing details about things you may have been hiding, like large debts or your health history, helps you start your life together on the same page and strengthens your bond for the years ahead. Here are some secrets you should be sure to share with your partner before you tie the knot.
Mark’s fiancé knows he has student loans to pay off, but he hasn’t told her they total nearly $200,000. Julie has a serious weakness for expensive shoes, but she always says she got them on sale. A little white lie about money may seem like no big deal, but it can mushroom into something bigger.
It’s no secret that money can be a leading cause of stress in a relationship. It’s not just that couples argue about money, they hide transactions from each other. According to a poll by CreditCards.com, one in five Americans in a relationship say they’ve spent $500 or more and not told their partner, and 6% have secret bank accounts or credit cards.
While you don’t need to share every little detail of your finances with your significant other, you should share any major financial factors that could impact your relationship down the line. Whether that involves credit or debt issues, multiple bank accounts, bankruptcies, or liens, they’ll probably find out eventually, but by then you’ll have damaged their trust. The best thing to do is get things out in the open so you can figure them out together.
As you and your fiancé have gotten to know and love each other, you’ve learned about each other’s quirky habits, emotional baggage, and the past experiences that have helped to shape each of you. But what if that involves a medical or health secret you’re reluctant to talk about? Substance abuse, for example, is something many people find difficult to open up about. Instead, they hide problems like opioid addiction out of embarrassment and shame. Similarly, they may be hesitant to share information about past surgeries, health scares, or hereditary health problems.
While it can be difficult to talk about, if you have a serious health issue or a family history of mental or physical health problems, you really should tell your partner before you get married. Illnesses like Huntington’s disease, hemophilia, or sickle cell anemia are hereditary, so there’s a risk of you contracting or passing on these conditions to your children. It’s much better (and fairer) to your spouse to let them know upfront if you’re at risk. The odds are that, at some point, they’re going to find out when there’s a situation where they need to take care of you or find care for you. Sharing something difficult like this can help to ease the burden and bring the two of you closer.
Even though it may be awkward to discuss, it’s important to talk with your fiancé about past relationships. That doesn’t mean you need to share details about everyone you’ve ever dated, but you should talk about people who were important to you and who you were involved with for any length of time. While the discussion might make your partner feel a little jealous or insecure, it’s better to share this part of your past than to keep it secret.
Of course, there are secrets and then there are secrets. Not wanting to share the tale of a prom date disaster is one thing; not telling your partner that you were married (or, worse, that you still are) is another. The fact is, there are actually benefits to discussing why past relationships ended. Were there communication problems? Was there some deal-breaker that ended things? Whatever the story, let your partner know. By talking about difficulties in old relationships, you can work together to avoid making the same mistakes again.
Protecting your future
Trust is about much more than taking your partner at their word; it’s about believing that he or she has your best interests at heart. One way to ensure that is with life insurance. After all, when you love someone, you want to make sure they’ll be taken care of financially if something happens to you. And buying life insurance now can mean more cost-effective coverage down the road when you need it… and that’s no secret.
In the spirit of transparency, this blog post is for informational purposes only. We know how quickly things change, so we can’t guarantee the content and links to unaffiliated parties are up to date.