Monday, March 24, 2008

Secrets & Wives

I had an interesting conversation about "man talk" over the weekend. And it revealed a significant divergence of views. Should a man keep confidences of others from his wife?

My friend thinks so. He's dismayed that others do not. He's not alone. The "you can't tell your wife this" is an introduction to confession and self-gossip that I have heard many times. Many men, indiscreet men, either presume or feel free to impose a condition of confidence keeping on the audiences to their ill advised blabbing.

I've learned to waive them off quickly when I sense this coming. Or, in some circumstances I'll just let it be known that I do, in fact, tell my wife everything. I really don't know if I am in the majority or the minority on this. But I definitely feel that it has alienated more than a few fellows.

Oh well. For me, one of the longer lasting joys of marriage is having someone, one person in the world, who knows everything about me, but still loves me anyway. Of course, she is legally required to. But still. This is what real intimacy with your wife is all about in the long run. Or with your husband, as the case may be.

I personally went the wife route, so that's how I think of these things. So, please indulge any gender specific references.

Many men crave a brotherly type of closeness with their friends, including the sharing of secrets and confidences. This is completely understandable. We all enjoy close friendships. But part of close friendship is respecting the marriage of your friends.

When I tell a friend something personal, I expect him to use discretion in not repeating it as idle gossip. But I always assume that his wife will know. And I know that my friends know the same thing about me. We respect each other's marriages, and each other's wives, enough to do this.

So, I find it annoying and somewhat offensive when someone, not a very close friend, presumes that I will keep some dirty little secret, especially from my wife. They are, in a very real way, asking me to lie for them. Forget it. Their fear is, of course, that once their secret is leaked to the "girl world" it will spread to their detriment. In practice this is almost always true. And, frankly, amusing.

As my dear grandmother used to say, "Fuck you and the horse you rode in on." I didn't ask for your dirty little secrets, I don't want them, and I'm not going to keep them. If I'm going to lie about something, it's not going to be for you.

So, watch your mouth.

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