I used to think men were pretty simple creatures– and that I could read my husband easily. But then I came across something written by marriage expert, author, and radio host Stephen Arterburn, and I realized I’d missed the boat on what my husband might be feeling, and how he and many men are keeping secrets.
Here’s what Mr. Arterburn says about the secrets men keep: Be assured that your man has hidden knowledge he will not offer up voluntarily. The main point is that you probably don’t know your husband as well as you think you do. There’s no reason for this to cause you despair… because ultimately, he desires for you to help him become a transparent person, one who is completely known.
So take a look at the 5 Secrets Men Keep, and how you can help him break free of the secrets that might be weighing him down.
1. Secrets about Money.
I feel like a failure as a man because I don’t make enough money.
“Without a doubt, men define themselves by what they do,” Arterburn says. Even at a time when most wives also work, research shows that men still find much of their identity in how successful they are in their careers. So while your husband might grouch around about financial pressure, the deeper issue could be that he feels like a failure because your family lacks financial security.
Get him to open up by praising who he is beyond his paycheck. Then work together on a financial plan for your family.
2. Secrets about Feelings.
If I share my feelings, I’ll look weak.
Arterburn says that most men have a difficult time sharing their deeper feelings. These can run the gamut from temptations they’re facing to feelings of inadequacy. Most men would rather keep these feelings secret than risk having their wives lecture them about why they shouldn’t feel the way they do.
If you want your husband to feel more comfortable sharing his feelings with you, be a safe place for him. Don’t jump in with advice or panic if you don’t like what you’re hearing. Try out some questions from our Q & U app to start.
If you want your husband to feel more comfortable sharing his feelings with you, be a safe place for him.
3. Secrets about Spirituality.
I don’t get much out of my relationship with God.
Let me share a statistic for you from Arterburn’s book. He says that 90 percent of the boys being raised in the church today will abandon it by their twentieth birthday. Knowing that, is it any surprise that many men secretly don’t like going to church and don’t get much out of it? “Men spend their working life actively solving problems and accomplishing tasks and goals,” Arterburn writes. “But when they get to church, they’re asked to become passive–to sit in a pew and listen to someone deliver a lesson.”
Another secret men keep about their spirituality is that they feel awkward or ill-equipped to be the spiritual leaders of their family. So instead of putting pressure on your husband to step up, tell him it’s okay if he feels weak spiritually, and that realizing his weakness can actually help him grow stronger.
4. Secrets about Relationships with Women.
I am constantly frustrated when communicating with women.
Arterburn says that men often don’t get women when it comes to trying to make themselves understood, and when they’re trying to understand women. Instead of expressing frustration with your husband, or getting upset when he’s frustrated with you, look over these three tips for communicating effectively with your husband.
5. Secrets about Sexuality.
I have frequent sexual fantasies about women other than my wife.
This is a touchy one. It’s not necessary that our husbands share every sexual thought with us, but we don’t want them to go around feeling guilty either. The key here is keeping open the lines of communication regarding sex. iMOM has an entire section of our website devoted to sex. So take a look at what’s offered here and get some ideas for how to make sex a talkable topic in your marriage.
Family First President, Mark Merill, husband of iMOM Director, Susan Merrill, spoke to Steve Arterburn about these secrets men keep. To hear the podcast of Mark and Steve, just go here.
Do you agree with this list of the secrets men keep? What would you add to it?