Secrets are one of the biggest enemies to a blended family marriage. When lies, which are what keeping secrets, are making its ugly presence known in your relationship, it stimulates thoughts of suspicion and doubt in your partner. If your partner keeps secrets, how do you know when he or she is telling the truth?
Not all secrets are harmful to a family. Secrets about a surprise party, gift or other special occasions are cool. Secrets like your whereabouts, relationships especially those with the opposite sex, money and other serious issues contribute to an unsafe marital and family environment.
In the traditional or nuclear family, the couple relationship exists before children enter the picture. In the blended family, a parental relationship with the biological parent with their children exists before there is a couple relationship. This reality multiplies the impact of secrets within the blended family especially if there are secrets between your spouse and their children.
The secrets of this nature negatively influence the couple relationship and adversely affect bonding by the stepparent with the children. There are several factors unique to the blended family which will influence the level of transparency and secrets within the relationship.
- Single Parent Time. The longer the time your partner functions as a single parent the stronger the loyalty and allegiances between your spouse and their children. You should expect your stepchildren to communicate first with their biological parent. Expect this to be the norm until you build trust and rapport with your stepchild.
This is not harmful in and of itself, but your partner must communicate to their children there will be no secrets between them and their partner. It will take a serious commitment from your partner to place the couple relationship as the first and foremost relationship in their life. Your partner will need to communicate this priority with her children.
- History. Were secrets allowed in the first family? Were there secrets regarding the other biological parent? Shame is a strong motivator in keeping secrets. Events causing shame includes:
- Extramarital Affairs
- Sexual Abuse
- Mental Illness
- Children Ages. Younger children are not likely to have secrets with their biological parent. Older children may share things with their biological parent they want to keep in secret from you because they may feel it doesn’t relate to you or what they consider privacy reasons.
- Rule of thumb if the children come within your sphere of influence, you need to know what’s going on in their life.
Imagine, yourself always wondering if your partner is “keeping” something from you. Can your marriage and family truly thrive in an atmosphere and relationship like that?
Can you truly be “one” if you keep things from your partner?
Remember the goal and reason for marriage is so we can be “one” in every sense of the term. It will bring healing and a refreshing closeness to your marriage if you reveal any kept secrets and allow healing and growth to bring closeness within your marriage and family!