How well do you know your partner?

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KC Ejelonu QEDOne of the most important features of successful couple relationships is the quality of the friendship they share. How well do you know your partner’s inner world?

Last year, American basketball star, Jason Collins, decided to come out about being gay. His revelation packed such an emotional punch because he said everything warts and all. Speaking with Sport Illustrated magazine, the NBA player said he had always struggled with living in the closet about his gay status. After doing my research on Collins, I found out he was once engaged to a woman and dated her for eight years. Carolyn Moos only found out about his homosexuality just like the rest of us. Yes, he was once engaged and has being with a woman before.

My concern is, when did he realise he liked the opposite sex? His ex-fiancée released a statement to the press stating “It’s very emotional for me as a woman to have invested eight years in my dream to have a husband, soul mate and best friend in him”.

Personally, having spent eight years of your life with someone you thought was your best friend, someone you were going to spend the rest of your life with, and he comes out telling you he is gay is wicked. Why stay in the relationship? Why waste her time and years? I don’t have anything against homosexuality; I cannot judge any individual, but I urge anyone who is attracted to the opposite sex not to waste someone else’s time. Be clear and open about what you want and like from the beginning.

Let’s get back to the matter that promoted this article. Well, few days ago, someone I know was going through some issues with her husband. What might that be? First let’s assume the wife is “Amaka” and the husband is “Emeka”. Amaka got married to Emeka some years back and the family is blessed with three kids. The couple seems to be doing pretty well in their chosen career but they somehow live separate lives. As a couple, it is normal to ride in the same car when attending a function, but the case is different for Amaka and Emeka. They always go out in separate cars. One might think it’s a lack of communication or chemistry. Whatever the case is, there were signs that everything was not okay. But Amaka would always say, “My husband has never cheated on me, he does not look at other women.” She seems to be a very confident lady, right?

Few days ago, Amaka goes to get an item from her husband’s car and she discovers eight DVDs with female names written on each of them. She was curious, and I am sure any married woman would be curious as well. Off she goes to the living room and plays the first DVD. Shocked and speechless, DVD 1 was a sex video with her husband in it. She plays the rest of the DVDs and they are all sex videos with her husband and other women.

Any married woman who sees such video of her husband would have her emotions running to the highest level and this could lead to mental issues for some. Imagine what Amaka would be going through. I am sure you are wondering and asking yourselves questions like why did he record the videos? How long has it been going on for?  Emeka is the only one that can answer these questions and maybe that is his fantasy, but he hid it from his wife. That way he does not look like a freak to her.

Being honest with each other doesn’t mean you must share every single thought, dream, fear or fantasy with your spouse. Honesty may be a double-edge sword in your marriage. Knowing what to share and what not to share is an important communication skill for couples to learn and use in their marriage. According to the Valley Mental Health, “You have the right to privacy-in marriage, in a family, in any relationship, in any group-the right to keep a part of your life secret, no matter how trivial or how important, merely because you want it to be that way. And you have the right to be alone part of each day, each week, and each year, to spend time with yourself.”

If you have a secret that you think you should share, but you are unsure about doing so, look at your own physical responses when you are hiding the secret. If your blood pressure increases, or you find yourself blinking a lot faster, or your breathing is heavier, or you are perspiring more, then these could be clues that you should share that particular secret.

Keeping a secret because you don’t want to face a responsibility in your marriage can create problems. Withholding facts or information your spouse needs to know in decision making is harmful manipulation. Other secrets that can hurt your marriage are ones concerning job problems, not paying bills, not revealing an illness, seeing family and friends secretly, lying about how you spend money and having an affair.

Honesty and trust are vital to the success of a marriage. It’s a thin line between what secrets are acceptable and which ones will haunt an individual and hurt a marriage. If you begin to feel distance in your marriage, and think it may be the result of a secret, then it is time to consult a professional counsellor or a cleric.