Wedded Wednesday: To Tell or Not To Tell?

Meredith and I have been answering marriage questions every Wednesday. The queries are sent in by readers.  This week we're posting our responses here...a dirty shame, isn't it?
2Cats asked: Do you tell each other everything or do you sometimes hold back?

(This is John, the husband)
I’m guessing both cats are asking about ‘things’ related to each other or our family, so that’s how I’ll answer it. If the question pertained to each and everything, like everything two friends and I did on a vision quest to the Grand Canyon, well then the answer would be mama didn’t raise no fool.

But as for each other and family, yes, I try to tell Meredith everything. But, and this is a big but, I don’t always tell her everything at once. This is a differing point for us. Meredith tells me, right there smack dab in the moment, the whole story, sometimes with sound effects. I’ve come to learn this is how my wife thinks things through – aloud, immediate, hot, close to the source, like Mercury. Yes, yes, I know John Gray believes its Mars and Venus, but in our home Meredith is from Mercury and I’m from Neptune.
Neptunians usually linger over things, drag our big old feet, chew on toothpicks, and put great stock in something called timing. I don’t always make good time, but I try. In other words, I try and tell Meredith everything in good time. Now, if the house is on fire, I’ll put down the toothpick and spring into action, like Batman or that music teacher from Glee. But if the house ain’t on fire, I’m gonna let stuff simmer a little. That’s just how we do things out here on Neptune. It’s possible a therapist would have an absolute field day with my answer, and if so, fine…even therapists deserve a field day every now and then.

(This is Meredith, the wife):
I think this question could be interpreted several different ways. The way I interpreted it initially was: Do you keep secrets from each other. Nope, no secrets. John pretty much knows everything I think, feel, say, and do. I don't think I could keep a secret if I tried; I like to talk too much. And I'm a terrible liar.

As for holding back? Well, like John said, I typically process things out loud, in the moment. I can hold back, but it's not easy for me. Holding back leaves me feeling unprocessed and stuck. Hmmmm...not sure what that says about me. 

I tried to come up with a story or example. This is what came to mind:

John did freelance writing/editing from home for several years. It was a time of intense career transition, and was a very lean season for us financially. God was faithful to keep John supplied with work, but because of the way his pay schedule worked, there times that we went months without a paycheck. Once you've depleted your entire savings account, it's not much fun to wait much more than a few weeks for a paycheck. We waited months at a time. It terrified me.

My fear translated into trust issues and thoughts like "I can't trust my husband to provide for me" and "if I can't trust him to take care of me, then how can I trust him to _______?" began to eat away at me. I tried to keep those thoughts inside; I really did. We've already established that I'm not good at internal processing and so naturally, I started to shut down and pull away from my husband. I knew I had to tell John what was I was thinking/feeling and why, but I also knew that sharing my fears/thoughts would be a pretty big blow to his masculinity. I felt like my only options were lose-lose: I could keep things bottled up inside and retreat further from my husband OR tell him, risk hurting him, and risk him retreating further from me.

I honestly shared my heart and didn't hold anything back. It hurt. It hurt both of us. We journeyed through some hard stuff, and (hopefully) came out a little stronger because of it, but it wasn't quick or easy or painless.

Wish I could tell you that I've learned to think before I tell John everything, but like he said, I'm Mercurian. I really like that word. 


  1. Here from Meredith's blog.

    I think you just described my marriage. :)

  2. Nano Nano--fellow Mercurian here.

    Problem is my husband is too. So sometimes we're both in the "heat" and it's hard to take each other in...perhaps, John, there's some real estate on Neptune I could interest him in...(or me, I should say).

    Definitely a "hot" topic in our marriage, trying to give each other room when we are both spouting it all out right then.

    I love Wednesdays with y'all!!

  3. I look forward to Wedded Wednesdays, too!

    Is it possible to tell everything while simultaneously holding back? Because I'm pretty sure that's what I do.

  4. I think you described both my husband and I perfectly when you described you and Meredith. I HAVE to talk it out RIGHT then and he is very much a thinker and takes his time. At times it drives me crazy but after 14 1/2 years I've learned to trust that he always does come around and talk and I'm thankful he's got the cool head he does because goodness knows two of me or even two of him would be a bad mix for us:)
    I agree with you Meredith~I can't not talk about something that's bothering me and if I try to hold it in it usually comes out very badly and I too am a terrible liar so I don't even try.

  5. My husband doesn't say much unless he has to. For I use up all of my own words and most of his.

    But, others have commented, this definitely seems to go along gender lines. I'm a spewer, and Big is a go-with-the-flow-er.