PMS: how much do you really need to know?

>> August 5, 2009

When we first got married, I wanted my PH to tell me everything.

"No secrets between us!" was my mantra.

He, on the other hand, felt that there were some things about church politics that I was better off not knowing. Like when brother so-and-so flew into a rampage at board meetings, or when sister so-and-so shared something privately confidential in a counseling session.

"But how am I supposed to know how to interact with people if I don't know what's going on?" I would ask him.

He stuck to his guns. "Some stuff you just don't need to know," he said over and over. "It doesn't help me to tell you, and it sure doesn't help you to hear it."

Almost 7 years of ministry and marriage later - I'm glad he did. I've learned that if I'm going to support his decisions and his leadership, sometimes there really are things I'm better off not knowing. Seems like God gave men a compartmentalizing ability that we women just don't have - at least in my experience.

My PH can know the most horrid details about someone, or endure a vicious personal attack and still manage to give them a genuine greeting after church. Me? I'd need restraints just to keep from clawing their eyes out in his defense.

Sometimes he comes to me asking for my input about how to navigate a delicate matter. Other times he just needs the freedom to handle touchy situations without my narration from the peanut gallery. Usually this is when my way of dealing with it would be the exact opposite of his way - and oddly enough, no matter how wrong I might have thought he was, his carefully considered course of action ends up being wiser and more effective than mine would have been. Guess that's why God made him the pastor, and not me! Go figure...

We have an agreement now - he tells me the things that I need to know in order to serve our congregation better, or in order to keep from innocently sticking my foot in my mouth. The nasty stuff that would make me lose sleep, he keeps to himself or seeks advice from his mentors.

It helps me help him. Helps me support him without hating other people for their stupidity, or sometimes just for their humanity.

How about you? How much do you feel like you really need to know? How much detail keeps you from being able to give support and honor to your husband?


Anonymous,  August 5, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

This topic has been interesting in our ministry as well. My husband has the same rule about things being confidential even from me. It used to bother me but after 15 years, I'm okay with it. We've had several instances where if he'd told me things, I wouldn't have been able to minister to certain ladies or families. He's a wise man. This doesn't stop the fact that people think he shares everything with me. I've had people come up to me and start spilling their guts thinking I already know the story and I have to tell them that what they told my husband was confidential and he didn't share it with me. That feels good to tell them because it boosts his credibility.

Anonymous,  August 5, 2009 at 2:31 PM  

My husband has the same policy and I thought like you that there should be nothing between us at first, now I see the foresight and wisdom in his discretion. I would rather stay innocent and believe in the best of people. I want the same for my children. I don't think it is good for them to hear politics going on in the church. They will learn enough on their own, God forbid.

Beth August 6, 2009 at 9:43 AM  

As a new PW, this is something me and my PH are working through right now. We've been married 4 years and are used to telling each other everything, so part of me gets upset when he doesn't want to share certain details about church business. The wiser part of me knows it's for the better though. We are trying to strike a good balance right now.

This post was very timely and helpful for me!

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