Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a presumptive contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals.
Every new pre-married class that we teach we spend some time considering the concepts that we want to keep or add. We try to make sure the content is both relevant and universal. We also hope that our concepts have been well formed. So I am using this platform to flesh out one of our observances.
When the word betrayal comes up what do you think of? Does it sound like something that you would never do in your relationships? Does it sound extreme?
I was thinking today that not all betrayals are intentional. As a matter of fact, for most good-willed people, they would never imagine betraying their partner. But maybe some betrayals are more covert than overt. Here are some possible betrayals that might occur moving from pre-married to married:
- Have you suppressed your negative emotions, like anger or neediness until after the wedding?
- Have you kept an addiction under control until you are married, but then no longer keep a tight hold on it?
- Did you lose weight for dating and then put on pounds after the engagement or wedding was a done deal?
- Did you hold a job until after the marriage vows were spoken and then quit working, expecting to be taken care of?
- Did you hold high expectations for your partner but did not reveal them until the marriage was in full swing?
- Did you wait until after the wedding to reveal to your spouse that you had changed your mind about having children?
- Did you pretend to enjoy things during dating that you really didn’t, and then refuse to participate afterwards?
All of these things can feel like betrayals depending on spoken or even implied agreements. Often a spouse won’t know whether it’s permissible to bring up certain issues once they are married. Whether they believe you were intentional or not they may feel deceived and become angry or resentful.
Nan and I believe in full disclosures before marriage. If you are afraid to discuss certain things before you are engaged, then the relationship is not safe enough. You must allow your struggles to be known, be willing to be honest about your intentions and keep your agreements once you have made them. Yes, there can be things in a marriage that change and modifications must be made. However, those things need to be discussed and then agreed upon.