Don't Ask, Don't Tell ... Your Husband?

Jennifer Cullen

Closed mouth puppetDoes your relationship follow the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule?

Or do the two of you spill the beans, without prompting, on everything from the quality of sex you had with former boyfriends to when he lost his virginity and how many people he's slept with?

In my marriage, if I ask my husband about something, that means I want to know. If I don't ask him, then he doesn't need to be forthcoming.

Don't ask, don't tell.

On the flip side, my husband doesn't know everything about me. Nobody does but me. But he comes in a close second place. And really, I don't think that anybody wants to know everything, including him.

But if he asks, I'll tell him whatever he wants to know. And that's how it should be. I don't consider that keeping secrets.

Here's an example of how this rule works: A close friend of mine was having a conversation with her husband on their way to his high school reunion. She was asking him about the girls he dated and if any were going to be there.

And then she asked him if he had ever had a threesome. Not accusingly but just out of curiosity. To her surprise, he said yes. One time. It took place after high school and long before the two of them ever met.

She wasn't upset. It didn't cause a fight. If anything, she said, in a weird way, it kind of gave her a new respect for him.

The author Philip Roth is quoted as having said, "You can tell the health of a marriage by the number of teeth marks on your tongue." Because yes, there are some things that shouldn't be said. But I think that applies more to nagging or being overly critical.

The healthiest relationships are those in which partners tell each other what they want to know -- when they're asked. No more, no less.

Do you follow the "Don't ask, don't tell" rule in your relationship?

Image via Paehder/Flickr

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