Airing out your dirty laundry in your marriage isn’t healthy. In fact, it can be very damaging to your relationship. It’s important to take steps to safeguard your relationship.
Some couples just seem to announce to the world all of their issues and problems. It seems like everyone knows the couple’s financial situation, stressors, and problems. Couples like this tend to talk about one another negatively and don’t have secure enough boundaries to protect their marriage.
Letting other people’s opinions and ideas influence your private relationship is unhealthy. It can break down the marriage as it is no longer a partnership but instead more like a group. Learning how to keep private issues private is important to your marriage.
What Things Should be Kept Private?
At times, it can be difficult to know, what sorts of things to keep private. It is important to have conversations about this as a couple. A lot of what someone thinks should be kept private seems to depend on how they grew up. For example, if someone grew up in a family where money was never discussed, it may seem absurd to talk to friends about how much you just paid for your new house. Meanwhile, for their spouse, talking about money may not seem like a big deal. It would be important for a couple to talk about whether or not they are comfortable sharing about issues such as finances.
Make sure to discuss the importance of not discussing your problems to others. Telling friends and family when you have a fight, the sort of sexual problems you have, or the annoying habits your spouse has is not healthy. Make your expectations clear to your spouse and agree not to air out your dirty laundry to others. Imagine working together to build a fence that will protect your relationship and keep bad things out. This is what you are essentially doing when you maintain privacy within the marriage.
Dangers of Not Maintaining Privacy
Complaining to friends and family about your spouse is disrespectful to your spouse. If you and your spouse are having problems, it is important that the two of you work it out together without the influence of others.
When you talk to others, keep in mind that misery loves company. If you talk to a friend who is also having marital problems or who has recently gone through a divorce, they may influence you in a way that is not in the best interest to your marriage. Even if they don’t consciously say, “ditch the loser so we can spend time together,” they are not going to be able to give you objective advice.
Even if you talk to someone who isn’t having any problems of their own, remember that they are only hearing your side of the story. If you go to your friend to say, “Listen to what happened today with my spouse,” or “my spouse treats me in a way I don’t like,” the listener is only hearing your version. Your spouse may have a completely different side of the story.
Telling others about your marriage breaks down the trust in your relationship. If you complain about your spouse to others, you are not honoring the sanctity of the relationship. It is important to protect your spouse, build your spouse up, and remain loyal.
Maintaining Privacy with Technology
Technological advances have made it easier than ever to share your every waking move. Sharing information about your relationship on social media sites is not a good idea. Avoid airing out your dirty laundry on Facebook, twitter, a blog, or via text message.
If you are angry or upset with your spouse, hold off on announcing anything to the world. Even if you aren’t directly saying “my spouse is a jerk” in a public forum, posting about your life or family can still be quite revealing.
Avoid the passive-aggressive, less direct approach to complaining about your spouse online as well. Advertising something such as “hopefully my husband is actually home on time for once,” is telling. Remember that jokes and sarcasm don’t translate well either, so even if you are just kidding, others may not understand this.
Deciding When to Share
There may be times that you genuinely want to seek the counsel of others. If you need help learning how to communicate or work through problems with your spouse, consider getting professional help. A marriage counselor or a clergy person can assist you in talking about your marital issues in confidence.
When sharing issues with anyone about your marriage, it is important to ask, “Would I say this if my spouse were right here next to me?” If the answer is no, don’t say it. Part of building a healthy, trusting marriage means that you don’t do anything hurtful to your spouse, even when your spouse isn’t around.