How much privacy exists between your marriage and others? Some couples tend to be very private people. Other couples fight openly in public and air all their dirty laundry for the whole world to see. Sometimes one person in the marriage shares all the “secrets” to others. How much privacy should be within a relationship?
Each partner should feel safe to share with their partner information in confidence. Sharing information with your partner only to learn that she has told her mother, best friend, and sister can be very hurtful. Or if you have an argument and later learn that he called his mother for advice, it can cause increased feelings of anger and resentment.
If a partner purposely embarrasses the other person in an effort to humiliate him/her publicly, this is a form of emotional abuse. Sometimes information and secrets are shared in an attempt to control the other person. This can cause a lot of shame for the other person.
More often, however, information is shared because one partner feels the need to discuss information with friends and family to gather feedback and to ensure that he/she is right. Phone calls are made to others after an argument to gain an “alliance.” Then the other partner is reminded that, “my mother says you are being unreasonable,” or, “my friend said she doesn’t even know why I stay with you.” These comments are not likely to be helpful. Taking a survey of friends’ and family members’ opinions about private information will not result in justice being done.
Sometimes secrets are shared with friends, not out of anger, but due to lack of respect for the person’s privacy. Information about intimate moments or a partner’s past should not be shared with others. In order to build a trusting, healthy relationship, a couple should feel safe to talk openly about everything. Some privacy within the marriage is necessary in order to establish emotional intimacy.