My husband has asked me to stop talking about our marriage and other family issues with my girlfriends. What is your opinion about this?
I think it’s important for me to be able to talk about things with my friends. I don’t make my husband look bad, so I’m not sure why he’s so worried about this.
I feel like he’s trying to control me and tell me who I can and can’t talk to.
As a rule, I think it’s a bad idea to talk with friends and family about your marriage issues. However, I think it all depends on what you’re sharing and why you’re sharing it with others. Perhaps your husband is picking up on something you should slow down and consider.
The biggest reason I think you should be careful about sharing your marriage woes with friends and family is that it’s more likely you won’t feel like talking about the concerns with the person who needs to hear them the most. You need to be understood, but if your husband never gets a chance to hear where you’re coming from, you’ll not feel connected to him again regardless of how much understanding your friends and family show you.
There are times when it makes sense to open up to someone outside of your marriage. That person should be a friend of the marriage, have good boundaries, keep information confidential, and encourage you to work things out directly with your husband.
Processing with a friend or family member can help you get some clarity about your feelings and needs that will help you communicate better with your husband. However, if your friends and family become a dead end in your quest for understanding, you will only feel more resentful toward your husband.
When you share marriage needs with others before taking those feelings to your husband, it dilutes the strength of your message. In other words, you may have some strong feelings about something important that your friend may either play down or discourage you from sharing with your husband. If it involves your husband, he deserves to hear it from you in all of your passion and sincerity. A friend or family member cannot judge the value of a concern or need pertaining to your marriage.
Another concern you’ll want to consider is the risk that family and friends will have a bias against your spouse long after you’ve resolved the issue and moved on. If you share something he said that was hurtful or insensitive and you share it with them, it will likely change the way they see him or interact with him. Long after you’ve let it go or forgiven him for his behavior, they may still hold on to those feelings toward him. They aren’t going to get resolution with him, because they aren’t the injured party. Recognize that innocently sharing a temporary frustration can turn into a permanent wedge between your husband and the other person.
Ideally, you want to learn how to share your needs, fears, concerns, and hurts with your husband directly. Ask yourself:
- Why is this difficult for you to do?
- What role do friends really play in the sharing of your marriage frustrations?
- Are you avoiding talking directly with your husband for a reason?
- Perhaps he’s protesting because he senses that you’re going to the wrong person to work out your concerns?
Your husband might be trying to tell you that he wants to work things out with you, but isn’t getting the chance when you share your important feelings and needs with others first.
I recommend you look closely at your reasons for sharing with others first. If they’re helping you turn back to your marriage so you can share your heart with your husband, then it might be working okay. If your husband senses he’s missing something, slow down and see if he’s right. You can learn how to turn to him and share. You’ll both feel so much better knowing you can rely on the other to work out your most important concerns.
- Relationship Connection: Should I interfere with my brother’s family?
- A Little Over Center: Being prepared to be unprepared
- Relationship Connection: Avoiding the wicked stepmother role
Geoff Steurer is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah. He specializes in working with couples in all stages of their relationships. The opinions stated in this article are solely his and not those of St. George News.
Have a relationship question for Geoff to answer? Submit to:
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.