Bret and I have gone through some gnarly things in our marriage because — hello? — we’ve been together for 30 years. And, trust me, one of the worst things you can do for the overall health of your relationship is to involve family and friends in your personal drama. The main reason you should (mostly) keep your marriage troubles on the down low:
Others can’t help but store those stories away and never forget.
Let’s be real, you’re never going to share the issue in a way that’s favorable or even fair to the other person. Usually (because we’re human), we only share our side of the story. So, your friends and family members will remember a one-sided version of YOUR reality.
We just love to paint ourselves as saints and it’s simply unfair to your partner (and your marriage) to do so.
I didn’t go to my friends when I discovered Bret’s gambling addiction. And, at the time, I had close friends I was keeping company with every single day.
To be honest, there was only ONE friend I did disclose information to because I was 1000% positive she would:
- Never tell a soul
- Battle me
She questioned me all the time:
“But wait, have you thought about this and have you thought about that?”
Even though I was feeling how I was feeling, I was self aware enough to know I didn’t want someone just taking my side. I needed to challenged.
This leads me to another major reason I don’t recommend telling people in your life about difficult times in your marriage.
You Want To Be Validated
When we’re hurt and feel wronged, we want validation. So, it is our go-to to run to friends and family and say,
“Can you believe this!? How wrong is this person!?”
It’s just like when you’re in middle school and you get in a fight and you want to tell all of your girlfriends what happened — because you want them to say you are right and they are wrong. Well, that is not helpful to a marriage or any kind of relationship, really.
Tip: Think twice about your motives when seeking counsel from someone else and ask yourself questions, like:
- Is this person in a position to give me advice?
- Have they already been through this?
- Are they more experienced than me?
- Will she take it to her grave?
- Is he unbiased?
- Will they not get involved?
Seriously, though, most of us don’t have that kind of person — even when we think we do.
Now, if you really need solid advice, the only exceptions to my rule are:
Go to a therapist. A good doctor will call you on your BS (and they can’t disclose anything that you disclose to them or they lose their license).
Seek one — and I mean one — trusted friend. This person is someone who you know, no matter what, will take whatever drama you’ve shared to the grave. (This situation works out best if you have information from them that they need you to take to the grave.)
For much more related information on this topic, including:
- Why emotional intimacy is the most powerful type of intimacy — regardless the type of relationship
- Why most relationships fail
- The importance of thinking about the outcome when communicating with others
Then check out The Chalene Show episode below:
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