5 Wrong Places to Talk About Your Marriage Trouble
By Rhonda Stoppe
“OMG if my husband forgets to put gas in the car one more time I’m gonna scream!”
“Girl, I know exactly what you mean. My husband is so forgetful. The other day I had to ask him three times to take out the trash!”
“Oh, you think that’s bad? Listen to this…”
Am I the only one who feels like a “Peeping Tom” when people divulge all of their frustration with their spouse on social media?
We have come a long way from Ethel listening in to the neighbor’s conversation on their “party-line” ~ or have we?
Whenever you find yourself frustrated with your spouse, venting seems to be a natural response to the situation. But to where do you vent?
In this age of “over-sharing”, it is often confusing to know the best way to talk through relationship struggles. So let’s first ponder five wrong outlets for divulging your marriage problems:
1.Social Media: We have become a culture entertained by daily discovering the details of people’s lives––and for many, the more intimate the details the better. We want to know what Kim’s little girl wore to her first day of school––what Lori made for dinner––and how long Sharon had to sit in traffic on her way home from work.
I thoroughly enjoy seeing posts of adorable littles with their mommies, husbands and wives enjoying a weekend away, and all the fun in between. But I cringe whenever I see a post where a wife undermines her husband in social media. And I can only imagine how betrayed a husband might feel when he reads his public chastisement.
The next outlets I see as harmful are:
2. Your Parents: “Wait a minute ~ my parents? You think it’s wrong to divulge marriage problems to my parents?” you ask. I am sure your mom is a great sounding board, but venting to your parents may put them on the defensive for you. After all, you are their little darling. And the last thing they want is to hear of someone taking advantage of you.
More often than not, when a wife divulges her marriage trouble to her parents, it may sow in their minds a distrust or offense toward their son-in-law. And after you have long forgotten, and hopefully forgiven, your husband, it may be difficult for your parents to forgive and forget the offense. Rather, for a healthy place to talk through your issue, look for a parent-like, godly friend who is not emotionally involved in your life.
3. Your Bible Study: Ok, so what do I mean? Isn’t Bible study where you’re supposed to learn together as you study God’s Word? Yes, studying Scripture together is a great way to grow more in love with Christ and with those with whom you study. The Lord truly knits together the hearts of women who fellowship around His Word.
The problem lies when a woman over-shares her marriage struggles at a women’s Bible study. Whether as a prayer request or fully disclosing to your small group how your husband has let you down, be aware your exposing his weaknesses can be a form of betrayal to your husband’s reputation. (And if your husband is not a believer, he will be less likely to want to come with you to church if he thinks you are undermining him to the women there.)
The right thing to do if you need advice for your marriage struggles is found in Titus chapter 2. God instructs the older women to teach the younger how to love their husbands. So seek out a woman who you can trust to privately receive godly advice for your marriage.
4. In Social Settings: Have you ever been together with a group of friends where one couple is obviously experiencing tension? You know, their body language screams that they are not happy with each other. Or maybe it’s less obvious than that until one of them begins to make manipulative comments that undermine the other.
Saying things like, “Oh yes, well my husband works all the time. I’m surprised he even took the time to come tonight.” Or a host of other comments that make everyone in the room aware the one is not happy with the other. Hoping to change your spouse through manipulation is never the answer. And it will most certainly drive a wedge between you and your spouse, rather than resolution.
If you are one who waits until you are in a social setting to make “jabbing” comments about how your husband is not measuring up to your expectations, may I encourage you to refrain from this activity? Not only does it make your spouse feel betrayal but it makes everyone else feel uncomfortable as well.
5. To Your Children: Whenever your husband forgets to put down the toilet seat––or whatever thing he does that irks you––do you vent to your children? Saying things like Your father drives me crazy. Can the man not learn to put his shoes in the closet? May seem like a harmless comment, but using your children as a sounding board when you are frustrated with their dad will create in your kid’s feelings of insecurity and disrespect for their father.
Your kids long to know that mommy and daddy love each other and that your love is secure. When you work to say only what is honorable about their father you will bless them with a sense of security and confidence. As you speak highly of their dad, you build in them a respect that will help them obey their father as well.
Read this insight from my book:
Your genuine love for each other will be a light that tells your children––and a watching world—that knowing the Savior really does make a difference in your lives. Letting this light shine does not happen by accident. In fact, if you make marital love all about your feelings, you will certainly miss the opportunity to shine Christ’s light.
When life is hard, your hormones are acting up, the bills pile up, and the kids get sick ~ this is when the light of God’s kind of love has the potential to shine the brightest. Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Learning the right place to talk through marriage issues is vital to the integrity of your relationship. When you determine to protect your husband’s reputation–even when you are frustrated with him, you will become a valued treasure to your husband, because he will know he can trust you.
Let’s learn from the example of Proverbs 31:10-12
An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
Rhonda Stoppe, the No Regrets Woman, has mentored women for more than two decades. Steve Stoppe has pastored First Baptist Church, Patterson, California, for 19. After 37 years of marriage, they’re still head-over-heels and ready to share their secrets to building a no-regrets marriage. They’ve appeared on Focus on the Family and together write books, speak at marriage conferences and rescue troubled ministry marriages at their ranch in Northern California. They have four happily married children and ten grandchildren. To invite Steve & Rhonda to speak at your next event, and for more resources & videos, follow their social media links and connect with the Stoppe’s at NoRegretsWoman.com.
Rhonda is the author of 6 books and appears on numerous radio programs including FamilyTalk, Focus on the Family, Family Life Today and hosts The No Regrets Hour. She speaks at women’s events, Pastor’s Wives Conferences, MOPs and homeschool conventions. Sharing the gospel is her sweet spot––she’s an evangelist at heart.