Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Just don't

Last year 4 couples in our circle of friends and acquaintances split. In each case, the fall-out was heartbreaking to watch and there were children involved.

That’s the prelude to what I’m about to say. I recognise that as a result of last year’s events, I might be a bit hypersensitive around marriages. But I don’t care. I just don’t care if I come across as the crazy lady. Watching the pain that inevitably comes when a marriage is smashed is just too horrible. So here goes.

Please don’t come and tell me about your spouse’s faults, errors and bad points.

Just don’t.

Don’t make jokes about how hopeless they are. Don’t tell me little tit bits of information about how tense things are at home or how angry you are at them. Don’t “vent” a big long stream of information that tells me how unhappy you are being married to that person. Just don’t.

If you are having a hard time in your marriage and you want to come and talk to me about that so you can get some support and we can pray together and think about solutions, do that. I’ll drop everything and listen. Name your time and I’ll pop the kettle on.

But don’t gossip randomly to me about your spouse. Don’t use me as an opportunity to run the other person down. I don’t want to look at them next time I see them and know more about them than I should. It's not that I don't like you or care about your life.  I just don't want to see you hacking away at your relationship because I care about what happens to you and your family.

If you have a problem with your spouse, talk to them about it. If you can’t resolve it, talk confidentially to someone helpful and wise. But don’t feed your problems by speaking to lots of other people about what’s not right between you.

When you got married, you promised to love them. Loving them is not happening when you are serving up all their faults on a platter to your mates. So stop it. Nothing – nothing - good is going to come of that. Unless your mates happen to have the common sense to point out what you are doing and give you a good talking to.

I understand marriages can be hard. Hard. I don’t want to make you feel rotten if you are struggling. But I am saying that running your spouse down to lots of people doesn’t actually make it easier even if it gives you a momentary release. It’s a breach of trust and it’s not “keeping it real”. It’s spiteful.

Some of you are going to think I’m mean and that I don’t understand that sometimes we need to unload and unburden to others. Yes, we do need to talk about it when our marriage is difficult. But we should be aiming to do that privately and carefully – not randomly – with people whose counsel we trust. If you have to the urge to talk about your spouse in a negative way on the spur of the moment, bottle it. Think it through and make a time to discuss it later. If it isn’t worth making a time to talk it through, it wasn’t worth saying.

Really, think about it. Can you honestly, honestly, tell me talking bad about your spouse to others will improve your marriage? Truly, it’s like repeatedly running into things so you can dent your car on purpose. And that’s just dumb.

And if I start down that path while I’m having coffee with you, will you please stop me? Just tell me to stop. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

I want to say, "hear, hear!", but am very aware of my own shortcomings! It is all about respect, I would rather my spouse wasn't venting about me to just anyone... But it can be such a big temptation! Thanks for the reminder to keep not doing it xx J

Tasmanian said...

I just read the same thing in different words :)

Deb said...

Thanks, that's a good post. She wrote this one too: I think I could take a few of those things from that list and really work at them.