I had to keep my mouth shut. After all, I was the new mom on the block. I had never met these ladies before and even if I had, who am I to judge? I didn’t know the whole story and to be honest, I don’t think the other wives, the ones on the receiving end of this young wife’s bitter chatter; were going to get the whole story either.
Why UNCHECKED Venting Is Dangerous For Your Marriage
I tried to be subtle about my discomfort. You know, drop a few hints here and there, bring the attention back to our kids because hey, we were at playgroup after all. But my voice was just static; a washed out noise left completely unheard as the other moms chatted and a young wife passed her cell phone back and forth between them, putting her and her husband’s intimate argument center stage for most everyone to see.
And I couldn’t help but wonder; if I were her if my husband could hear me at that very moment, would we still be having that conversion?
If My Husband Could Hear Me…
Would I still be so quick to flaunt his flaws; to paint him as the problem and bury any responsibility I had in the matter and place all the blame on Him?
If my husband could hear me would I still be so quick to poke at his character or laugh at his misunderstanding?
How would he feel knowing that our secrets are no longer safe with me? That our privacy holds no value to me? That our very intimate lives are no longer just ours because I’ve invited my girlfriends to be a part of it?
How would he feel when he realized that I could no longer be trusted with the thoughts and beliefs you hold most close to your heart?
If Only I Knew
I’m not sure why we do it. Maybe it’s to fill in the silence, or maybe we just need to vent; maybe our feelings need validation. I don’t know.
What I do know is if my husband had heard me carry on about him in that manner, I would be so… embarrassed. So humiliated. And after the fact, maybe a little heartbroken, self-induced of course. But even worse than the fact that I was heartbroken is the undeniable fact that his heart would be broken too. Shattered probably. And rightfully so. The woman He had entrusted his heart to had so cruelly put it on display, with spotlights, commentary, and all.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been that wife before and thought nothing of it. I justified it by thinking I just needed to talk to people who would get it. A few months, a few books, and some wise counsel later and I realized why this behavior was so harmful to my marriage.
I had allowed people who weren’t really rooting for my marriage to succeed to speak into my marriage. And they didn’t have great things to say or great advice to give; (and here’s the kicker) nor were they in any place to be giving me marriage advice. Their marriages and relationships were falling apart. They were in sinking ships and had me navigating that same course.
There is a way to talk through and resolve conflicts in a marriage, but spewing your dirty laundry to every listening ear is NOT it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there too. I’ve been both the sinking ship and the one flooding boat. I’m not about to try to hide that.
A Better Way
Being on the other side of this conversation put things in perspective for me. At the very least, it was a not so subtle reminder that the words we speak about our spouse matter. And more often than not they are a clearer reflection of our hearts that they are his actions. When your words start to get yucky, it might be worthwhile to stop yourself and ask where your heart is at that moment. And if it’s not evident that what you are thinking or feeling or about to say comes from a place of love – it might be worth it to have that conversation with your spouse first. After all, you and he are the only two who can bring resolve to whatever conflict has arisen.
What would you have done had you found yourself a part of this “playgroup” conversation?