When we are struggling in our marriage, one thing we tend to do is to talk to other people. It seems like a good idea to get some help from someone we trust and we hope it will help us be able to figure things out. Or at least make us feel better.
Here is why I think it not the best thing to do:
When we tell people about out problems in our relationship, and share the intimate details, we are essentially inviting them to have an opinion about our lives and our relationship.
You may think this doesn’t sound so bad, but let me share a story.
My client, Greg, has been struggling in his marriage for over 15 years. He and his wife argue frequently about the things that she wants done , the things he is not doing, and typically the fights escalate into yelling, name calling and then a period of stonewalling on both sides.
He feels like he keeps trying to do different things, and do everything that she asks of him, but it is “never good enough” and that he ends up being blamed for all of the problems they have.
This pattern has gone on for a long time, and from time to time, he talks to his brother about it and seeks advice.
When Greg shares the details of their lives with his brother, his brother has an opinion, and he offers that opinion. Now, he also has a different perspective on Greg’s marriage and his wife that he did not have before. His brother can’t really forget these things and it changes his opinion of her and the relationship.
Greg and his wife keep doing the same thing over and over and nothing changes. His brother keeps sharing his opinion, offering advice that is not taken, and now says that he is frustrated.
Greg wants his brother to still like his wife, and Greg’s brother wants Greg to do something about the situation. Now when Greg want to talk about it, he said he feels like he has nowhere to go.
Here is the problem:
When we talk to other people like this, we are basically asking them for their opinion. They are going to form one and give us advice.
The other problem of telling people about your marriage is that they can only tell you what they would do based upon their own perspective and experience. They can only tell you what they think they would do.
This is not their experience, it’s yours. They can’t really tell you what to do. Even if they do, it is not going to feel like your answer, and you end up feeling stuck.
Another problem with sharing the intimate details of your relationship with someone else is that it invites them into a space between the two of you that is sacred. It violates that space by inviting someone in who does not belong there. That space between you is special and it should be treated that way.
If you are struggling in your relationship, look for an expert. Get help from someone who is trained and has the tools to really help you and guide you. Your friends and family members mean well, but they are not trained, and they cannot help but give you their answer for your life.
Be intentional with who you share the story of your relationship with. I know that you are not trying to invite someone else in, or disrespect the space between you and your spouse – you are looking for help. You may even be sharing it to make sure you are not going crazy and to just try and make sense out of it.
Remember, once you share the details and invite someone in, it is going to be hard to change that and hard for them to not hold a new opinion of your spouse.
If you really want to see if the relationship can work and if you can make it feel better again, or find out if your best next step is to walk away, schedule a complimentary Exploratory session with me. Let’s see if we are a good fit to work together and find your answer for you.