Stop Venting about Your Spouse
By: Anne Peterson
He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends. - Proverbs 17:9
I was so frustrated. I felt my emotions running away from me. And not only did I feel hurt, I needed to talk about it.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that expressing frustrations can sometimes stay in our listener’s memory bank. For example, a friend of mine shared with me a story about an irresponsible friend. I knew him; we were all part of the same community. At first, I saw myself helping my friend out, by being a sounding board. I did feel a nagging feeling inside as she shared those negative things. But I had learned at times how to silence those feelings. And I felt important, glad that she had chosen me to confide in.
What’s worse is that I too was guilty of going to others to be my sounding board when someone hurt me.
A few days later when we all gathered, when I saw this person, I could not forget what my friend had shared. Her words cast a bad shade on him. And try as I did, I could not forget what I had heard.
One day, I approached my friend and told her I could no longer hear what she felt about this other person. I told her my opinion of him was changing based on what I had heard.
Years later, I was venting to my small group of friends and didn’t care how it looked. But I suddenly realized, no one else in our group of friends did the same thing. It was such an eye-opener. It was truly humbling.
When we repeat negative things about someone, we are tarnishing their character. The stakes are even higher in marriage. Our spouse is our friend, our intimate friend. And when put down our spouse, we are driving a wedge into our marriage.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, God says love is kind. Love does not behave unbecomingly. Love does not take into account a wrong suffered. Love hopes all things and endures all things. Repeating negative things is the opposite of all of those things. It is totally unkind, unbecoming, it lingers on a wrong suffered. It is without hope and shows a lack of acceptance. It’s wrong.
I had become the judge and jury with my words. I had used my words as weapons to kill my husband’s character. Someone who was supposed to be my friend, my intimate friend.
No wonder I didn’t feel close to my husband. I was the one creating the distance.
Yes, there are times we feel like venting. But God is always available to us. What we share with others stays with them. You might be permanently ruining your spouse’s reputation, even if he or she changes. But God hears things through his love filter, he knows the full story, he knows where you have things wrong.
So, when frustrations grow, what can you do? Writing a letter you will throw in the trash is an option. Going off for a walk and pouring your heart out to the Lord, is an option. But venting all your anger to a friend is not an option.
Since I stopped venting to others about my spouse, I feel closer to him. All because God gently showed me what I was doing was damaging. I needed to go to God. What frustrations, wounds or challenges do you feel the urge to share with a friend. Can you instead try taking those hurts to your loving Father?
Anne Peterson and her husband, Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 15 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne's newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook by clicking the tab. Or connect with her on Facebook.
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