One thing you can do to have a better marriage is to make your marriage a safe place to share. Agree with one another that whatever you share with each other will be kept confidential unless your spouse gives you express permission to share it. Confidentiality in marriage builds confidence in your marriage relationship.1
DO THIS: Say to your spouse, “I will not repeat anything you tell me without your permission.”
One of the biggest threats to a marriage is the little tongue. Repeating what your spouse shared with you in confidence or in a moment of intimacy rips the fabric of the marriage relationship and that rip takes months of trust building to repair – if it can be repaired at all.
Easy to Rationalize
It is easy to rationalize talking to a trusted friend or family member about the details of your marriage for advice to “make it better.” The fact that your motive for sharing is well intentioned is not an excuse to share without your spouse’s permission.
When you Just Need to Tell Someone
Sometimes when you are arguing with your spouse, the need to talk with someone without your spouse’s permission is overwhelming. This feeling is magnified because you often feel alone and by talking with someone else at least remedies the feeling of abandonment. Sharing the details of a fight with others, however, comes with special hazards. Couples usually reconcile. The outsider who knows the details of the argument, who is not part of the reconciliation process, often harbors resentment to the spouse that “hurt their friend.” Over time, this may create an outside stressor on the marriage.
Building a Better Marriage
There are many reasons why keeping marital confidences build a great marriage. Certainly it builds trust – which is the foundation of any great relationship. A more subtle benefit is that couples share more truth about themselves where they feel safe. Great relationships are possible when couples don’t hide pieces of themselves from the other.
A Notable Exception
The notable exception to this rule is abuse. If you are the victim of abuse, get help. Otherwise, the best practice is to keep confident what is shared in confidence.
### Brandon Blankenship
Brandon L. Blankenship is a continuing legal education presenter and business educator. He is the author of Unmasking Hour. He writes weekly posts on the legal industry and is a contributor to the Nobility Academy. He and his wife Donnalee live on their hobby farm south of Birmingham, Alabama.
- ©2016 Brandon Blankenship, Image Credit: tell me a secret by Senia L CC flickr 2AUG2008. ↩