marital problems

5 People You Shouldn’t Talk to About Your Marital Problems

I have been whitewater rafting twice and each time the guides gave safety instructions. Probably the most dangerous possible situation while whitewater rafting is falling out of the boat. There are several hazards in the river they tell you to avoid in the event you find yourself in the water. It’s natural to try and put your feet down on the bottom to gain stability. However, it’s the worst possible reaction because your feet could easily get stuck in the rocks while the current of the river drives you under the water. While it may seem weird, the best position is to put your feet up with your toes out of the water.

Sometimes marriage can hit some rough patches and we can find ourselves in the water. It may seem natural in the midst of hurt to talk to people who may make us feel good. It makes us feel more stable when we are going through a difficult time to talk to people who are on our side and who understand the pain we are going through. I would caution that there are people who make us feel that way whose advice for marriage we should avoid or we will find our marriages getting pushed under the water. Here are 5 people you shouldn’t talk to about your marriage problems.

1. People who are close family members

It’s difficult for family members, especially parents to be objective. Their natural instinct is to be protective of you. Normally the way this plays out is a person vents to their family members about frustrations with a spouse. Family members get angry and feel negatively about the spouse. A reconciliation may take place between the husband and wife, but since no reconciliation happens between the family and spouse ill feelings toward the spouse remain. Be protective of your family’s relationship with your spouse.

2. People of the opposite sex

This works against a marriage in three ways. The person connecting with someone of the opposite sex while speaking poorly about their spouse, and as a bonus, making their spouse suspicious all at the same time. It causes marital disconnection. The end result is jealousy or possibly worse, an affair.

3. People with a negative view of marriage in general

Beware of speaking to people about your problems who can’t see past their own bitterness.

Beware of speaking to people about your problems who can’t see past their own bitterness. These would be people who cannot, or choose not, to see other relationships separate from their own experience. My marriage (or my parents marriage) gave me deep pain, therefore marriage is the problem. Not only is their logic flawed, but they will implant negative thoughts about marriage and your spouse. It’s like running a marathon and having someone with a bullhorn shouting, “You’ll never make it!”

4. People with a negative view of your spouse

They may have a good reason, but it still makes them a risk of having an agenda against the marriage. Now if there is abuse that is a different story, but for non-abusive marital problems anyone with an agenda other than to help encourage a strong marriage should not be trusted.

5. People who are cynical

Recovering a marriage back to health takes strength and action. Those are two qualities lacking in a cynic. A cynic is someone ruled by fear and those ruled by fear will never know love fully or the sacrifice it requires. Seek advice instead from people with a balance of reality and hopeful optimism.

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “If you had a problem, whose advice would you seek?”