Being married has been a source of healing from my past. Divorce, promiscuity, and affairs run rampant in our culture, but because of Jesus, we don’t have to live like that anymore. However, one of the silent killers of marriage, which we always have to guard against, is a little thing called gossip.
Call it what you may. Putting down your husband. Choosing sides and asking your relatives to do the same. Harboring bitterness. Venting. Seeking advice from people who delight in evil. Justifying your actions by bouncing your ideas off of someone else.
Or, my personal favorite, just joking around.
I’m convinced that while gossip does not cause divorce, it definitely doesn’t help a marriage stay together. One piece of advice I’ve heard from a lot of people is not to share your problems with your parents. Your parents will always be on your side, not your marriage’s side, so you will always win when you ask them to nurse your wound. But the point of marriage is not to win; the point of marriage is to stay married until death do us part.
Right before I got married, my mom told it to me straight: “If you ever get so mad at your husband that you don’t want to go home, don’t come here. We’ll just send you back home to your husband so you can be reconciled.” Her advice not only showed her support of my marriage, but it also put the responsibility on me and not on her to fix my marriage.
Of course, during the honeymoon stage I didn’t think I could ever be so mad at my husband that I would want to spend time apart from him. However, through the stresses of life and the arguments that make my blood boil, it has been tempting to pick up the phone and call my mom. Just to vent. Just to justify if I’m right. Just to bounce my ideas off of someone who cares. But I can’t sugarcoat it. Gossip is gossip, and I should never put down my husband when I’m talking about him to others.
This message is for two people. First, to spouses: do not develop the habit of going to your parents or other family members to bail you out of your marital problems. If they want to offer you advice, that’s wonderful! Definitely take it, especially if they have a healthy marriage that you want to exemplify in your own marriage. However, don’t go out of your way to put down your husband so that you could prove you’re right, because when you do that, you both lose
Second, family members, parents, or close friends: Do not stick your nose in your loved ones’ marriage. If you want to give advice, it is the responsibility of the receiver to put that advice into practice. Don’t force them to conform to your way. If they come to you for advice and end up putting their spouse down, try to say things to encourage your family member to love his or her spouse again. I don’t care if it’s your son or daughter, your sister or brother, your niece or nephew, your cousin, or a close friend; if you attended their wedding, you made a promise to help them when they are struggling.
I know from experience that it hurts to see a family member fighting with his or her spouse or significant other. I personally want to stick up for my own flesh and blood. However, if the couple is married, that means they made a promise to God to honor one another and to maintain their union to one another in Christ. Help them keep their commitment, instead of telling them to give up on their marriage.
Photo by John Pearson on Unsplash