Communicating with our Husbands

Posted by  | Monday, August 22, 2011  at 6:00 AM  
My specific topic today deals with how much we should be sharing with our husbands. And this is probably just as much a question that I want to turn over to the readers as it is my opinion on the topic.

How much do you share with your husband? What do you do if a friend reveals intimate things to you - about herself or about her marriage? What about things going on with you personally? Do you tell him all the different things that go through your head throughout the day? Do you share areas of struggle with him? What if they involve him?

First, if a friend shares personal things with you, do you share them with your husband? I had a friend share with me that she really struggles with anger. She loses her temper at home with her kids. She shared this with me and asked me to pray for her as well as to share some ideas with her about how she could deal with her anger. Do I tell my husband about our conversation? I guess I step back and ask myself, "how would this knowledge affect my husband?"

A harder example: My friend tells me that she is worried about a relationship her husband is having with a co-worker. She shared this with me because she was really upset and feeling defeated. She poured her heart out to me. Our families are friends and our husbands interact. Do I share this secret with my husband? Did my friend tell me in confidence or did she know that I would tell my husband?

I have tried to find wisdom from the Bible on this subject. Here's where I keep coming back -

Proverbs 11:13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. (NIV)

I don't think by telling your husband you are being a "gossip", but perhaps the second half of the proverb instructs us to be trustworthy and keep the secret. I asked my husband his opinion, and he said that he would rather not know these details about our friends lives if they didn't come to him directly.

Does it complicate the question if your husband is a pastor/elder? And what about communication the other way? Does your husband keep these types of confidences from you? Perhaps the wisest idea would be to settle these issues with your husbands beforehand. Talk with your husband and discuss what is appropriate to share between you and what you will keep in confidence from each other.

The second half of my questions has to deal with personal, private issues. How much do you reveal about yourself to your husband vs. how much do you filter to protect him and your marriage from unnecessary insecurity?

My first reaction is to say that husband and wife should share all things with each other. But is this the wisest course of action? Or even practical? I say that a personal filter can be helpful in your marriage. For example, let's say I find myself feeling attracted to another man. I need to deal with that between myself and God. Telling my husband may cause him to feel insecure. But what if it gets to a point where spending time with that family is causing problems for me to have victory over that sin? I need to step up and confess that sin to my husband so he can help me in it.

And what about areas that directly involve your husband? I often struggle with anger and disappointment towards my husband when I feel like he doesn't meet my expectations. (I will insert here that the problem is my attitude, not my husband "falling short.") In the past I've tried to share this with my husband because I thought I should be honest with him about how I felt. But there is a difference between communicating expectations and sharing your feelings of anger and disappointment. My confession of feelings caused a lot of insecurity in my husband. I was not building him up at all. I am learning to take things to the Lord and ask Him to refine me so that I can speak love and encouragement into my husband's life. There is a filter there to protect our marriage - definitely not a filter between me and God b/c I need to lay it all at his feet, but a filter in how much I am confessing to my husband.

Please share your feedback on this topic. I feel like I really asked more questions than I answered. And I feel like there could be a lot more biblical wisdom shed on this topic. I'd love to hear your reactions and thoughts. I am not dead set on any of the opinions I gave here, so please feel free to disagree...just so long as you give your reason why and a thoughtful rebuttal.


Jessica said...

When a friend confides in you and asks you not to tell anyone, or if it's just an unspoken thing and you KNOW you're supposed to keep it confidential, I would not tell my husband. Would you feel comfortable if your friend shared intimate details of your life with her husband? I try to stick to the policy of "If it's not MY secret to tell then I'm keeping my mouth shut". :) You're right, it is a fine line sometimes, especially if you really think that your husband might have a helpful suggestion or could offer some insight.

Leah F said...

I love talking over all things with my husband, and many of my friends have similar relationships with their spouses. Therefore, it is assumed that what my friends tell me may find its way back to Nathan, just as what I tell them may get back to their husbands. That does not mean I recount every single detail of my conversations, or that I share things that would be inappropriate. There are times that Nathan can give better insight into a situation because he is removed from it. Sometimes he needs to know what is going on because it affects me. Often, I find that when people ask me not to tell Nathan it is either because the topic is intimate or sensitive OR because the topic is sinful and destructive. In the first case, I wouldn't share, but in the second case, it would depend on the situation. I NEVER promise to not tell 'something' before knowing what it is. So, all that to say--I tell my husband a lot, and possibly more than people would be comfortable with.

Leah F said...

That last comment was long, so I will make this one shorter. As for what I tell my husband about personal struggles, I think you are right on! There is a point where our voiced struggles can be a detriment to our husband's confidence and reliance on Christ. I do think there are times when it is okay to voice your struggles, but to revisit them and complain is not building your husband up. Recently I unloaded on my husband about some fears and anxiety that I had that were related to a decision we are making. I cried and told him that I wanted him to know where I was struggling. But though I may still have moments of struggling, I am not revisiting that topic again with Nathan (at least not in the same way). It would not be helpful, and at this time I need to lay it at the foot of the cross and rely on Christ to give me peace. When we struggle with our attitudes toward our husbands, the best thing we can do is to pray for God to change our heart and his. Sorry for rambling on, but thanks for introducing this great topic, Leah!

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