You and your significant other head over to your good friends home for a nice evening together. But during the small talk and cocktails, you can’t help but notice the little barbs being tossed back and forth between the couple hosting you. Little things such as, “Sorry about the wine… would have picked up a better bottle but the wife bought MORE shoes this week.” Or, “Sorry we were running late but as per usual, ‘he’ made us late.” These types of silent insults – both verbal and non-verbal, often considered ‘cute’ or ‘funny’ by the person throwing them out there, are not always appreciated by the people in your company. In fact, the old rule of not bad mouthing your spouse in public otherwise known as ‘airing your dirty laundry,’ seems to be a lost art of relationship courtesy nowadays. Worse, many people tend to use an audience of friends to validate their negative feelings towards their spouse.
However before you go bad mouthing your spouse in public consider how this makes others feel. Do you really think your friends want to hear about the ‘stupid’ things that your spouse did this week? Do you think for one minute that the people around you are unable to pick up on the tension between the two of you? Do you realize that this form of ‘benign’ spouse bashing in the form of a joke makes others uncomfortable? Have you stopped to consider what an idiot bashing your spouse makes YOU look like? After all, while they might be habitually tardy, or spend too much time playing video games – YOU are the one sticking with them despite all the so called ‘ridiculous’ things that they do? If you are that unhappy that you have to resort to bashing your spouse- wouldn’t it just be wise to leave?
There is also the small detail of doing unto others as you would have done unto you. How would you feel if your spouse was the one telling your friends family or perfect strangers about your personal life? Likely, there are things that make you an imperfect partner as well.
Exercising your right to freedom of speech was not implemented as way to enable spouses to publicly talk poorly about one another. Plus, whether you realize it or not – doing so makes the people around you uncomfortable.
Even more poignant are the simple rules of effective communication and positive thinking. Most people would agree that you get more of what you pay attention to. If you are constantly pointing out the negative with your spouse – then there is a chance that you are just attracting more of the same to your relationship. And just like positive affirmations have a transformational effect on the human spirit, so do positive affirmations. In other words, whether in jest or otherwise – the negative barbs could be eventually responsible for costing you your relationship. Perhaps, praising your spouse in public might be a powerful way to make your relationship even better.
As a society, it has become ‘accepted’ behavior to complain about our relationships in public. Stars do it all the tie. People have become prone to post every marital conflict on their Facebook page or twitter feed. Yet, just because this behavior is seemingly accepted, doesn’t make it right. After all, you took a vow with your significant other. Did you make a vow with your friends and acquaintances? You and your partner have a private life that shouldn’t extend as part of normal conversation, beyond the confines of your home.
Additionally, if you are willing to bash your spouse in public – whether under the shadowed veil of humour or otherwise, what does this say about YOU, as a person. Isn’t it only natural that your friends will soon suspect you do the same thing to them? Doesn’t this make you look like a shallow, mean-spirited person? Doesn’t this show a complete lack of love and compassion on your part? Isn’t bashing anyone in public considered a ruthless way to operate?
Certainly, no marriage is without its flaws and no spouse is without his or her flaws. Occasionally making a joke about one of your spouses’ lacks is one thing. Occasionally venting to a friend about how much your partner irritates you is natural. But continually using passive aggressive language and behaviours to point them out in front of others is altogether different. And bottom line is that it will eventually manifest into your relationship negatively and affect the way others perceive you. Most people find it to be in the constant company of negativity. If you have another couple over for dinner, remember that they came for a good time, the spirits, and the company – NOT to be a sounding board with which you try and work out your relationship. Eventually, you may find that fewer and fewer people want to be your friends or want to be around you and your spouse.
The best rule of thumb to follow when you have troubles in your relationship – or complaints is to talk directly to your partner about them first. If you have a close friend or family member that you need to bounce things off of – that is fine! But keep in the forefront of your mind that you chose your spouse, you took a vow and that the relationship will work or fail dependant upon the two of you – NOT your friends and family.