My wife tends to talk too much about things I feel are our business. I’ve spoken to her about it, but she doesn’t think it’s a big deal. Am I making too much over this?
Healthy relationships need a certain level of respect and honor that produces levels of trust that can eventually lead to deep levels of intimacy. It is disrespectful and dishonoring for one partner to ignore the comfort level of their spouse as regards to sharing of personal information.
The issue isn’t whether she thinks it is or isn’t a big deal. Dr. Sherod Miller, nationally recognized relationship expert and co-author of the highly researched Couple Communication Program has observed that there is no such thing as only one partner having an issue. Because of the nature of the marriage relationship, the reality is that whenever one partner has an issue or concern it affects the relationship and thus becomes something that both spouses need to address. If one spouse thinks something is a big deal, then it becomes a big deal.
Boundaries are invisible fences we’ve put up in order to maintain safety and respect for self and for others.
What are some of your boundaries around personal issues? How do they compare with the boundaries of others that you know? Have you prayed about whether any of them might be unrealistic? Are they too rigid or too flexible?
How you communicate around the issue is important for both of you. Merely telling her that you don’t like how she talks about things with others may not be a message that she will be able to hear or understand. Before you talk with her about it again, take several days to think and pray through your feelings. What is it about her sharing that bothers you? Are there certain topics that are more sensitive than others? What do you feel when you overhear these conversations? Embarrassed? Exposed? Exploited? You fill in the words for whatever you are feeling and then let her know.
Also take the time to listen to her and try to experience what things look like through her eyes. We’ve never seen a healthy relationship that was a one way street. Let your wife know that when she talks about issues that concern you personally and/or the relationship, you feel she is inviting others into a place that belongs to you and her, and that feels invasive and disrespectful. Let her know that if she is comfortable letting people into her personal place, that is her choice, but when she invites others into the space that involves both of you and your relationship, she actually compromises your ability to trust her and the level of intimacy you can enjoy in your marriage.
A fair rule that many couples have adopted that reflects respect and healthy boundaries in a marriage is that if something involves personal information about me, then I’m the one who makes the decision as to who and how much is to be shared. You wife is free to share whatever she wants about herself and you can share whatever you want about yourself. As you discuss this with your wife, take the time to be gentle, be kind and respectful of what she thinks and feels. Hopefully she will respond in better and more helpful ways for the relationship, and through this process God will be able to knit your hearts even more tightly together in love.