This week we are focusing on what can be a hard reality for most women. There are things that we do that can often be "blind spots" to us, as women, that can compromise how our partners feel about us. We hope that in sharing some of these blind spots, we can help you begin to see areas in your life that you can improve to bring you closer to your partner.
Allowing others to infiltrate the family/marriage
What do you think this means? Well, in this context, the word infiltrate means that someone outside of your marriage has access to private information regarding the marriage or family relationships and/or dynamics. Sharing private information outside of your marriage is something that can compromise trust. We should remember that if we share intimate details of our relationship with someone of the opposite sex, it could potentially lead to the risk of infidelity.
Women naturally process their thoughts, feelings, and experiences by talking with others. However, we need to be considerate of certain spoken or unspoken boundaries in the relationship. If we share too much information about the intimate details of our lives, it violates the privacy of our relationships, breaking trust with our partners. Breaking trust can change the way your partner sees you as a person, which can diminish his attraction toward you. It is important to be mindful of what we share with those outside of our marriage relationship, so that we maintain confidences and build trust with our spouse.
Venting our problems
As mentioned above, women need to talk in order to process how they feel about issues or problems. However, when a wife vents to family or friends about their partner, this can often do additional damage to the relationship with the wife's husband, changing how these friends or family view the spouse. It is not uncommon when, for example, that when a wife finds out about an affair, she will tell her mother, sister, or friend. Although it is important to talk about this painful discovery, it has the potential to create a negative collaboration with the wife against her spouse, which could compromise the possibility of healing from an affair. Even if the wife is able to forgive her husband, she has no control over how those she has shared with feels about her partner. This is an extreme example, but the concept applies to most every situation when we are frustrated at our spouse.
Some healthier options would be to be selective on what is shared, who it is shared with, and how it is processed to explore other less damaging ways to address issues in the marriage.
- What is shared ~ It is important to be general in what you share, not being too specific, in order to protect the marriage relationship. It is appropriate to say things like, "I am frustrated with him right now," or "We are having a hard time, so please keep us in your thoughts and prayers." These are general ways to help process our hurt feelings without creating more hurt towards our partner.
- Who it is shared with ~ You can share your frustrations with a trusted friend, family member therapist, or clergy. However, as mentioned above, be mindful as to what is said. The goal is to find supportive people who want the best for both of you, who will not be judgmental, and who can be objective and neutral, without taking sides.
- How it is processed ~ There are ways to express feelings without it being damaging to the relationship, but can really help in processing your emotions. The best way is to journal your thoughts and feelings. There are online therapeutic apps, such as Pacifica, that provide a "space" for your feelings that are safe and effective in helping you navigate how you will move forward in your relationship.
I hope this is helpful for you and that in utilizing these suggestions, you can begin to heal your relationship in better ways that can bring you closer and be more connected to your spouse. Stay tuned for tomorrow's topic on the importance of self-care and self-esteem, as it relates to increasing your attractiveness to your partner.
Written by Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFT
Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFT is a marriage and family therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Emily enjoys doing individual counseling, couples counseling and family counseling. Emily specializes in women's issues, specifically maternal mental health and reproductive mental health.
Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.