Spouse, You Don’t Have to Tell Your Parents Everything!

This blog is inspired by something I read in a newspaper.  A woman asked for advice from a free lance writer/columnist (yes, that certainly is the person one should write for marriage advice!).  Her dilemma was that she and her husband of a year were having marriage problems.  She left him for a few months and went back to Mama and Papa. While living there she bad mouthed her husband.  Later she and her husband worked it our. BUT, now her parents refuse to talk to the husband or come over to visit.  This lass is torn between her parents and her husband.

This problem, in some form or another, is presented to me on a regular basis.  The good news here is that a spouse has a good relationship with her parents.  The bad news  is that she polluted the family waters with her negative comments about her spouse.  “Family blood” is impactful here.  The talked about spouse becomes the enemy forever more.

Lest any of you think that it is only women who talk to their parents about marriage travails, you are wrong.  A surprising number of men do the same.  The adage TMI -Too Much Information – is pertinent in these situations.

Certainly in marriage mistakes, sometimes grievous, are made.  Marriages go through challenging times. Many adult children are close to their parents and routinely seek advice from them. Most parents care and want to be helpful.

However, in regard to marriage details, do not share them with your parents.  To say, “we are having a rough time” is fair enough to share.  Do not give details or bad mouth your spouse.  Just ask for loving support. Beyond that only danger lurks.

So, you’re dying inside from your troubled marriage.  Who can you talk to?  My advice here is simple.  If you must talk, share with one friend confidante, one who will listen, support, and not tell anyone else.  You know, of course, that this person, hearing only your version of the story, will take your side.  The support feels nice, but the advice will be biased – and perhaps wrong. There is danger here as well.  If you do patch it up with your spouse your friend may have difficulty accepting your spouse as before based on the info you have shared.

The damage of such sharing with parents is most often significant and irreparable.  Many people do not understand the impact of words spoken.  They are damaging and cannot be taken back.  The results continue to linger and fester.

Back to the lady who is having trouble choosing between her parents and her spouse.  The right choice is simple.  You choose your spouse, your life partner.  In time, hopefully, her parents will see that the bedeviled spouse is now making a good effort and that their daughter is happier.  They will forgive the spouse, and perhaps even know that they heard a one-sided version of what was going on in the marriage.

Other people do not need to know the private intimate details of your marriage. A confidante support, okay; the world knowing your marriage problems, not okay.  Such blabbing comes back and bites you where it hurts – every time.

I salute those of you who have been able to keep your marriage woes private.  Those of you who go to your parents with details, please stop. It is in nobody’s best interest to do so.  As for you parents, do not ask too many questions.  None of your business.

If the marriage is finished, every effort to salvage it has failed, then it is most appropriate to speak to your parents and ask for their support.  Again, however, don’t share too much information, especially if you have children with your divorcing husband.


(Knowing that every rule or norm has exceptions, there may be a particular family and situation where communication between adult child and parent may be appropriate.  Just be sure and be careful)

If you have a problem seek out a consultation with a Marriage and Family Therapist who can assist you to evaluate the issues and come up with a game plan for marriage success.


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