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He Says: She gossips with her friend about our marriage

I found out that Brooke told her best friend about a fight we had. I feel betrayed – isn’t this gossip?

She Says: I need to talk out my feelings

I needed to talk out my feelings and my best friend has always been there for me. I think Mark needs to recognize the difference between gossip and confiding.

Trust is essential to a marriage relationship and nothing destroys it quicker than a breach of confidentiality. Mark and Brooke have an obligation to protect, support and build up each other; to turn first to each other. Apart from some type of abuse or criminal action, each spouse should have an expectation that most actions, behaviors or personal character flaws are private to the relationship and will not be shared. Of course, if some type of abuse (physical or mental) is occurring, Brooke should tell a friend in confidence who can help her obtain the assistance she needs.

Clearly, men sometimes discuss private matters with other men, and women do likewise, but the discussion should not have the tone of portraying the other spouse negatively. Scripture reminds us that, “One who slanders reveals secrets, but a trustworthy person keeps a confidence.” (Prov. 11:13) And, “Those who guard their mouths preserve themselves; those who open wide their lips bring ruin.” (Prov. 13:3)

No doubt we are creatures of habit and products of our environment, and when those around us engage in conversation that rightfully belongs between spouses and not in the public forum (outside the marriage union), it is difficult not to join in – especially if that was the habit prior to entering marriage. It takes tremendous strength not to engage in gossip or discuss a confidence, but preserving the trust of one’s spouse is worth the effort.

Barring any abusive behavior, the bottom line is that confidentiality between Mark and Brooke is a necessity for a lasting relationship.

Deacon Tom and JoAnne Fogle help prepare couples for marriage.