I think the best piece of advice I got when I got married was this:
Never say anything bad about your spouse publicly.
At the time, it didn’t mean that much. I was in love and he was awesome and would I ever have anything bad to say about him? I mean, like, ever?? But of course the honeymoon was over and suddenly I was living with this other person and we didn’t always see eye to eye or maybe I didn’t like that shirt or maybe it annoyed me when he would try to help me in the kitchen (I was not a cook. He was great at it. I know now it was intended to be helpful but at the time I found it condescending. We laugh about it now.). I could have called my mom and my friends and my sister and complained all day long. Any time we had a fight, I could have gone to someone else and whined and cried about how bad I feel. I’m sure I would have gotten the comfort I needed and the validation I needed at that time.
But then, a week later, when everything is wonderful with us, how would my best friend be feeling about my husband? Knowing intimate details about our fight? Or thinking that he is a horrible person for treating me so badly when it was actually one little misunderstanding and he and I worked it out, but of course I didn’t run to my friends to tell them how awesome and nice he is and how he made me dinner and hugged me for half an hour while I just cried or how he randomly brought home a movie that I love and have been wanting to buy…
Thankfully, I never put my family or friends in the awkward predicament of having to choose sides over issues. If there is something serious going on, we went to our ecclesiastical leaders or to a professional. Not to my friends or his friends or my mom…
In this day an age, we have Facebook and Twitter and Snapchat and Instagram and… I don’t even know. There’s so much. And with all this social media people are breaking down walls of what they say. People aren’t afraid to get into arguments with complete strangers. And it seems like people are willing to risk friendships over stupid and trivial matters. Everything has become life of death and if you don’t agree with me, then I’m unfriending you and blocking you. And I’ll let everyone know what a crappy person you are.
I have seen so much personal stuff just thrown out on the internet because “It’s my Facebook and I can post what I want!” The last few days I have been devastated to read a friend making some vague and some not-so-vague digs at her husband’s family. They are definitely warranted, but I have to wonder if this is really the right venue to do so. I’m really uncomfortable. To top it off, things are being said about her husband now. I saw a comment thread go on and on as people talked with this friend about what her husband needs to do. Her husband even got on and half-heartedly tried to comment and yet more and more people got on and told him what he needs to do for his wife.
I really feel this should have been a private matter between them. I don’t live in their house and I have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors. I can shout my opinions about the the limited information I have gathered from Facebook, but how is that actually helping them? If I were to have this on my Facebook and I had 15 people jumping all over my husband, telling him what I need and what he needs to do, Ches would feel completely betrayed by me. I wouldn’t blame him for walking out, honestly. It is not the business of my friends to comment in a public manner on what I need to my husband. There are other, better, more effective avenues to take.
And another thing… if you have confided in me terrible things about your significant other and you went through a LOT of emotion in a break up, please don’t expect me to be able to just pick up and be happy when the two of you get back together. I’m super cautious. This person hurt you. And I love you and I get protective big time of the people I love. It’s hard for me to forgive all the hurt they caused you because I. Am. Not. There. And I’m scared they will do it again. I have to worked very hard to be happy for you.
I’m not saying don’t ever confide in me. I’m not saying I’m not here for you. Just know that once a person has been put in that position of “we hate so-and-so”, it’s really hard to get out of that position. I can’t switch gears that quickly. I love that you think enough of me that you come to me when you need a moment to vent. I get needing those moments (I have them. A lot.) and I encourage it because it’s not a good idea to just keep everything inside and pretend your life is all happy happy joy joy. I may talk to someone individually from time to time about my frustrations, but I don’t think you’ll ever hear me talk badly about Ches to a group or in a public forum of any kind. I love him and our marriage too much.
Overall, I think we all need to be careful of what we say in public and who we say things to. Do we want to betray that person we love? Do we want to risk damage to a relationship that will be harder than ever to repair?