(disclaimer: this blog article is not directed to anyone in an unsafe relationship)
Sometimes we hit speed bumps in love and feel the need to discuss it with somebody we trust. But TMI about problems at home can get you into T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Talking through matters of the heart with people close to you gives them an open invitation to get involved, which can escalate the issues in your love life or destroy friendships, family ties and even your relationship if you aren't careful.
Here are 5 things family and friends might do if you let them into your personal business:
1. They might offer their biased opinions. I remember I had a close friend who had gone through a nasty divorce. As soon as I hit a rough patch in the early days of my marriage, her only advice was to tell me to leave my husband. She meant well. She cared and didn't like seeing me upset. But if I had followed her angry, “What you need to do is…” two cents, I would have made a wrong choice for myself and my family. Receive the word of God, receive Godly counsel but never allow someone’s soulish commentary to be your compass.
2. They might tell others. I don’t know how many times I fell into the, “I won’t tell anybody,” trap in my youth when I poured out my heart to someone. But I quickly learned that while I was seeking answers about how to handle a situation with my honey, they were eager to tell my secrets to others in my circle. Do yourself a favor: if you don’t want to be the topic of gossip, keep your situation to yourself.
3. They might not get over it as quickly as you do. My dad used to tell a hilarious story about how his sister called him in tears one night, demanding that he beat up her husband for something he had done. By the time my father arrived, the couple had made up and as he stated, ‘they were sitting so close, you couldn’t tell if it was one or two people.’ Keep in mind that if your honey hurts your feelings and you tell a friend or family member, you may forget all about it while your loved one holds onto a grudge that causes tension.
4. They might get too close. Sometimes we not only discuss our relationships with the wrong person, but what if that person happens to be of the opposite sex? Confiding in another man is a slippery slope and opens the door to forming an emotional bond that can lead to your making comparisons between the man and your honey, and potentially lure you into an affair. Stay away from such dangerous connections.
5. They might confront him. I’ve been guilty of this one. Years ago, a friend called me crying about something her boyfriend had done. When I couldn’t get him on the phone, I sent him an email that I was sure he would not forget. I was young, overprotective, and dead wrong for getting involved. They broke up for good because the man said he could not trust that my friend wouldn’t report back to me about their relationship. There were other major issues so it was for the best, but my involvement only added confusion.
Do these cautions mean you can’t talk to anyone about what you’re going through? Of course not. There are a few safe places you can go to get answers and insight. Seeking God in prayer should always be your first line of defense.
You can also gain wise perspective from a trusted minister or licensed Christian counselor or even download with an experienced, discreet family member or close friend who is invested in your relationship and is mature enough not to take sides or hold grudges.
The bottom line is, whoever you decide to confide in, do so prayerfully and with discernment. Sometimes your relationship depends on it.