Leakers have been blamed for dealing some pretty devastating blows in politics, entertainment, and business. But leaking isn’t just a problem for national security. It can also be a challenge for marital security.
One place you want to be doubly sure there’s no leaking going on is within your marriage. When you tell others things about your spouse or your relationship that your spouse doesn’t want you to share, you break down trust in your marriage.
You might be tempted to share something your spouse told you privately with family or close friends. I mean, you talk to them about everything, right? They’re interested in what’s going on in your world, and they can be an especially great sounding board because they know you, your past, and your tendencies.
Don’t go there.
When you walked down the aisle and said “I do,” you reserved some things for your spouse only.
Having a problem in your marriage? It may be okay to divulge that you’re struggling—that’s probably apparent to many anyway. But be very careful about what you share.
Because in addition to reducing trust levels in your relationship, sharing information about your spouse that they might see as private, or something that was just between the two of you, can create big trouble.
Not only will it betray their confidence, depending on what you share and how you share, it could damage your spouse’s reputation with others, and quite frankly, hurt your reputation as well. If people know that you’re willing to share private information about your closest relationship, how willing do you think they’ll be to confide in you?
So, do you want to leak-proof your marriage? Here are three simple steps to ensure the information that’s just between you and your spouse stays locked up tight in a vault that only the two of you can open.
Three Ways to Build Trust and Plug Leaks
Prove your marriage is a safe place to share.
Build a track record of trust with your spouse by holding their secrets close to the vest. Demonstrate from your own transparency and vulnerability that you’re willing to trust them too. Build a reciprocal relationship that involves give and take in a safe, private space. As a result, you will strengthen the tendency to confide only in each other.
Set some ground rules.
It might be helpful for you to discuss openly what is and isn’t okay to share. A leaker might have “leaked” simply because they didn’t know that what you said was private. It may be that they’ve shared information about you because they care about you and want the best for you. Consequently, they might not realize what they thought was okay to share was actually hurtful to you. Be specific. If you need to remind your spouse of any particular instances of “leaking”, be up front about it.
Resist the temptation to open your relational vault by having some prepared responses. If you go to a bank and you don’t have the right account information, or meet a predefined set of criteria, guess what—you’re not getting anything out of the vault. It should be the same in your marriage. If someone asks you to divulge information you know your spouse wouldn’t be comfortable sharing, have a response ready. Say something like, “Thanks for asking, but that’s an issue we want to keep between ourselves.”
It can be tempting to talk about the ups and down of your marriage with people you’re close to, but be careful. You don’t want to be a leaker.
Keeping your spouse’s secrets is a huge part of building and keeping trust in your marriage. For more useful tips on trust download our free guide, 7 Steps to Unwavering Trust.