A friend of mine recently confided in me about a problem she was having and at the end of it she said, “I haven’t told my husband about this. Is that bad?”
It gave me pause to think. Were there things I told my friends that I didn’t tell my husband? Yep. Is it healthy? I think it can be.
It’s a given that good communication is a cornerstone of any strong marriage, but do you have to share everything? Experts seem to have mixed feelings on this point, and who hasn’t seen a marriage fall apart when husbands and wives keep secrets?
No subject is taboo in my marriage, but there are things that I spare my husband from hearing about because he either, one, can’t relate to it, or two, he doesn’t want to know about it. Deciding what those things are is something that a husband and wife need to come to terms with on their own. In my book, these are some things that I can go to my girlfriends for (and I’m betting my husband thanks me for it).
1. To talk about my husband—This is probably the most obvious thing I talk about with my friends about instead of my husband. I am fond of saying that the problem with relationships is that there are two people in them. Two different personalities. Two different perspectives. Two different ways of loading the dishwasher. And like any close relationship, the other person can do small things that drive you up the wall. Venting about that minutiae to a friend can be easier than nagging about it to your partner. Sometimes your friend can offer you perspectives on how to either deal with said problem or talk to your significant other about it. Or sometimes they’ll say, stop complaining and get over it. Talking about those little things can help you get the agitation out of your system so you don’t explode on your husband the next time he throws a basket of clean clothes on the bed instead of folding it.
2. Periods, pregnancy, and other vagina-related things—My husband knows me inside and out, literally. He watched all three of my C-sections, where my body with sliced open and my organs pulled from it Braveheart style. And yet, to preserve his sexual attraction to me, sometimes I spare him the gory details about being a woman. While my friends and I can have hours-long conversations about the bizarre things that happen to your body during pregnancy or provide intimate details about our flow, my husband usually asks to tag out when I throw out the word “clot.” Really, it’s just not fun talking about the crimson tide with him.
3. Crushes—I have a thing for Channing Tatum. I can’t really explain why—I’m usually drawn to intellectuals—but then again, I don’t think I have to. When my husband discovered that the Magic Mike star made me all twitterpated, I could tell he was a little jealous, which is both endearing and annoying. And now whenever Channing Tatum comes on TV, he enjoys teasing my mercilessly about it. When I talk about it with my friends, well, they all agree. I’m just saying it’s more fun to discuss your “freebie list” with your friends than your husband.
4. Motherhood—Parenting has brought me and my husband closer together than I could ever imagine, but there are unique elements of motherhood that I discuss with my friends and not him. For example, I fear that if I were to die young, he would not concentrate on things like brushing my daughters hair or talking to her about getting her period for the first time. When I say that to him, he rolls his eyes. Meanwhile, when I shared this fear with my girlfriends, they immediately responded, “Oh my gosh, me too.”
5. Problems I don’t want fixed—My husband is a fixer—literally, he works in construction—so whenever I go to him with a problem, who wants to offer me as many concrete solutions as possible. And I love him for that. But sometimes, I just want to complain. I want to vent. I want to get very loud and heated. And in those moments, I don’t want an action plan. Most women get this, which I-just-want-to-bitch conversations are sometimes best shared over a glass of wine with the gals.