This Is What Keeps a Marriage Strong
The Rule: We Keep Our Issues to Ourselves
Libby Kreusel, 28 \ Larry Kreusel, 29 \ San Antonio \ Married 5 years
Libby says: "Sometimes my girlfriends tell me things about their husbands and I know there's no way in a million years they'd say that if their husbands were in the room. When that happens, it plants a seed of doubt in me -- it makes me feel like maybe my friends' husbands aren't such good guys. Of course, every couple has their issues. But I never, ever want my friends or relatives to look at Larry and think, even for a second, that he's a bad husband. So I don't talk about our marital issues with other people, not even my closest friends. This rule forces us to always talk with each other so we can work on our issues together. I think we have more trust and intimacy in our relationship because I know Larry will always come to me when he has a problem with me, and vice versa."
Larry says: "Part of being married is protecting each other. If I air our dirty laundry to others, I'd be hurting Libby and undermining our marriage. I also feel like Libby and I have an easier time being open and honest with each other when we're upset because we don't have the option of venting to other people."
The therapist says: "Trashing your partner to friends not only changes your friends' perception of who your partner is, it can actually change your own perception of your partner's qualities," says Dr. Haltzman. "It can make you question the strength of the relationship and what attracted you to the person in the first place. It's much healthier to focus on the positives of your relationship when talking to other people."