Who knows you better than your spouse? Probably no one. We share (nearly) everything with our partners – our hopes and dreams, our fears and failures, and the most intimate details of our lives. This is what trust is based on.
And in this age of sharing, when nearly every facet of our lives feels open for public display, it can be difficult to remember that there are boundaries regarding what we disclose to others about those closest to us. One seemingly innocuous comment said to the wrong person can suddenly spiral out of control, cascading into a torrent of trouble for you and your spouse, or both.
So what types of things should inherently be off limits? There are several. And it may depend on the type of job or social standing that you and your spouse have.
1. Intimacy Should Be Sacrosanct
Whatever happens behind the closed doors of your bedroom – or any other room in your house – should remain between you and your spouse. Some things in our lives need to be off limits to the prying ears of others and that is one of them. As adults, we are beyond the bragging stage of immature youth and there is no good reason for anyone to hear the private details of your romantic life with your partner.
2. Politics Should Be Off-Limits
We live in a highly polarized society and our personal beliefs on a myriad of social and political issues can lead to arguments, hard feelings, and distrust. It is sad that this is how we live in the 21st century, but it’s the truth. Take for instance if your spouse is a teacher and you share with a friend how your wife feels about a particular hot button issue. If that information gets shared and parents of her students learn about it and hold a differing viewpoint, that could cause bad feelings with some parents.
3. Each of Us is a Tapestry of Experiences and Some of Those Experiences May Have Left Deep and Lasting Scars
Maybe you or your spouse was the victim of a crime or of abuse. Maybe you or your spouse lost a loved one or close friend and are still struggling with it. That information is private and should be entombed within the bounds of your relationship. If your partner is open about these struggles or experiences, then that may change the dynamic, but always ask your spouse before disclosing those details.
4. The Fears and Failures That We Have Encountered in Our Lives Often Leave a Deep Imprint on Who We Are and What We Become
Overcoming those fears and failures is often empowering, but for some, they remain overwhelming and evidence of struggles in our lives. It can be challenging to face them personally and nearly impossible to discuss with others. If that is the case for your partner, then those moments should be, to borrow a phrase from Seinfeld, "in the vault."
5. You Possess Intimate Knowledge of the Your Partners’ Darkest Moments
Have they struggled with addiction or emotional or psychological problems? Have they been convicted of crimes or seriously hurt someone? These are serious, life-changing events that are not for the public domain.
Also, we each have trigger moments that we know are painful or touchy for our spouse. They have made a deliberate choice to let us in on these experiences and it might have taken a great deal of courage to do so. There’s no reason to discuss those private moments with anyone but our partner, unless they are open and outspoken about them.