How to Talk to Others When You’re Frustrated With Your Spouse

By Mike Bechtle
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© fizkes / Adobe Stock
There are two things to consider when talking to others about your spouse: who you talk to and how you talk to them.

He doesn’t wipe off the sink. She doesn’t show enough appreciation. Neither does what the other expects, and it’s frustrating. When you’re frustrated, talking to each other is hard. You want to find someone — anyone — who will talk you through your feelings.

Is that good or bad? It depends. Some people say you should never talk to others about your spouse. But if your spouse isn’t talking, your emotions get stuck inside where they ferment and fester. You don’t have a sounding board to gain perspective. 

It’s risky — but if you can find the right person, they can help you see if your perspective is accurate or not. They can fill in the blanks of your thinking and point out what you’re not seeing because you’re too involved. They can become a lens to help you get clarity.

When talking about your spouse to others, you should consider two things: who you talk to and how you talk to them.

Who should you talk to?

For the sake of your relationship, think about these choices:

  • Talk to one highly trusted person, not all of your friends. You’re not building a support base; you’re getting perspective.
  • Don’t talk to someone who is negative about marriage or who doesn’t like your spouse anyway.
  • Never talk to someone of the opposite sex.
  • Avoid talking to family members. They might be comfortable, but they’re too close to stay objective.
  • Find someone who is deeply committed to the health of your marriage, not just committed to you. 
  • Find someone who will tell you the truth and help you see where you could be at fault.

What should you talk about?

Every conversation should lead you to love your spouse better. Choose your words carefully, and follow these guidelines:

  • Never complain about your spouse; only focus on understanding the issue.
  • The goal is to eventually talk with your spouse, and a conversation with someone else should give you clarity so you can make that happen. If they solve your problem, you’ll feel better — but then you might not feel the need to address it with your spouse.
  • Don’t ask for advice, just perspective. Listen carefully, then use their ideas to help shape your thinking.
  • If they take sides with you or your spouse, end the conversation.
  • Ask your spouse’s permission to talk to someone. Assure them that you will never put them in a bad light or criticize them; you’re only asking someone that you and your spouse trust to help clarify your thinking.

When you’re sharing about your spouse, put all of your words through the filter of scripture: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

How will that verse change your words today — both the ones you say and the ones you listen to?

© 2020 Mike Bechtle. All rights reserved. Originally published on

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About the Author

Mike Bechtle

Dr. Mike Bechtle is a writer, public speaker and senior consultant for FranklinCovey. He has authored five books, including Dealing with the Elephant in the Room.

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