Here is my rule, one that I very much believe in and do my best to live out and would recommend to anybody who is in a serious (and healthy) relationship:
Never speak badly about my husband.
When I made my vows, I promised to love Will, to seek goodness for him, to build him up and treat him with respect. I vowed to be his partner and his confidante, his faithful lover. I promised forgiveness and patience and gratitude. Complaining about him to my friends or my mom or to my co-workers… that is the very opposite of those things.
Yes, there are times when I feel tired, annoyed, or upset with Will. We fight (often). Sometimes, he makes me cry. Other times, his habits get on my nerves. We grate on each other, we annoy each other, we anger each other just like any other couple. But, instead of venting about those things, I choose to uphold my marriage vows. I cannot imagine how humiliated I would be if I overheard Will complaining about me to a friend…. and I would never want to place him in a similar situation. Instead, he deserves my honor and my respect. No matter how innocuous it may seem, I will not put him down in front of others. I will not place him in a position to be ridiculed. I will not lower somebody else’s (well-earned) opinion of him.
The two of us are tied together, with our lives and our beings and our desires intertwined… so much so that I cannot imagine pulling away from “us” to belittle him in front of others. If something needs to be said, it should be said between Will and I, not vented to a third party. If it cannot be resolved between just the two of us, it is time to go (together) to a mentor or to a counselor. Outside of those situations, venting is simply damaging. As I have said before, making our relationship public would not do anybody good. Instead, my mantra: silence and honor and respect. Our relationship, I believe, is well worth holding my tongue.
p.s. photo here.