Taboo Topics in Marriage
For a recent broadcast on our radio show, The Connected Life, we asked if there are topics in marriage that are off limits or that are taboo. We went to our Facebook page and asked our listeners to tell us what they think. Their responses are listed below:
- I don’t think so. Do you?
- Child raising methods, Religion, politics, sex and finances?
- We talk about everything. We may not like what we have to say, but 30 years later I guess it works.
- Your spouses body… “you should work out or not eat that kinda way.”
- Past relationships.
- Easy, anything that she finds boring or offensive to. So in reality it’s trial and error.
- Everything should be talked about openly.
- No comparing present relationship to old ones, good or bad.
As you can see there is a wide range of responses. All the way from those who say no topics are off limits to those who appear to make the case that a married couple can only talk about the weather or sports.
In The Connected Life radio show to be aired this March 7 at 3:00 pm on 1010 AM Family Values Radio I, along with my wife and co-host, shared our thoughts on taboo topics in marriage. The conclusion we came to was that one of the signs of a healthy and emotionally connected relationship is that the couple can openly talk about anything.
There are three keys to be aware of when it comes to taboo topics in marriage. First, if there is a topic that is interfering with the emotional connection in your marriage it must be discussed. If a couple does not talk about the issue(s) they run the risk of having that issue(s) be the demise of the relationship. Couples often do not engage in taboo or difficult topics out of fear. It could be fear of the other’s response or fear of an argument.
The second key is that a safe and secure connection equals being able to discuss taboo topics. In other words, the stronger the couple’s bond the more they can tolerate discussing difficult topics because they know there is nothing that can separate them. It is about giving and receiving the message your spouse is sending as coming from a place of care versus criticism.
The third key is understanding that there is opportunity in being able to discuss taboo topics. The opportunity is to learn more about your spouse and to come to a greater sense of understanding. Of course, there is also the potential for discord as a result of venturing into a touchy subject which is really speaks to the fear most couples have. However, when a couple is secure they have more confidence and can tolerate short periods of distress because they know it will ultimately result in a greater connection.
Guidelines to Follow
When venturing into taboo topics there are definite guidelines to follow. First, as Ephesians 4:15 says, “Speak the truth in love.” Truth must be balanced with grace and vice versa. Truth without grace is judgment. Grace without truth is license. When you are secure in your spouse’s love for you you can speak the truth without fear. They can hear it as ultimately coming from a place of care and be more receptive. To quote William Carlos Williams, ““It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it; there lies the secret of the ages.”
Scripture offers other very helpful thoughts on how to approach each other which includes talking with our spouse. Here are some verses you may find helpful:
Ephesians 4:29 “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.”
Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
Ephesians 4:26-27 which reads, “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give the devil a foothold.”
Ecclesiastes 3:7 “A time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;…”
Couples do not get to choose whether or not they have taboo topics. It simply comes with the territory of being married. However, every couple gets to choose how they deal with those topics. There may be a time or a season when it is not right to bring up the issue. You have to use discretion and wisdom as to when to bring it up. You also have to find the balance between grace and truth and speak the truth in love and care. This can certainly be difficult to do when one is passionate. Just keep in mind that the passion is a sign that the marriage matters! As scary as it can be there is opportunity for a deeper connection by facing your taboo topic.
Finally, check in in a few weeks and the radio broadcast talking about this issue will be posted right here. Bye for now!
Taboo Topics in Marriage: Aired March 14th, 2015 on The Connected Life Radio.