Conflict Management

Freedom from Humiliation

Rule#4: I love you too much to open you to public ridicule. We must keep our discussion “within limits”. There will always be people we can turn to for help. But, to speak out in public about personal conflicts or disagreements will open our most personal feelings and thoughts to everybody.


Public humiliation is a popular way to force people into doing (or not doing) something. We have not come very far from the middle ages when they put people on display when they failed or sinned. The early years of our country had people put into stocks in public places when they failed to pay a debt or some other offense.

Today our range of options is much wider

Today we can blog about them in public forums or publish their failings in yellow tabloids or entertainment shows, but the point and the purpose is still the same. These displays amuse the masses and embarrass the guilty. We hope the fear of exposure will keep everyone else behaving better.

But when we move the subject into marriage, things get much more challenging. Think about it for a moment. When was the last time you walked into a group of people and heard the conversation was about one of the spouses of the members of the group? Many people would answer that they run into that situation almost daily, even when the “subject of the discussion” is standing close by. I will not ask if you were the one doing the sharing of the obsession, failing or idiosyncrasy.

I have counseled many families that have damaged each other by taking unfair advantage of being in public when they opened the discussion about a painful topic in their marriage! The unspoken assumption seems to be that the subject is too painful to discuss in private so there is less immediate risk to discuss it where there might be public allies.  “Guess what my husband/wife did last night!” almost always causes damage that could take a long time to repair. It seems so simple that it is nearly trite:  Don’t embarrass your marriage partner.

Don’t use Facebook to get Marriage Counseling

The internet is a fine place to do research and gather information. I’m hopeful that you are finding useful information on our website. But, the information you share must be carefully guarded to protect all of those you love!  Once a post is made, it will forever be public. What you share in a moment of anger will still be there when everything has cooled down and healing has begun.

The same is true for public gatherings. Stories are sometimes told at office Christmas parties when inhibitions had been weakened, that are still being circulated long after the regrets have started. No apology can take away the stain that is left behind.

Be wise in your choices and do no harm to your marriage partner.

4-I Love You Enough to Protect You from PastorBobDouglas on Vimeo.

Next: Rule #5: I love you enough to set a time to talk.

Photo Credit: Tim Sepulveda licensed under Creative Commons.

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