Between social media, your in-laws, and coworkers there are enough opinions to last a lifetime. When it comes to your marriage, why would that be any exception? As we enter the holiday season, many struggling couples may begin to receive “feedback” about their relationship.

When your marriage is strained, adding the pressure of social events and gifts doesn’t ease any tensions. When you are stressed others can feel it. When you are tense and show up to party, people will notice and if they’re close to you, they may say something. Discussing typical issues or frustrations is common. There’s nothing wrong with talking about common issues any marriage or family faces with close friends and family.

What you don’t want to discuss is intimate details about your marriage or spouse without everyone in the household being on the same page. While asking for help or tips is healthy for most friendships or families, laying everything out there about your marriage is not. Many times family members want to solve or “fix your marriage.” Their intentions might be noble, but this can harm or deprive a couple of navigating their own relationship.

To use a childhood term, you are breaking the circle of trust. You and your spouse need to work with one another. A family member or friend can be partial to one side, which might widen the issues in the marriage. One benefit of seeing a counselor is they are unbiased. They can serve as that referee for each individual in the couple. This makes it an even playing field to work through and discuss common issues and problems.

When it comes to your marriage, make it your own. You should own the conversations about it and who gets to have a say in it. When your cousin comes asking about how you two are doing because “you seem tense,” you should not greet her with gossip. Instead set your boundaries, stand by them, and know what you are going to discuss. Want to keep it completely drama free? Talk about the kids’ school activities, an upcoming trip, or how great your aunt’s cooking is this year. Remember you are in control and can represent your marriage however you like.

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