ONE fun exercise I use in my marriage talks would be reverse gossip or, if you prefer, holy tsismis.
Sadly, there are many who talk about their spouses behind their backs. Yes, I mean in an unflattering way. Imagine a wife in a beauty parlor telling the manicurist, “Oh, my husband is such a bum.” Or a husband telling his drinking buddies “Oh, my wife is a terrible cook!”
Someone may object, “But that’s not slander because my husband is really a bum (or my wife is really a mess at the kitchen),” That is not the issue. By all means, address the issue. But while being at it, we should not be painting a negative picture of our spouses to people who are not part of the solution.
The ideal is to be proud of our spouses. And this takes a bit more effort. It takes no brains to spot what is wrong. It may take a lot more discernment to uncover what is right. Then, instead of gossiping about our spouse on where they fail, boast about what they did well.
The prompt for reverse gossip is “Can you believe...?” For example, a wife can brag to the manicurist, “Can you believe what my husband did last night? He brought out the trash! He has never done this before!!!!!” Or, the husband can tell his buddies, “Can you believe what my wife did? Last night, she whipped up a fantastic dish of tinola.”
Wait. It gets better. Now do the reverse gossip with the spouse around. Let’s say Jim and Carol are wedding guests and seated with other couples. Carol pretends Jim is absent from the table. She looks at the other couples and boasts something wonderful about Jim.
It is not only indirect praise which honors Jim, it also projects an attractive view of your marriage. I bet when the other couples get back to their cars, they would be remarking, “That was so sweet of Carol to say that about Jim. She really loves her husband”.
And who knows, the other couples would tell each other, “How come you don’t do that to me?” But that’s another story.
Negative gossip, even if true, brings toxicity to a marriage. Sometimes it kills in one lethal shot. Many times it seeps poison in subtle doses. Reverse gossip, where one spouse publicly commends the other, revives a marriage. It keeps the fire burning.
By the way, you wouldn’t believe what my wife Lucy did yesterday…
For this Love Month, check out my relationship books Finding Comfort, How to Mend a Broken Heart, and The Honeymoon Never Ends, available in major bookstores nationwide. For more insights, check out my FB Author’s Page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/nelsondybooks/notes/