There’s no doubt that the best marriages are based on honesty and mutual trust. But that doesn’t mean you and your husband have to share ever detail or your lives prior to meeting each other, or that you have to say exactly what’s on your mind at all times. Here are our top 5 things not to discuss with your husband.
1. Your “number.” I have a friend whose new boyfriend—he eventually became her husband—wanted to know every detail of everything she’d ever done with every guy she’d ever done it with. Once I got past my indignation that he would grill her like that, I was relieved that my husband has never asked the same of me. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’d rather not know. Did I mention that my husband is a pretty smart guy?
Your husband does not need to know your number—that mental list we all keep of how many guys we’ve shagged. If your number is more than you can count on one hand, skip it. If he presses you for details, just be vague, and keep him guessing. More than a soccer team, fewer than the U.N. General Assembly.
2. Penis size. If your fella’s other fella is slightly lacking in length or girth, he probably already knows it and is self-conscious about it. Don’t make him feel worse by confirming his worst fears. You love him; presumably you took him for a test drive before you got married, and you married him anyway. So something works for the two of you, even if he doesn’t have a porn star penis. If he’s small, tell him he’s average, and if he’s average, tell him he’s big. Everybody’s happy. End of story.
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3. His mother. For a Latino man especially, the mami holds near saint-like status in his heart, even if she’s the devil in disguise. Don’t even bother trying to knock your suegra off her pedestal. If she’s truly horrible, he needs to see this on his own, and make the choice to take your side. If she’s just a little difficult, kill her with kindness and try to find a way to get along. And if you do complain to him about little things she does that drive you nuts, preface the complaint with, You know I love your mother, but…and tread lightly all the same.
There’s no point trying to come between a man and his mother. Doing so will make him defend her, and he’ll feel like he has to choose between his wife and his mami. Just grit your teeth, and remember: you’ll outlast her.
4. His bratty kids. If your husband has children with a former spouse or partner, these kids are a part of your life—for better or worse. Just like his mother, these kids are his flesh and blood, so his instinct will be to defend them when you criticize them. And while you can’t let your step-kids run roughshod over you, you also don’t want to sink to their level by ‘tattling’ to your husband every time they talk back to you or refuse to make their beds.
If conflicts arise, sit down with your husband and calmly discuss house rules and expectations, as well as mutual respect and courtesy. Or better still, have his children present for the discussion, so that everyone is on the same page. Remember: they’ll outlast you. These kids are going to be around for the rest of your life, and then some. Even if they never accept you as “Mom,” you can still develop a healthy, loving relationship. Or, at least a relationship where they’re not trying to smother you with a pillow while you sleep.
5. His lack of ambition. If you married a perfectly content worker bee who has no ambitions towards job promotion and upward mobility, you can’t be angry at him for not living up to your expectations. He is, after all, presumably the same man you married. Remember how romantic you thought it was that he’d rather play 12-string guitar in his shabby studio apartment than sell out to Wall Street? He’s still that guy. Did you really think he was going to change after you got hitched?
It’s perfectly fine to help your husband pursue his hopes and dreams and encourage him to go for that big promotion. It’s even okay to push him a little bit, and make him more aware and confident of his own abilities. But just be sure you’re pushing him towards what he wants, and not towards what you want him to be. He’ll sense your disappointment with him, and you’ll risk driving a huge wedge into your marriage. Instead to pushing him to apply for a job he doesn’t want, or to be more competitive at the office when it’s just not his nature to be, urge him to record a CD of his songs, or maybe to start a part-time business as a wedding singer.
You say he’s tone deaf and has zero talent? Well then, you’re on your own, sister!