For some reason, when it comes to talking about my marriage, my instinct is to downplay how good it is. I talk about how hard it is, how often we fight, how often my partner is annoyed at things that I do, or how often my partner is annoying. I'm not sure why this is - whether it is too many years of bad TV shows with idiot husbands and their wives making fun of them; too many people in my life who talk smack about their own marriages; or maybe I'm just a negative person. Because I know that it isn't because I have a bad marriage, because I don't. But it has not escaped me that when I talk to other people, I sometimes put the emphasis on the bad parts.
With some people, it's a way of commiserating. I know their relationships are difficult, and I don't want to rub in how good mine is. With some people, particularly people who are older, divorced, or getting divorced, it's a way of trying to show that I'm not young, stupid, or delusional about my marriage. With some people, it's a way of letting them know that I am secure in my relationship - that we fight, but it's our way of asking for what we need from each other. But with some people, it's just me whining or trying to be funny, because through years of social conditioning, I've learned that it's funny to complain about your partner's flaws.
I know two things though: my partner doesn't talk about me or our marriage like I do, and I need to be more positive. So how do I approach being more positive, without making myself seems silly? How do I turn off complaining about my partner when sometimes I need to vent? How do I talk about the difficult parts of my relationship without airing our dirty laundry all over town?
What do you do when you talk about your partner? Are you able to stop yourself from complaining or being negative? Do you have one or two specific people you do all your complaining to?