You’ve seen it and I’ve seen it.
If you are involved in ANY type of social network, you’re going to have it flashed in front of you. Some of you deal with it in work. Others deal with it in the neighborhood. I see it in church a lot.
I’ve been familiar with the idiom for years. I’ve heard my parents use it as well as friends and co-workers.
Someone is “airing their dirty laundry.”
The phrase simply means you are talking about things (usually a problem or dispute) that should be kept private. It stems from the idea from the fact that your dirty laundry (an analogy for dirty secrets) should be kept out of sight when people are visiting, otherwise it could be embarrassing for you or them. It can also be phrased “Don’t air you dirty laundry in public”. But these days, there seems to be little to no boundaries when it comes to what SHOULD be private and not public.
I believe social networking is a tremendous gift. It’s given us the power of connecting with the people around us as well as reconnecting with friends and family once separated by geography. You feel a part of your friend’s life even though he/she lives across the country. It’s also empowered so many introverts with a voice of expression (both good and bad). For those of us who grew up struggling with shyness and insecurity, social network has helped us break out of our shell. My own personal social network posting philosophy is fun, inspiration, and connection (friends, sports, hobbies, etc).
People post anything…and I mean anything.
Selfies. Pictures of their food. Ridiculous moments of their day (I’m guilty). What their child said/did that was so cute. Random thoughts. Inspirational quotes. Memes of kittens with a random scripture overlaid.
It seem like there’s no end to what we can come up with to post.
Then it comes up.
“My husband/wife said something that hurt me…”
“My husband/wife is a…”
“My husband/wife expects…”
“I don’t care what anyone thinks, but my spouse…”
“What is my spouse thinking…”
“I can believe he/she is acting like…”
“People, you know who you are, need to…”
“My in-laws are…”
As much as people can complain about what to post (quotes, kittens, food, etc.), this is one post that has to go away. There is no place for this. You may have the right to do it…but it doesn’t make it right. Please take your dirty laundry off the line and take it back into the house.
Why? Because it’s telling the all of us one of several things (in reality, it could be more than one):
- Your hurting.
That’s a given. I will not be sarcastic about your hurt. I will not mock it. You’re living in fracture and you need the same healing that I received through Christ. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
- You don’t have a clue about how to handle conflict with your spouse.
Again, I’m not mocking you, but you need help. It’s okay to admit you need help. But seek it without dropping your laundry on the social network world. Unless all of your “friends/followers” are solid Christian counselors, keep it out of your feed. Proverbs 12:15 “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” Go to prayer. Get help as a couple. Become a student of marriage and work on your conflict resolution. I promise. It will bless you and your spouse.
- You enjoy drama and you, apparently, don’t want the soap opera that you are living in to end.
Admit it. There are drama kings/queens all around us. If you are one of them…STOP IT! (I’ll admit, sometimes I think I’m one of them. That’s where Anne calls me out.) Misery loves company (another idiom I should blog on) and if you are miserable, you want people to be sucked into it. Why? It’s giving you attention. You are the focus and the longer the facebook thread is, the more fulfilled you feel. Proverbs 27:2 “Don’t call attention to yourself; let others do that for you.”
- You’re selfish enough to rally everyone to your side and away from your spouse.
You know there are people on social network that are foolish enough to take your side having only heard your side of the story and not your spouses’. Hurt people do hurtful things like manipulate situations to help themselves. Galatians 5:16 “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.”
- You’re vicious.
Your rants are a warning to people of their future if they cross you. It’s burning bridges that you, in your hurting state, can’t afford to lose. Listen to the words of the Psalmist, “God, get me out of here, away from this evil; protect me from these vicious people. All they do is think up new ways to be bad; they spend their days plotting war games. They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt, speak venomous words that maim and kill.” Psalms 140:1-2.
If your on the reading end of social network, the “dirty laundry” being aired out is nothing more than a black widow’s web designed to ensnare you and poison you. Reach out to the hurting individual privately.
Let me say that again: Reach out to the hurting individual privately. Don’t engage in business that isn’t yours. But there are ways to reach out to speak healing without becoming a part of the problem.
If you’re the one hanging the “dirty laundry”, it’s time to step back and get some help. It’s time to engage with your spouse in a way that fosters healthy communication skills. Proverbs 10:19 says “The wise measure their words.” Your words need to be used in the right timing, in the right atmosphere, with the right tones. It won’t turn around overnight. But intentional acts/words of health breed marriages, that themselves, move toward health.
Your dirty laundry wasn’t meant for others. It’s for you and your spouse.
Thanks for letting me ramble…