Is it a sin to talk about your spouse to your parents and close friends?

I have a question that I have been wondering. Is it sinful to talk about your spouse to your parents and/or close friends? For example, suppose you had a heated disagreement with your spouse where your spouse said some things that were hurtful to you, is it morally permissable to discuss the incident with another person like a parent, sibling, or close friend for the purpose of getting comforted and/or to ask advice? If so, where does one draw the line in what can be said?

Thanks for your help.


I think it’s perfectly fine… just so long as you talk to them with the intention of getting advice or of trying to “get it off your chest”, and not to belittle, gossip, or talk poorly about your spouse.

The only person you can talk to and be 100% sure you are not committing any sins would be a priest in the confessional! If you are not happy with the priest’s reply seek another one until you find a good priest!

Not only will he give you an advice but if there are any sins committed by you he will point them out! And because of your humility and sincerity God will comfort you himself with peace and enlighten you on the matter how to best deal with you situation!

When revealing the situation to others there might be danger of committing venial sins, now if you revel something grave about him it could lead to mortal sin!

Debora and Logic,

Thanks for the advice. I will admit that I felt uncomfortable in some of the things that I said about my spouse to my mother and best friend (separate conversations). I felt it was getting a little “poor me” focused and it evolved in making a little fun of my spouse. I have trouble with knowing what and what not to say and sometimes when I’m on the phone with my mother, the story just comes out . . . it’s so hard to keep it bottled up inside. Even when I pray to keep my mouth shut, it just comes rolling off my tongue in conversation. How can I get a grip here?

Btw, what would be “mortal” sins connected to this?

Also, I will go to confession tomorrow about this. Good advice.

Excellent advice. I would only add that long after you and your spouse have reconciled and you have forgiven him/her for saying hurtful things, your family and/or friends may harbor resentment towards your spouse for a longer time. Speaking to a priest would not create this situation.

Personally, I don’t think so, but that’s just my personal opinion. I see a “marriage” as kinda being self-contained, things about the relationship stay within it except perhaps, as people have said, maybe talking to a Priest.

But otherwise, to me, talking too openly to others breaks a bond of trust and confidence spouses share.

It depends though, obviously with anything approaching abuse, people need to seek help…

It would be sinful if it were any of the following:

2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

  • of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

- of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;

  • of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

Even when something is true we do not have carte blanche to tell it to other people.

And, moreover, it is very unwise to go running to friends or family (especially your parents) with your marital problems and “venting.” This will build a negative opinion of your spouse among your friends and family. People have long memories, even after you are over the argument they will remember what you said about him and think poorly of him for it.

I would NEVER bad mouth my husband to anyone in the name of “getting comfort.” No way, Jose.

Even if the priests advice was not as good as you expected confession is still valid. All thoughts, words, and deeds against Charity are grave sins!

In your case it is talking about you “spouse sins” (which is even graver) to other people and by this you can hurt his name and so to speak kill him! This is hard to correct later on! Your conscience is even reproaching you for having done this!

Since you didn’t posses complete knowledge (I guess) you actions do not have complete knowledge and you may be excused from mortal sin! Now, since after this warning you would commit same sins again you would not be excused and than these sins would be mortal sins! Anyway mention everything to priest to be sure!

There is always a “?” in these matters (mortal sin), committing the sins in passion, complete ignorance, strong temptation and stress also sometimes excuse from mortal sin!

Luke 12:48
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."


[How would you like it if he said those things about you?]

You should be resolving the problems with your husband, for he is the only person involved in the problem. We are told to go to our brother who has sinned against us, and take it up with him in private.

From my experience, “carrying tales” is always destructive to a marriage. One always has the tendency to paint one’s spouse as worse than he (or she) is, in order to gain sympathy from the listening friend or relative. You are gathering support for yourself and against him. This also puts the friend or relative in a difficult spot, because she has heard things about your husband that she should not hear, and may hold a grudge against him on your behalf. Even after you and your husband have solved whatever problem, that friend or relative has information about your husband and may bring it up again.

Getting out the long knives with a friend is wrong and can cause the marriage to be destroyed. If you and your friend or relative are always talking about the bad points of your husbands, that is gossip and directed against the person you took vows with!

You are violating the boundaries of your marriage.


NEVER talk about a family member to an outsider [unless [COLOR=“Red”]you witnessed the family member commit first degree murder or give secrets to the Soviets].

Here is from another thread on CAF. A mother talked about her son and look what happened. The New Testament cautions us about being busybodies.

A New Jersey man gets seven years for being a responsible gun owner!!!

Man you won’t believe this?

The Article:
A New Jersey man gets seven years for being a responsible gun owner.

Sue Aitken called the police because she was worried about her son, Brian. She now lives with the guilt of knowing that her phone call is the reason Brian spent his 27th birthday in a New Jersey prison last month. If the state gets its way, he will be there for the next seven years.
Read rest of article:…tkens-mistake/

I’d suggest Googling “sin of detraction”. Or, “sin of detraction catechism of the catholic”.

NOT ONLY violating the boundaries of the marriage, but also … if some outsider gets wind of it, they could call the police and social services and the parents could end up in jail and the kids in foster care. Horror stories abound.

I know of one case where the husband got five years in prison on a bogus statement by the wife, EVEN AFTER SHE CHANGED HER TESTIMONY.

And other cases in which outsiders questioned the mental stability of the husband AND the wife.

Social services is only too eager to take kids away from parents on the slightest pretext.

Fr. Corapi tells this humorous story about the lady in Reconciliation who confesses all of her husband’s sins.


It can actually be a good thing, becuase then you realize that some of the problems of your spouse are universal to all people.

Having said that, if your gossiping and being a jerk, then-duh-it’s clearly being wrong.

Other than that, use common sense.

I completely agree. The fact that the OP feels a little uncomfortable now indicates that her conscience is telling her she made a mistake. How to get a grip? When you find the conversation heading in that direction, change the subject!

Not sinful perhaps—just a bad, bad, baaaad idea. The friends/family members will never look at your spouse the same way again, and you’re really treading the line in violating a sacred trust.

See a counselor if you can’t talk to a priest.

I had no idea that what I am doing is a grave sin. Is this true? So, when a spouse is being verbally abused, that person cannot tell anyone except a priest. I have called my mother time after time in tears over many things that my spouse has said about me. This is a grave sin??? This just doesn’t make sense. I feel soooo alone. I need help and my mother has a similar situation with my dad. So, this is wrong for me to turn to her??? I just don’t understand. The friend I told also has a similar situation with her spouse and she offers me comfort. My spouse frequently criticizes me. I have trouble coping with it.

As the arguments occur, I discuss my feelings with my spouse and I try to forgive him for the things that he has said about me (and through an act of will I do - the feelings just stay for awile). He just has a volatile temper and will often fly off the handle throwing things, reprimanding me, and calling me names. No physical abuse - don’t worry.

The main reason that I feel uncomfortable about telling my mother and friend is primarily that I feel sorrow over the situation and hate that the situation is what it is. I am primarily seeking advice from the select few that I tell. How should I react??? I try to correct my spouse when he calls me names, and, for the time, he will apologize but the same critical remarks return in later arguments. I also try to avoid situations that will provoke his comments.

I will confess this to my priest but I had no idea that I was guilty of grave sin. I was thinking venial at most . . .

Other responders have given very good advice, particularly with the reminder that any detraction will be remembered for a long time, and could rebound on you.

I think there are cases where it is legitimate to seek outside counsel - specifically when the disagreement with your spouse is ongoing, and you sense that you are being pushed into something harmful for yourself or your family.

For instance, a husband may have a wife who over-spends on clothes, and she argues that she “needs” all of the latest expensive fashion, or else look stupid. He might need some independent advice. Or maybe the husband is spending too much time on a particular hobby, and neglecting the family - in this case, by discreetly sharing the problem, the wife may be able to ascertain whether her husband’s behaviour is “normal”. Does it really take 20 hours-per-week to maintain a home computer?

In these cases, I think the husband or wife might do well to seek indendent advice, discreetly. It is best to avoid family and close friends, and to keep the discussion focused on the particular issues of concern.

Much good stuff offered in response to your unhappiness.

The following is about counseling I recieved, from a priest, for help with a difficult person in my life. Vital for our living in peace with each other.
It is a bit long but I hope it helps you.

 The Priest said to me, “Are you willing to pray for this person”?  I said , “OH, yes’. 

He proceeded to tell me how to pray…First of all, everyday, pray for the person every
Day before you pray for anyone else, saying,”O God , I ask you to bless( Jack) and pour
Out your spirit upon him, make him as holy and as happy as possible even if that means
He is holier and happier than I am.”

The Priest said he always challenged people to pray in this way and to come back to him if the relationship had not been reconciled.
His experience had been that if the relationship had not improved and was still difficult
The person counseled had stopped praying.
He said, if you are willing to continue praying, then the situation will change.
You cannot invest priority prayer time day in and day out and not begin to experience change.
Either you change because of the incompatibility of your prayer and the way you feel,
Or the power of your prayer changes the relationship.
This can happen because you, the other person, or both of you have responded to the grace of change.

This kind of prayer had helped me so much over the years. I hope it will help you. God bless you!:)Carlan

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