Monday, April 4, 2011

A Doll's House

Last week I was assigned to read Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House in my Humanities class and to write a paper about it and my reaction to it. The play tells the story of a young wife and mother, Nora, who has fraudulently taken out a loan which saved her husband's life. This comes back to haunt her when her creditor threatens to blackmail her. The problem is that her husband does not know about the loan. The play ends with Nora abandoning her husband and children because she feels that she does not really know her spouse. I argue that this occurs because Nora was dishonest with her husband, and in addition to this, confided in other people about her problems. Here is the final paragraph from my paper:
I feel it is extremely important for spouses to be honest with each other and disclose with each other just about everything. Something my husband and I agreed upon around the time we got married was that we would not discuss the details of our relationship outside the relationship. Every couple has their occasional disagreements, and usually those disagreements are minor and are forgotten shortly thereafter. If those disagreements are shared and gossiped about with friends and family, then the little rifts are not so soon forgotten, and they usually make a negative impression on the hearer. Listening to many of those complaints eventually damages the confidante’s perception of the person’s spouse. Although this is not quite the situation illustrated in A Doll’s House, Nora does confide in Christina things that should have at the very least been shared with her husband first. When private things are broadcast like this, the emotional intimacy and trust that should exist between husband and wife are extended too far, weakening the connection between the spouses. One place where I see this occur too frequently is on Facebook. After witnessing friends struggle very publicly in their marriages, I decided that my infrequent posts on that site would of necessity only be positive ones. Reading post after post about the most recent spats made me wonder how many of those arguments would have never happened had these couples kept their problems between just themselves. By not sharing with anyone the rough places in my own marriage, I feel that I am safeguarding it against other people’s negative perceptions and against my own tendency to over-analyze and criticize. It is also a profound comfort to know that even though my husband is well aware of my faults, he does not relay every imperfection to people who do not know me as well as he does.
If this is something you struggle with in your own marriage, my advice would be to put an end to it immediately. Doing so might mean ending friendships with people who encourage you to spill your secrets. However, losing those friends is worth it if by doing so, you can restore emotional intimacy and improve your opinion of your husband. 


  1. Excellent post! Personal disagrements need to be kept personal rather than enlarged by sharing with others, especially petty ones. I never understood people that went to their parents can you grow if you can't work out your differences with your spouse? It's you and them fixing things not you and someone else. A few years ago there was an excellent Ensign article about always talking positively about your spouse in front of others which was excellent. I do thing there may be times when it may good to discuss your problems with others but of course only after discussing with your spouse and when those you are talking with love both of you and want to build rather than tear down the relationship! We grow a lot by learning from others, but not gossiping or tearing down...I suppose that applies to children too :) eliz