SEFER CHOFETZ CHAIM
Between Husband and Wife
We have already seen that there are no grounds for sharing gossip with one’s spouse. To view withholding loshon hora from one’s spouse as a breach of harmony and trust is mistaken. (A husband and wife who seek to have the Divine Presence dwell in their midst should build their home on the foundations of halacha and avoid conversations which promote strife and dissension among Jews.) Moreover, sharing negativity (e.g. information, feelings, etc.) does not help create a healthy, positive relationship.
Nevertheless, when a husband or wife is in need of emotional support in dealing with difficulty, it is only natural to look to one’s spouse for assistance. Speaking or listening under such circumstances is constructive and is clearly permissible.
When possible, one should attempt to help one’s spouse understand the situation in a way that would relieve his or her anger or frustration.
If one finds that his or her spouse is forever in need of “letting off steam,” it is important to try to bring about a general change of attitude through discussion, reading or audio material, or suggesting a meeting with a rabbi or other qualified individual.
A word of caution: While one must be prepared to hear out a spouse and offer emotional support when necessary, one must be ever vigilant not to be drawn into a conversation of loshon hora for no constructive purpose. It is often the case that couples fail to draw this distinction, and consequently totally ignore the laws of shmiras halashon when conversing.
SEFER SHMIRAS HALOSHON
The Way of a Jew
Tanna D’Vei Eliyahu Rabbah (ch. 28) states:
The Holy One, Blessed is He, said to Israel: My beloved children! Is there anything I lack that I should have to ask of you? All I ask of you is that you love one another, that you honor one another, that you respect one another. In this way, no sin, robbery, or base deed will be found among you, so that you will remain undefiled forever. Thus it is written, “He has told you, O man, what is good, and what Hashem seeks of you — only the doing of justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with Hashem, your God” (Michah 6:8).
If it happens that one’s fellow acted improperly towards him, one must not take revenge or bear a grudge. Rather, one must erase the matter from his heart, and seek to do good in every way with that person, just as he would with any other Jew, as if nothing negative had ever come between them. This is what the Torah requires of us, as it is written, “You shall not take revenge and you shall not bear a grudge against the members of your people; you shall love your fellow as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18).
Zohar states (Parashas Mikeitz p. 201b):
Note the following: Not only did Yosef not repay his brothers in kind [for their having sold him], but he acted toward them with kindness and truth. Such is always the way of the righteous. Therefore, the Holy One, Blessed is He, forever watches over them, in this world and in the next.