Like Leroy Jethro Gibbs, I have rules. Rules that I believe make my world more peaceful, my relationships more fulfilling, my marriage stronger, and my day-to-day easier. My number one rule is that while my husband may have faults, the world should never learn about them from me.
I’m not even going to give you an example. Isn’t that how these “love your spouse” posts always start out? The blogger says, “Look, ladies, I know your husband is a pain! Mine is! He does THIS! Here’s how you love him anyway/change him/deal with it…” I’m not going to do that.
Maybe your husband does have serious issues, like the kind that he and/or you need to see a counselor to work out.
Maybe his flaws are minor, silly, inconsequential, but they drive.you.crazy. Folks, if these issues are little like that, my recommendation is to look into your own reaction to them. Is there something in your past or your personality that amplifies a little quirk into a major annoyance? Sometimes dissecting your own reaction to a behavior makes it easier to live with that behavior, or can help you address it with your spouse.
Either way, broadcasting your husband’s faults is rarely the best way to deal with them. And it is certainly not the best way to build a strong marriage.
I’m amazed at how many people are perfectly willing to demean their spouses. I’ve read blog posts by writers I respected talking about how their husbands are lazy, less-than-intelligent, clueless about parenting, etc. And blogs are very public! That’s to say nothing of the slightly (ONLY slightly) less-public trashing I see happening in “closed” mom groups on Facebook, or between a couple of friends. It makes me sad.
One of my responsibilities as a wife is to build up and encourage my husband. Before I get any “BUT BUT BUT”s flying my way, building me up is one of his jobs, too. That’s why we promised in our vows to honor and respect, comfort and encourage. I feel that if anyone read something I wrote, or heard something I said, and lost even the tiniest bit of respect for my husband, I would have failed to keep those vows.
Proverbs 17:9 states that “he who conceals a transgression seeks love; but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” From the context, I don’t believe this refers to concealing crime, but rather advises against gossip because of its ability to destroy relationships. Of all the relationships to risk destroying, is your marriage worth the vent?
Especially for those of us with blogs, we need to remember that we are in some ways public figures. Many of us have our real, full names associated with our own blogs or with blogs we contribute to, and mention our husbands by name. That means that when we demean them in print, it isn’t just in an anonymous kind of way, and it’s not just to a tiny audience. We never know when we may go viral, and many of us are constantly working toward that as a goal. What happens if our husbands’ bosses (or maybe worse –potential bosses) read things we’ve said that could call into question their qualifications or employability? What about their friends, or the wives of their friends? What if something I said hurt him socially? I’d hate to think that a small quirk that I couldn’t accept led me to gossip about my husband in a place where someone read it and decided that they no longer cared to be friends with him.
Mostly, I’d hate for someone to read something about him and decide that he’s a bad husband (he isn’t), that he doesn’t treat me the way I deserve to be treated (he’s better than anyone could deserve), and that I must be in an unhappy marriage (I most certainly am not!). Because when I read blog posts in which the bloggers bash their husbands, even if they attempt to bring it back around to choosing to love a flawed spouse or some such feel-good resolution, I feel sorry for them or I feel sorry for the husband. And that’s not a takeaway I ever want anyone to find in a conversation with me, whether it be in person or through my blog.
So, fellow bloggers, fellow wives… let’s think twice about the things that come out of our mouths or flow from our keyboards. As the Ephesians were admonished, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (4:29).