Discomfort rippled through my body as the woman in front of me poked fun at her “idiot” husband. I could sense his embarrassment, which only increased my uneasiness. I didn’t even know this couple well, and yet I was made privy to some intimate workings of their relationship. From the outside looking in, it wasn’t a pretty picture.
Let’s face it, every relationship endures bumps along the way and we all have our own annoyances, but in certain circles, “husband bashing” is unfortunately all too common and accepted. Women are all too eager to talk about their husbands’ latest transgression or annoying habit. But when did it become suitable to air our dirty laundry to anyone and everyone?
The situation made me reflect on how I treat my own husband, and especially how I talk about him in public. I know both Adam and I make a conscious effort to be constructive and praising of each other in front of others. After all, in our wedding vows I made a promise to love and honor Adam till the day I die. If I were to bash or complain about him in public, it would be more of a reflection of my own character than on the type of person he is. Complaining about him would do nothing to honor Adam. Instead, it would allow discord to grow in our marriage, undermining my ability to love and forgive him, ultimately planting a seed of resentment in our relationship.
Thankfully, I never feel more proud of my husband than when I’m standing by his side, so it’s pretty easy for my words to reflect that. Still, I’ve had a couple of slip-ups and said something to others that has hurt Adam deeply. Things like when my flirtatious tease was much more “teasing” than flirtatious. Seeing him wounded by me, his wife, the person who is supposed to love him best, only creates a deeper wound in me. On the contrary, when I support him and heap praise on him in front of others, I see his confidence in himself and in my love for him grow.
But what about when he’s not by my side? Is it okay then?
I usually ask myself if what I’m about to say is something I’d feel comfortable saying in front of Adam. If it isn’t, I keep my mouth shut. Bottom line: Nothing good comes from venting about a significant other in public. Ever.
Now, I still think it’s a good idea to get outside advice regarding frustrations or arguments when necessary. During our pre-marital counseling, it was recommended to us that we each have one or two friends we could vent to whenever we had an issue that couldn’t be resolved. But, the people I vented to had to love Adam as well and would feel comfortable taking Adam’s side in the event that I was in the wrong (which has happened). These are people who know the depth of my love for Adam and want to see our marriage succeed.
Our “no-bashing” policy has been a blessing to our marriage, fostering a deeper love and respect of each other and a stronger witness to our wedding vows.
What about you? Have you ever been on the giving or receiving end of negative criticism in public from your significant other?