Let’s talk about our husbands. But let’s be nice, ladies.
As women, it is a natural desire of our hearts to be understood and affirmed in our relationship struggles. Marriage is tough. We all have our struggles with issues large and small. My marriage surely does.
It’s not that we are supposed to keep our frustrations and hurts inside. It’s not that we’re supposed to act and look like we have the perfect marriage. It’s not that it’s never OK to ask for help or advice.
It’s that we’re called to live out our commitment to our marriage in a holy way. Having balance, humility, hope and charity in word and action is how we do that. Being honest with ourselves about the purity of our intentions in speaking of our husbands is how we do that.
I have heard the saying all of my life that, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Sometimes, saying nothing at all is the most loving and most mature thing you can do to work through a challenge in your relationship with your husband.
We have got to be bold in choosing to remember and speak of the goodness of marriage too. To speak well of our husbands even in conflict. To either have the patience, kindness, humility, charity, trust, hope, perseverance, and maturity to not say anything at all–or to force ourselves to see and speak of Christ in our husbands even when they fail.
St. Josemaria Escriva said that striving for holiness in our everyday lives means we must “rise above an atmosphere of trivialities.” In all honesty, many of the things we all sometimes get frustrated with in our marriages are the “small stuff.” When it comes down to it, what challenges in your marriage are trivial in the grand scheme of eternity, and which issues are the ones that really need your attention–and your prayer?
In my own life, one thing I have tried to do for a while now is to make it a point to find times to praise my husband in conversations with others. Not in a boastful or insincere way, but in an honest, positive, appropriate-in-the-conversation way. If I have truly sought solid advice about an issue I was having in my marriage, I have tried to make sure to do it in a way that was balanced, positive, humble and as charitable as possible. Not to mention I carefully choose an appropriate person to go to for advice, whether it’s a close friend or even a spiritual director.
I have not been perfect at this.
It is good to remember though, as St. Josemaria said, “the saints aren’t the ones who are perfect; they are the ones who keep trying.”
Thank you for this post. It is so encouraging to hear words of charity rather than words of ridicule, especially for our husbands.
Kate Dawson says
I commented in my own post!
Lovely post! One of the things that I learned early on in life was that it was funny, fun, acceptable, and encouraged by the world to bash males of all ages. It was something that I had been habituated to and didn't see the offense. Once I became a committed Christian and a wife, I quickly learned that my verbal habits did not match my heart and were harmful to others, particularly my husband. I hold my tongue now even when it wants to run in the old way. I also keep complaints or negative speech about my husband off the internet/blog.
One of the worst affects of talking negatively about our spouses is that it keeps us from talking to each other. Our energies are focused outside. Disagreements are unpleasant growing pains… but making up is lovely. 🙂
Ed Emig says
Is it OK for a husband to comment?
One of the things that has helped us over the past 35 (soon to be 36) years of marriage is that I know that no matter how many differences of opinion we may have, or how many things we need to work out between ourselves, MJ always has my back in public, and I try to have hers as well.
That way when we need to discuss something between ourselves, we're free to be open and even rancorous if necessary, knowing that we don't have to worry about our words coming back to us from strange sources.
I may know she's not perfect. Lord knows she knows that I'm not. But that's as far as it needs to go. We're free to love each other and to work to perfect each other in the most humble and blessed ways.
Thank you very much for your ongoing witness to the beauty and joy of married life.