One morning at my mom’s group, one wife shared a little story about something annoying her husband had done. Soon, other wives were sharing their stories about their annoying husbands. In a few minutes, our conversation had turned to husband-bashing. I sat with my teeth clenched together. I had a few stories I could add to the conversation, but I could also picture exactly how my husband would react if he could overhear what we were saying.
However, I didn’t know how to stop the negative chatter. Finally, one wife interrupted the conversation to say, “Okay, now tell me one good thing about your husbands.”
We refilled our coffee cups and took bites of our cookies. Then the talk turned to a place one of the moms had taken her kids last week. Somehow, after so many stories about what we didn’t like about our husbands, it was hard to think of something we did like about them.
“Destructive people produce conflict; gossips alienate close friends [or spouses].” ~Proverbs 16:28 CEB
Now, that was one morning out of many. I love my mom’s group and often we have encouraged each other to love our husbands better.
On another morning, one wife shared an argument she and her husband had had, and asked for our help. We flooded her with love and advice for connecting with her husband again, sharing our own good stories about ways we’d worked through similar situations with our husbands. I came away from that morning feeling more connected with my friends, knowing we all shared similar struggles in keeping our husbands happy, but also feeling more connected with my husband, knowing sometimes we might hurt each other but more often we are able to work through things together.
It all too easy, however, to complain and to focus on the negative parts of our marriage. It can happen in a conversation, in a joke that bashes men, or in a Facebook status update. After a disagreement with our man, we often want to dump the whole event on a girlfriend to get sympathy for ourselves and to prove he’s wrong. However, that hurts our husbands.
Early in our marriage, I was guilty of venting to friends. I could use the excuses that I was young and hurting, uncertain about why marriage wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, but it hurt my husband.
Now, I’ve made the commitment that I will not gossip about him.
“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossips, conflict calms down.” ~Proverbs 26:20 CEB
If you feel the urge to gossip about something your husband has done:
- Think about how he would feel if he knew what you were sharing.
- Think about something good he has done for you or something you respect about him.
- Think about why you want to share this story about him—are you seeking help in dealing with a conflict or argument, as my friend was, or are you simply trying to vent or justify your anger? (Come back tomorrow for some tips on seeking help for conflict-resolution with your husband.)
And if you find yourself caught in a gossip-fueled conversation as I did, consider sharing a good story about your husband or asking your friends for good stories about their husbands.
“In the same way, wives in the church should be dignified and not gossip. They should be sober and faithful in everything they do.” ~1 Timothy 3:11 CEB