Talking Bad About Your Spouse
“I have four kids. Three, if you don’t count my husband.” If we had a nickel for every time we heard that joke… we’d have WAY too many nickels. That’s why today we’re addressing the common issue of talking bad about your spouse to family. Are you husband bashing without realizing it? It’s an easy trap to fall into and today we’re sharing really good reasons why you need to stop! In short, talking negatively about your spouse harms your relationship whether you realize it or not.
Bashing Men and Why It Needs to Stop
I’m gonna take a wild guess that most of us like our husbands. I’d even venture to say that we love them. I mean, it’s the whole reason we decided to marry them! But for some reason, it’s becoming more and more common and normal for wives to bad mouth and bash their husbands. And here’s the thing – I don’t think most women even realize that they are doing it! I think often wives are just trying to be funny and think they’re making a harmless joke. But the truth is, the effects go much deeper than you may realize.
Now, before I give you some examples that have been floating all over social media, here’s a question to consider as you’re looking through them: if the roles were reversed and your husband was saying the same thing about YOU, how would you feel? Memes that seem harmless, can actually be hurtful. This meme, for example, is a way of talking negatively about your spouse. So, if you think something like this, or talking negatively about your spouse like this, is funny and worth sharing, keep reading! Don’t do it! Don’t talk bad about your spouse!
These men and husband bashing jokes and memes are ALL over the internet. The underlining message is that men are stupid, husbands are useless, and dads are inept. These jokes are intended to be funny, but the honest truth is, if a man posted something like this about wives, it would never go over the same way. It would be considered offensive, hurtful, sexist, and just plain wrong.
Don’t Talk Bad about Your Spouse or Other Men
This men bashing and culture of talking bad about your spouse isn’t just limited to the internet either! All you have to do is flip on the T.V. to see what I mean. In popular sitcoms, movies, and even T.V. commercials, husbands are largely portrayed as incompetent, ignorant, and uninterested in their family. Do you remember when the Cheerios commercial went viral? It was a great commercial that went viral solely because it did NOT portray dads in a negative light. It’s kind of a sad commentary on our culture when a positive representation of men and dads is such a novelty, don’t you think?
I remember watching Mary Poppins as a little girl and laughing at the line in the Sister Suffragette song, “Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stuuupid!” My brother was offended by the line and I thought it was hilarious. But then my mom did something that stuck with me. She paused the movie and taught me something important. She explained history and the women’s rights movement but said it was important to remember that “you don’t need to push others down to lift yourself up.” Equality is a good thing. But you don’t get equality for women by pushing men down. So let go over really good reasons to stop talking bad about your spouse to family and others.
Talking negatively about your spouse will never lead to a positive life.
Husband-bashing affects YOU! Even if you put your husband’s feelings aside, the truth is that husband bashing is hurting you! You know what they say, “You find what you look for!” If you’re always looking for the negative, you will find the negative! If you’re looking for the positive, you will find the positive! And a negative mind will never give you a positive life.
So to put it quite simply, talking bad about your spouse to family or friends doesn’t cause any good. If there is something about your husband that is bothering you, putting him down will not fix it. It will not make you happier. In fact, it will only make the problem worse. If you want a happy life, (and who doesn’t?)… quit the criticism! Don’t talk bad about your spouse! This is not to excuse bad choices our husbands may make, but that does not give us the license to make bad ones, as well.
Don’t bash, be a guardian of your husband’s self-esteem.
Husband-bashing affects what your husband thinks about himself! I think it goes without saying that husband bashing hurts your husband, but have you ever really thought about it? I remember my aunt telling me once, “One of your most important roles as a wife is to be the guardian of your husband’s self-esteem. And vice versa.” I love that! If you are serious about protecting and building your spouse’s self-esteem, you would never belittle, demean, or mock him. You would never use his weaknesses as amusing anecdotes or treat him like “one of the kids.”
Treat your husband with the same respect you expect from him. So if you want to be treated like a queen, treat him like a king! Don’t nag him, insult him, or poke fun of him in public. Certainly, don’t talk bad about your spouse in any setting. Too often we treat the person that we are closest to with the least common courtesy. Your marriage should be the one place in the world where you feel the safest. This quote from Jeffrey R. Holland puts it nicely, “Life is tough enough without the person who is supposed to love you leading the assault on your self-esteem, your sense of dignity, your confidence, and your joy. In this person’s care, you deserve to feel physically safe and emotionally secure.”
Think back to when you first started dating and ask yourself, “Would I have said or done this at the beginning of our relationship?”
You cannot have unity in marriage without respect.
Talking bad about your spouse to family or to others affects your marriage. Husband bashing also prevents you from working together as a team in your marriage. By putting him down, you’re creating an uneven playing field. It’s important to remember that you’re on the same team, you either win together or lose together. You would never tackle your own teammate, yet we often feel free to verbally “takedown” our husbands.
By focusing on his shortcomings, we create a divide between us. Instead, we can be building, encouraging, and cheering each other on. We can be each other’s biggest fans. We need to be willing to overlook weaknesses to recognize and acknowledge each other’s strengths. And one of the best parts of marriage is knowing your spouse has seen you at your worst and still loves you the best. Here’s a tip for you. Whenever I start thinking that my husband isn’t doing “xyz” but I am, I remind myself that “well, it’s because he’s doing abc.” For each complaint we have of our husbands, one can be made against us. No one is perfect. This quaker proverb says it perfectly, “Thee lift me and I lift thee and we’ll ascend together!”
Talking bad about your spouse to family and friends is contagious.
Husband-bashing affects your friends and family. The effects of husband bashing aren’t limited to you and your husband. If you’ve ever hung out with a group of women you probably already know that it can easily spread! All it takes is for one woman to start complaining about her husband and suddenly the door swings wide open for others to join in on the bad-mouthing. What starts as a fun girls’ night can quickly turn into a girlfriend gripe fest.
Almost every time that I’m at the salon getting my hair done, I end up listening to women share the details of their husband’s latest annoying habit or personal failure. And here’s the thing – it doesn’t help anything. So often we women say that we “just need to vent!” It might start out with a wife feeling a little annoyed with her husband, but after getting validation from the roomful of women, she leaves with her annoyance snowballed into full-on frustration and anger. Sure, sharing your feelings with others constructively and getting support and advice is a good idea. But venting just for the sake of “getting it out” exacerbates the problem and can often blow it out of proportion.
We often use this acronym to help teach our children to think before they speak. But it’s a good idea to examine our own words too! Before you “vent”- T.H.I.N.K! Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? Basically, is what’s bothering you really important? If it’s not, let it go. However, if it is important, talk to your spouse about it! And if you feel like you can’t address it with your spouse, then seek a trusted friend or professional counselor who will support your marriage.
Talking bad about your spouse affects your children.
Talking bad about your spouse to family or friends affects your children. Have you ever thought about how the words you use describing your husband will affect your children? Whether we recognize it or not, our words have very real consequences. Besides just being a bad example of being unkind, we are also unintentionally giving our children a negative view of men and marriage when we husband bash. It’s insulting to men and it sends an awful message to our children about the role of their father in their lives.
Whether said jokingly or not, constantly finding fault in our husbands in front of our children paints an unfair picture. Criticizing and re-doing what he has done undermines his abilities. One thing I learned long ago is that my husband may do things differently than I do, but that does NOT mean my way is better. Comments that seem harmless can feed the myth that men are somehow incapable or inept. I don’t know about you, but that’s a myth I don’t want my son OR my daughters to believe. We need to model what a healthy, happy marriage looks like for our children, and that includes respect for the strengths of both genders.
Show the world that good men exist and marriages can be happy.
Husband-bashing affects society! Sadly, society has set a pretty low bar for husbands and dads. We’ve got to stop considering thoughtful husbands and hands-on fathers to be a sort of unicorn level novelty. They’re not! Good men EXIST and happy marriages are NOT extinct! Despite what TV shows, movies, and social media memes would have you believe – we women NEED men! They comfort us, support us, encourage us, balance us, and love us. Our husbands are NOT zeros, they are our HEROES!
They say that the most direct way to change society is in your own sphere of influence. So if you agree please join us in spreading the message by sharing and pinning this post.