Don’t Join in on the Husband-Bashing
You can imagine the scene. Maybe you’ve been a part of the scene. Between three and ten women sitting in a living room, restaurant, or community center trash-talking their husbands or ex-husbands. It may be a work outing. It may be a new-mom support group. It may be a booster club planning some fundraising event and all the volunteers happen to be women. It may even be a women’s Bible study.
One woman innocently makes a joke. Another makes a slightly meaner joke. And pretty soon the entire conversation drags down everyone in the room, their husbands, and their marriages. The community too, for that matter.
Years ago, my wife was part of a biweekly gathering of homemakers who brought their sewing, needlepoint, and knitting projects. Please excuse the expression, but they literally called it “Stitch and Bitch.” Funny? Perhaps. Uplifting? Not at all.
As you’re reading this, there are probably two or three women who come to mind who are always ready to start the negative chatter. I’m not sure why they are so miserable. But I’m assuming they have also left a trail of husbands (or ex-husbands) who are also miserable.
If you find yourself in an ongoing vortex of bitterness, how should you respond? If you feel compelled to join in, please don’t. And excuse yourself from other such meetings with that group. But if you feel empowered by your relationship with your husband and confident that your voice will be heard, could you do all of us guys a favor? Find the right words to deflect the bashing, or at least give the group something to think about.
“There’s such a negative vibe going on here—especially against husbands—is that really necessary?”
“Let’s change the direction of this conversation—what do you think?”
“I’m not sure where this is all coming from, but men are not the enemy.”
“I have to say, you’re starting to make me really appreciate my husband.”
Your goal is not to paint yourself as a saint or suggest your husband is perfect. And it’s quite possible all that husband-bashing is really just a cry for help. The best answer might not be to confront the worst culprit in the large-group setting, but rather talk to her one on one after your meeting. A simple “Are you okay?” might be exactly what she needs to hear and may even open the door to some counseling or an invitation to your church or a study group with a better attitude.
Any intervention you attempt may not change the heart of the most vocal offenders. But you might prevent collateral damage among the other women in the group. There may be some younger participants who have not built up any immunity to the rampant spread of man-hating poison. If you can prevent one or two from becoming infected, you may save a marriage or deter a young bride from picking a fight with her unsuspecting husband later that evening.
I’ve never attended an all-women’s meeting, but my sources tell me that husband-bashing is quite contagious. Immunize yourself with good thoughts and a new appreciation for your own man. Protect others with a pro-marriage comment or quip. And see if you can’t stop the infection at its source.
Oh yeah, here’s one more strategic line you might want to try:
“You know, I happen to be reading this not-too-painful book for wives. It’s 52 short chapters, and I just finished chapter 18. I’d be happy to lend you my copy when I’m through.”
Husband-bashing is another example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Trash-talk your man and you’ll begin to treat him like garbage. His only choice will be to start smelling and going bad.
“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.” —Ephesians 4:29
Adapted from 52 Things Husbands Need From Their Wives, by Jay Payleitner
Copyright @copy;2013 Jay Payleitner, published by Harvest House, used with permission, all rights reserved.