A Better Spouse Than Me

One of the things that my husband and I have been very firm on since we married was this; not disparaging our spouse to anyone else.

That means that at my husband’s workplace he doesn’t join in and complain about his wife when other colleagues are sharing, and sympathising, over the actions of their wives.

It means, in turn, that I don’t belittle my husband to family or friends.

Recently I caught up with a friend who’s experiencing some troubles in her marriage. Sadly, they are quite serious and are being played out on the stage of a small town – that hotbed of gossip and humiliation where everyone knows everyone else.

In order to remove herself and her children from such scrutiny she has moved out temporarily though fully intends to do what she can to save her marriage.

And yet, despite everything that she has experienced and all the hurt and disappointment she feels she has not once in my presence degraded her husband.

Not once has she spoken of him in such a way as to make me think lesser of him. Despite the rumours of his shortcomings ricocheting throughout the area.

I do pray, every day, that their marital strife may be resolved and a reconciliation achieved. Because now, even as their marriage is on the rocks, she has proven herself to be a better spouse than me.

I have no doubt that, in that situation I’d feel the need to vent, to air my displeasure with at least one close friend. I’d tell myself it was cathartic, that I needed to get all of that off my chest. But unless it was to a counsellor or similar, it would do more harm than good.

At our local YCM book club last week another mum shared a story of a marriage breakdown she remembered from her adolescence that had me applauding another wife for her integrity.

This wife and her husband had separated and she was seen to be losing weight and taking great care with her appearance so naturally, the gossip-mongers disparaged her and snickered behind her back that she was trying to get herself a toy boy. Obviously with such behaviour it was her fault that the marriage had ended. The husband was the object of sympathy and condolence.

Not once did she address such accusations or defend herself against such slander.

Later on the truth emerged. Her husband had had an affair and in a bid to save their marriage she had made an effort to be more attractive to him. Despite the gossip she could have told everyone that her husband had been unfaithful.

But she didn’t.

Despite his betrayal she did not speak ill of him or let others come to see him in a bad light on her account.

Perhaps she was not able to save their marriage – but she proved herself to be an exemplary wife in this regard.

As verbally biased as we women are, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of gossip and judgement. And what is gossip but passing on information that makes us think less of others? We have the opportunity to harm so many people by partaking in such conversations and the Devil loves it when we do it.

Talking about our husbands in such a way is akin to starting a web of gossip about our husband and ourselves. People who hear us think less of our husbands – that goes without saying – but also of us.

Slander and gossip are corrosive and will eat away at your marriage and your respect for your spouse. And if he knows you’re talking about him in such a way with your friends and family his respect for you will erode too.

Guard your marriages from this form of the Devil’s arsenal by keeping your complaints and hurts about your spouse between yourself, your spouse and God.

It’s easy to complain and difficult to keep our counsel. But it’s worth doing. It’s equivalent to investing in your marriage rather than spending all your respect with abandon to find there’s nothing left to pay into your marital mortgage.

At the end of the day, you want to pay off that mortgage and bask in the reality of home ownership; a Sacramental union destined for Heaven.





Filed Under: Family LifeFeaturedMarriage

About the Author: Emily is a former ACPA award winning editor and journalist turned stay at home mum and blogger. She lives on a farm in regional NSW with her husband and their five children where she spends the time she should be doing housework reading books and writing posts.

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