Let’s talk about our husbands. But let’s be nice, ladies.
Actually, let’s be more than nice.
Let’s be charitable.
Let’s be forgiving.
Let’s be positive.
Let’s be encouraging.
Let’s be balanced.
No venting. No ugliness. No mockery.
It’s so easy to fall into “husband bashing” in our culture. I grew up seeing and hearing it everywhere. It is perfectly acceptable to vent to our girlfriends about how inept, or uncaring, or lazy or dense they are. Venting is encouraged. Major women’s magazines tell us it’s even ‘healthy’ to vent about our marriages instead of ‘holding it all in.’
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.”
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” –1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Copyright 2012 Erin Franco