We’ve all watched sitcoms, right? The ones with the hormonal nightmare women who constantly berate their clumsy idiotic husbands? For a season, it was the cultural norm to see women on TV and film dominate the men in their life through demeaning words and actions. And, to be quite frank, the men seemed to deserve it. They couldn’t do anything right. And they were constantly saying stupid things to their hateful wives. It was a recipe for disaster. And, for the most part, I’ve seen as these fictional marriages changed. We see couples like Lily and Marshal (How I Met Your Mother) who seem to not only love each other – but like each other. Or couples like Monica and Chandler (Friends) who, at the very least, were equally irritating.
But it has caused me to think about my own marriage. How I want to spend my time with my husband. How I want my friends to hear me talk about him.
I went to dinner a couple weeks ago with a couple long-time friends. It was a typical night, but I started to notice a trend. These women, who I love with all my heart, couldn’t stop talking about the shortcomings of their husbands/boyfriends. And here’s the thing – I know their significant others. They are pretty solid guys. Good men. And I know my friends love their men with their whole hearts. So why the pattern of talking down?
I think that, despite seeing better examples, there is a natural human desire to complain. I know I’m guilty at the very least. I have noticed in myself this innate desire to voice every frustration.
But what happens every time we voice those things? What happens when we keep speaking out that negativity? Surely there is something cathartic about releasing negativity, but can something be said for voicing so many of your thoughts that you actually start to set up you heart, mind, and soul for failure?
There is power in our words. That’s not even really debatable. Words have power. There was a study done about cultural success and it was noted that a distinguishing trait in generally successful cultures, was blessing from a young age. Parents speak blessing over their kids. An emphasis is put on positive attributes. And the kids raised within those cultures are statistically more successful. Not just financially and in their careers, but in their mental well being as well.
So if speaking positively to my children is going to help them succeed, then is it crazy to think the same about my marriage?
And, if it is the same, then can it be assumed that what I speak about my relationship TO my husband is just as important as what I speak ABOUT him?
No one on the planet has a perfect marriage. And there are definitely days when my husband and I are on different planets emotionally. We deal with financial stresses and medical issues just like every one else.
But, at the end of the day, I married Clint because he is just the best human I know. Easy as that. He is good. He is kind. He is generous and lacks a single mean bone.
Does this mean that every day is roses and sunshine? HA! Not at all.
But what I speak out on those down days has an impact on the emotional well being of my marriage. The reality may be that he got on my nerves, the truth remains that he loves me well. The reality may be that he said something that hurt my feelings, the truth remains that he has a heart of gold.
Ultimately, I wonder – if my husband spoke about me the way I hear women speak about their husbands, what would I feel?
There is something to be said for being honest with your friends. And I would never intend to encourage someone to hide his or her reality. What I’m simply trying to say is that SOMETIMES, I think we complain just to complain.
If my heart is hurting, of course I can call my friends and get some good solid advice. But maybe it’s time to take notice of how we are honoring our significant others when they aren’t around.
Speak goodness into your world.