The Fastest Way to Tear Down Your Relationship

Why is it when the girls go out or when the guys go out, the conversation often turns to insulting our husbands or wives?

It seems like every time I go out with a group of guys, at least one of them starts telling the rest of us how bad his wife is. Taryn says it happens a lot with the girls too.

I’ve talked about this topic before, here, but it was buried inside of a long post. I thought this topic deserved its own space.

When we complain about our spouses when we are out with our friends, we justify it in our minds by saying, “I’m just voicing my frustrations and getting support from my friends.”

But the problem with that train of thought is that it doesn’t fix anything in your relationship. Have you ever seen it help? You might feel better because your friend supported you and confirmed that your husband’s a big jerk, but that definitely doesn’t help your relationship with him.

Taryn and I have a rule that I encourage you and your spouse to adopt. We don’t talk negatively about each other in public – not to friends, not to family, not as a joke in a group, not on Facebook (especially not on Facebook), not anywhere.

Why such a hard stance? Because criticizing one another in public never builds up the relationship. It only tears it down.

It’s interesting to me. You never hear people talk about all of the negative attributes of their children when they are in public. The comments are positive. On the other hand, though, you will hear every negative trait about their spouse.

Taryn and I have another rule. If I’m frustrating her in any way, she has to tell me. Why? So I can work on fixing it. If Taryn complains to her girlfriends about me, what are the odds that I’ll be able to work on whatever she’s frustrated about? The odds are zero.

Some time ago Taryn and I were at a friend’s house. There were several families in attendance. Shortly after we arrived, a child of the host was acting up. The husband scolded the child, rightly so. Immediately his wife jumped his case.

Her rebuke went something along the lines of this: “I’ve told you before, you don’t yell at our kids when there are other people here! I can’t believe you! Go apologize to her right now!”.

To say we were shocked was an understatement. It was like she was yelling at her child, and the blatant disrespect for her husband was, to be honest, disgusting and embarrassing.

I know that’s an extreme story, but any time we talk negatively about our spouse in public, the result is the same. The relationship is torn down, and nothing is fixed.

I’m all for confronting your spouse. You can read about my stance on confrontation here. The confrontation between a husband and a wife needs to be respectful, and it has to be in private. The goal of the conversation is to build and improve the relationship,  not destroy it.

My challenge to you is to talk positively about your spouse in public. Find an excuse to do it. When everyone else starts in on the negative spouse talk, just politely interject, “Oh really? That’s too bad. My spouse is really good about doing that.”

If you have the courage to do that, something interesting and somewhat funny will happen. The conversation will move away from the negative, and most likely will turn into talking about the positive attributes of spouses.

Instead of competing for who has the worst spouse. The conversation will lean toward whose spouse is the best.

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