First, I actually like my husband so degrading him among other women just isn’t something I’m into. Second, what’s the point again?
I remember the first time I was made very aware that this is how some women connect. I was standing with two other (older) women and they were ranting on and on about how awful their husbands were. I felt a little weird bearing witness to some of the things they said but walking out seemed inappropriate. This is what it’s like being socially trapped.
Anyway, after a few minutes of tearing into the guys that they married and weren’t exactly there to defend themselves, one of them looked at me and nodded as if to say, “your turn.” The geek that I am, I said, “umm… I love my husband.”
One of the woman laughed and waved me away. She said, “oh that’s right you haven’t been married that long.”
“Yeah, you’re young. You haven’t had enough time to come over to this side yet,” said the other.
At that point, we had only been married for three years. But we had been together for nine so I’m wasn’t exactly sure how long it would take to “cross over.”
The thing is, I will never cross over.
Husband/spouse bashing, to me, is one of the best ways to destroy your relationship. It might not be as swifty and efficient as cheating but don’t underestimate its power. Think about it. You get together with friends, have a good round of verbal boxing (in which you beat your opponent to death with no chance of them even defending himself), then you carry around that negative energy you built up… for the rest of the day or longer.
Do this often enough and you end up taking that garbage home with you. Suddenly the greeting to your partner is a squint-eyed, “YOU.”
It’s not hard to figure out that those negative feelings, often encouraged and cheered on by friends, will be all you think about. Eventually, the relationship deteriorates and you’re left wondering what happened.
Of course, I have days where I have plenty to complain about. I have stubbed my toe on a pair of steel-toed boots, I get slivers from doing laundry (tree guy), and often he takes my favorite wrench and doesn’t put it back. And occasionally, our strong personalities rear up and spar. But these things aren’t deal breakers and they certainly aren’t things I need to build on negatively by ranting about them.
I am definitely not a marriage expert and I do feel that there is a time and place where talking to a trusted friend is necessary to vent bottled up tension but husband bashing is not the way to go.
My guy and I have been together 15 years so that has to speak for something. I’m 100% positive he’s got complaints about me, too. And just like everything else we handle them openly with each other. (By the way, talking openly doesn’t mean lynching your spouse. It means speaking truthfully and in a way that creates space for conversation.)
I believe communication (next to laughter and a healthy dose of humility) is a key ingredient for a healthy relationship.
Photo credit: Creative Commons/Ismayani Prabu Ali