When I was at the grocery store over the weekend, I ran into an acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in a while.
She asked how we were and I stuck with the usual, expected script that you follow with those you don’t know all that well… “we’re doing great … the kids are getting so big … Craig’s been traveling a bit.”
Then, I asked how things were in her world and she went on for fifteen minutes about what a jerk her husband is … he doesn’t empty the dishwasher, help with the kids, blah, blah, blah. I honestly stopped listening and started thinking that she was a complete idiot.
Now, before you think I’m heartless, let me explain.
Of course we all need to vent.
But here’s what happens when you vent in a public forum to someone who barely knows you…
You say “he’s a jerk, he doesn’t understand me, he’s vacant, blah, blah, blah.”
I listen and I remember.
I then talk to you a few weeks later and you tell me that you’re doing well, your husband has been busy playing with the kids and doing household chores, etc.
But this is what I hear: “he’s a jerk, he doesn’t understand me, he’s vacant, blah, blah, blah.” Because you can’t unsay those things, especially when I don’t know you well enough to have a full picture of your life. You can’t have it both ways; you can’t tell me one week that he’s a jerk and then weeks later tell me that he’s amazing.
My grocery store acquaintance isn’t the only one who I’ve heard disparaging her spouse lately. I see it on Twitter, I overhear conversations of people on their phones out in public. It’s everywhere. And I honestly don’t get it.
I’ve actually witnessed a group of women competing with each other over who had the biggest jerk of a husband. How do you win a competition like that? I couldn’t figure it out. (Please know that I am talking about garden variety jerk-ness here, not abusive husbands. If a woman is being abused in any way, she should tell everyone who will listen until someone helps her.)
Does Craig ever irritate me? Well, duh. We’re married. It’s inevitable that we’ll make each other crazy from time to time. But the bottom line is, that’s between us.
If you know me on Twitter, you won’t hear about it. You also won’t hear about it here on my blog. If I run into you at the market, nope, you won’t hear about it. If you are my closest friend? You might get a rare mini-rant. Do you want to know who I tell that he’s acting like a jerk? Craig. Because I love and respect him, even if in the moment, he’s on my last nerve. And those little things don’t come close to outweighing all of the great stuff.
And I know that if he was out golfing or playing basketball with friends and disparaged me in any way, I’d be mortified.
Bottom line? It’s unfair to offer only one part of the story and it will likely bite you in the butt if you do.
I won’t trash my husband because at the end of the day, he is the person I promised forever to. For better or worse. As sentimental as that may sound, it’s a promise that I made…not only to him, but also to myself.
I love him and I truly believe that love and respect go hand in hand.