The other day I was working on a project with several other men. During the course of the day one of them got several calls and texts from his wife. When his phone chimed, he would exclaim in a mocking voice, “When are you going to be home? Why do you spend all day out with the guys? Nag nag nag.” The rest of us looked on uncomfortably.
I’m sorry to say this is not all that uncommon in husbands these days. In just about every group of married men these days I seem to find one who complains (often without being solicited) about the degree to which his wife hinders his freedom. Often it’s done in a way which is intended to be humorous, but if these men stopped to listen they might notice nobody is laughing with them. Most of us are just silent or change the subject.
Men, a word to the wise. You may be the greatest husband in other areas, but when you do this, you are acting like a heel and a jerk. Grow up.
In the case I mentioned above, I felt a desire to say to this man, “If your wife is so terrible, leave – nobody’s forcing you to stay with her.” But of course, that’s the wrong solution.
When we see someone who isn’t taking their marriage seriously, the thing to get rid of is not the marriage but the attitude. I thought about this for a long time, and realized I should have said something along the lines of, “You’re lucky she wants to be with you” or some such pithy remark. Sadly I always think about these things after the moment has passed.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have a good friend who, when he notices it’s his wife on the line, answers the phone with a greeting like, “I really love you.” This is something I admire greatly about him, and try (though not always successfully) to emulate.
I love my wife. I may not always show her enough (indeed I’m not sure I could show her enough), but at my worst I would never belittle her, especially not in front of others. And even if I did not love her as much as I did, this is the woman to whom I have freely offered myself in a marriage covenant, and that is not an obligation to take lightly.
As St. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
In these days, as marriage is being attacked and destroyed from all sides, I think it is important that we take a look at how we live our marriage vows, and if we think marriage is important enough to vote about, or fight about, or change our Facebook profile photos about, then I think we have an obligation to reflect that in our behavior.
And when we witness others not honoring their marriage, we have an obligation to speak the truth in love, rather than going with the flow.
Copyright © 2013, Michael Lindner