I had a rare morning out with a friend last week. We sipped yummy coffee and enjoyed quiet conversation. As a mom of two little kids, outings like this are a rare treat. I couldn’t have done it without my hubby who watched the kids while I was gone (he even did the laundry and dishes!). He’s wonderful.
Even so, when I got home, I was cranky. I griped at my husband and pointed out the jobs he didn’t accomplish in my absence. I wouldn’t have fed the kids that. I definitely wouldn’t have dressed them in those clothes!
As I heard the shrill sound of my own voice, I wondered what was wrong with me. Why was I acting this way? Then I remembered some of the turns my conversation had taken during my morning getaway.
My friend said things like:
- “I told him it’s my decision. He may not like it, but I have the final say.”
- “My husband’s been working a lot of overtime. I’m so aggravated. He never sees the kids.”
- “He mowed over my flowers again. I don’t know how many times I have to show him the difference between a flower and a weed.”
Harmless comments, right? After all, don’t two girlfriends deserve the right to vent? I no longer think so.
My coffee loving friend is a committed Christian. I happen to know she adores her husband of more than a decade. But she’s forgotten the power of her words when it comes to her husband. I can say from experience that her memory loss is contagious.
She’s not my first friend to speak poorly of her husband. I’ve hung out with men bashers before. It always amazes me how easily I slip into a pattern of negativity and criticism when I have frequent contact with such women. It is a habit that doesn’t make much sense to me. I’m crazy about my husband. There are so many reasons to brag on him and so few reasons to complain. And yet, when I spend time with a husband hater, it doesn’t take long for the bashing to begin at my house. Even worse, I’ve noticed that my heart tends to follow my words (and vice versa). The more I talk negatively, the less I admire, love, and respect my man.
There’s a lesson to be learned here. There’s so no such thing as harmless conversation. I think that’s why Paul wrote:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).
Ladies, this passage is especially helpful when we apply it to how we talk about the men in our lives. In public and in private we need to be committed to esteeming them highly and speaking words that build up instead of tearing down.
So what about my husband bashing friend? Do I ditch her? Call her out? Cut off the coffee dates until her words sound more like a Hallmark card? I don’t think so. Instead I will look for every opportunity to speak highly of my man when she’s around. If the conversation goes south, I’ll make an extra effort to steer it in a different direction. I may even bring along a friend who has a history of speaking well of men to our next java stop.
The bottom line is that my friend’s mouth is not my responsibility. It’s my job to love my husband well and to speak highly of others at every opportunity. I want to encourage you to do the same. How can you specifically praise the men in your life today?