When You Should Not Defend Your Spouse

defend your spouseSpeaking Out

To defend your spouse is not always a wise move. Certainly, we don’t have to tell him everything someone said negatively about him, and that’s a form of protection. I’m talking about not being honest about things that are wrong.

If there is one thing about marriage I have little tolerance for, it’s women who speak derogatorily of their spouse. What he does and how he does it is really none of my business – unless he is abusive and defying scripture. When we choose to speak because we are seeking advice, our reasons are right. When we speak out because we want to publicly condemn or chastise him, we are wrong.

Sure, I’ve participated in conversations where the idiosyncrasies of our spouses are lamented – where there’s comradery and not commiseration. My husband prefers Jiffy Mix over Bisquick, and one evening a bunch of us were talking about this point when my daughter-in-law said, “So that’s where Tim gets it!”  Both our spouses buy more boxes than necessary at a time because we must never, ever run out of Jiffy Mix for strawberry shortcake, pancakes, or waffles. Everyone at the table roared at our descriptions – yet our love and respect for our spouses was evident.

The misery-loves-company-crowd tears down a marriage and relationships instead of building them up. We must not be guilty of this. Whether your laundry is dirty or clean, don’t hang it out for all to see. It’s a way to respect your relationship and your marriage. Misery-loves-company does nothing to help maintain or restore a marriage. It only feeds negativity into the minds of our friends, and that ought not be.

Shutting up

I have friends who will not speak to their spouse or to anyone else when what he is doing is wrong. They want to “defend” him. They feel that going to someone for advice is not protecting his reputation. The problem with this idea is that a true helpmeet does not remain silent when a spouse is living in the wrong.

It’s true that we can’t force our spouse to be honest on his income taxes or treat his employees fairly. We can’t force our spouse to become more spiritual or a better leader. Yet defending your spouse when he does not care or refuses to try is merely keeping him under instead of helping him rise to the top. This is when shutting up does more harm than good.

To allow others to think we approve of the actions of our spouse because we defend him is dishonest. To be silent to protect his reputation is wrong, because the reputation is wrong. We should not want to defend something that is wrong. We do not need to shout it from the rooftops, but we can speak truth so others know we are not part of his wrongdoing. This is part of refusing to defend our spouse.

Speaking Up

Not every man is the same (of course) and each husband responds differently to different approaches, so do what works best for you. Speak truth into situations because it is the right things to do – even if he refuses to listen to you or refuses to change. Once he knows, it’s his responsibility to choose what to do, and he makes the call. You’ve spoken your piece – now go pray about it. A true helpmeet encourages and challenges a spouse to be the best he can be. Not speaking to him or speaking negatively about him to others is wrong. Promote truth in the way you respond – and you’ll find that you don’t have to defend your spouse.

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