When I first got married I had a lot of fire in my belly. And I will even admit that I was immature. I had no real understanding of what being married entailed. I still thought of myself as an individual and not as a partner in both good and bad with this person who I now called my husband. I mean rationally I knew once married we were inextricably linked to one another but emotionally I was still very much wrapped up in my own stuff and in my own space.
In those early years of marriage we fought a lot. And, despite cringing as I write this, I remember arguing with my husband in public. In front of our family and friends. And yes I even remember cavalierly throwing out my complaints about him, his flaws and just my general displeasure with certain of his behaviors- without ever considering the repercussions of doing so. I naively assumed I should be able to voice my feelings when and where I chose and that when I insulted him or trash-talked him- I was just doing what so many wives had done before me- lamenting my woe-is-me-my-husband-is-a-blockhead tales. Of course my husband NEVER returned the favor. He never aired any of his grievances about me- and believe me he had many- when we were in the company of others. It took me several months to finally get that my behavior was not empowering but actually incredibly detrimental to this person who was now known to others as my better half- and each time I put him down and belittled him- I was also trash talking myself.
I remember being out with a bunch of other couples and sitting there and listening to one of the women full on ranting about how inept her husband was when it came to managing their finances. As she essentially raked him over the coals for all of us toÂ witness- I was humiliated. Not for this poor man, but for my own husband who I just then realized had at time gotten the same treatment from me. It was so demeaning it made me physically ache for the pain I’d caused him. I’m not sure what my end game ever was, in trashtalking my husband – other than for those few brief moments it was a way for me to selfishly let out pent up resentment I’d felt about him and perhaps I thought my audience would side with me and reassure me that yes- marriage sucked, husbands suck and I was right. Thinking back on it- and especially on the specific situation of that woman reaming out her husband- all I remember was how horrified and uncomfortable it made me feel- for him and for her and the one question that kept running through my mind was – WHY ARE YOU TELLING US ALL THIS PRIVATE STUFF THAT SHOULD BE RESERVED FOR YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND TO WORK OUT IN THE PRIVACY OF YOUR OWN HOME?
And this is how I felt last night watching a reality show, as one of the women, after being under the influence of some major red wine truth serum, let her lips flap quite loosely about how inept and immature her husband was. All I could think was–I wish she would just excuse herself and go to sleep. I wish she would stop talking because those words once out can never be taken back, and if I had two reasons for her as to why trashtalking her man was a bad idea these are the things I would tel her:
#1 Anything you say can and will be used against you. Your husband will store all these negative comments and will dredge them up every chance her gets. He will hold a grudge against you in regards to the comments- and they will forever be a part of your martial tapestry.
#2 Trash talking the man you live with, the one you have to sleep with, share a bed with, the one who takes out the garbage, who snakes the sewer drain, who slays the bugs and gets up in the middle of the night to take your dog who has a urinary tract infection for a walk– HE is not going to be too keen on doing any of these things once he realizes that you have chosen to harp on the stuff he doesn’t do as opposed to appreciating the stuff he DOES DO. In other words– get ready to start slaying your own bugs and hauling out your own garbage for a while. In other words Don’t Sh*t where you eat.