Man Up: The Proper Use Of The Tongue


Photo courtesy Madra Rua

Nature has given us two ears, two eyes, and but one tongue – to the end that we should hear and see more than we speak. ~ Socrates

Calm down. This post is not what may have initially thought. If you were looking for some other instructions, sorry to disappoint.

We need to have a discussion man to man. How many times have you been with the guys and the discussion turns to wife bashing? It’s easy to do. Let’s face it, everyone has shortcomings and faults. And it is so easy to point out other’s faults. Especially those we live with since we’ve got the goods on them.

While it may be easy to join in the wife bashfest, at the end of the exchange, what’s really changed? It’s like complaining, you may feel like you’re accomplishing something but you don’t end up getting anywhere. You’re still living with the woman you’ve just ripped to shreds. Only now, the negative side of things may be more deeply ingrained in your perception.

A look back in time

Throughout the history of civilization, humans have passed the buck when it comes to owning up to things in life. Truth be told, it often seems easier to blame someone else than look at our own role. Even though deep down you know you have contributed to the problems.

This started with Adam and Eve. He blamed her, she blamed the devil. And we continue the trend today. Only now some people have developed it into an art form. In the US during the political season you can see this displayed anytime you watch the news or listen to talk radio.

Man up and own up or shut up

It’s time to break the cycles that have been around for so long. This may call for some drastic measures. It may mean that you spend some time away from the normal crew of guys for a while. It may also mean that you step up and talk to your wife more. Either way, the onus is on you to change things.

This change is also beyond the bashing. It also incorporates the complaining, the whining, and the avoiding. While these may not be as detrimental as the bashing, they still have an impact on the marriage.

Here are a few ideas on how to break the cycle:

  1. Keep the issues between you, between you. It is inevitable that there will be problems and struggles in marriage. We are all human and make mistakes. One way to minimize the snowballing of our relational shortcomings is to keep the problems between the people directly involved. Bringing other people into the situation only magnifies things.
  2. Own up to your own faults and shortcomings. We each play a role in the circumstances of our life. Recognize your contribution to the problems and address them. The wife isn’t interested in as much sex as you? Are you catering to some of her needs for conversation, connection, support? Look for the role you play in life and own up to your faults. Seek forgiveness when necessary. It’s the mark of a “man up” man.
  3. Don’t ever bash your wife to another woman. While the female co-worker or friend may seem like she really understands you, you’re playing with fire. The more another woman is brought into the marriage through the discussing of marital problems with her, the more likely she will indeed become “the other woman.” All guys think they can handle it and it won’t go too far, until it’s too late. Then their response is, “I don’t know how this happened.” Yeah you do. Keep clear boundaries with other women. The grass may look greener, but it still requires upkeep.
  4. When around a bashfest, at the best, change the conversation, at the worst, just listen and offer suggestions. The easiest way to stop a bashfest is not joining in. We all know at least one guy who already does this. Join him. When the conversation turns to spelling out the wife’s faults, don’t add anything to the process. Even better would be to speak up and have the conversation changed to another topic. But at the very least, say nothing.
  5. Compliment her in person and to others. How many times in a normal week do you give a heartfelt compliment to your wife? This is beyond the you look good in that outfit comment. Instead, this is a deeper comment about her character, her spirit, her heart. This can also continue with others around you. Compliment her to others. While this may seem to others as a “suck up,” who cares. You get to go home to the love of your life.

As husbands, it is my contention that we should be fighting for the heart of our wife. She plays a vital role in our world and should be treated as the beauty she already is.

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