Why Not to Complain About Husbands Like They Are All the Same

I’ve long observed the tendency of married women to commiserate with one another by sitting around and complaining about their husbands as though the men all have the same weaknesses and flaws.

Many wives commiserate by complaining about their husbands as though the men all have the same flaws. Why is this harmful and how can we avoid it?

Whether this is done in a public venue like Facebook or a private venue like a quiet conversation in the hallway at church, I’ve come to believe that this practice is not beneficial. In fact, it may be outright harmful.

If you’re not certain you’ve experienced this phenomenon, let me share an example that I pulled off Facebook. A friend who was several months pregnant posted a picture of her husband and oldest son as they relaxed in their living room. In the status that accompanied the picture, she voiced a complaint that she was having to bathe their youngest kid, make the beds, do the laundry, and pick up the house all while her husband lounged on the couch covered in a blanket. Here are the comments that followed her post:

Complaining About Husbands Like They Are All the Same

It’s entirely appropriate for a wife and mother to request help around the house, especially when she’s several months pregnant. My concern about this example is not the desire for help, but the way in which it is communicated and the “supportive” comments offered by friends (e.g., “men lol so clueless,” “one word sums it all up…MALES!!!”). Why do I believe this sort of communication is a problem?

Why it is harmful to complain about husbands like they are all the same

  • It is disrespectful. The Bible teaches us to respect our husbands (Ephesians 5). Being respectful means treating our husbands with high or special regard. I don’t see how publically parading their faults accomplishes this.
  • It probably won’t change our husbands. If most husbands came across a post like that described above or overheard a conversation where their wives were complaining about their behaviors, I’m not sure this would motivate them to change. Perhaps a few would be embarrassed and change their ways, but many would simply feel disrespected and grow frustrated with their wives for “airing their dirty laundry” in public. This may even perpetuate the behavior because some men may feel that this demonstrates that their wives don’t “deserve” for them to change their ways. While this isn’t an appropriate response, it’s quite realistic.
  • It sets low expectations. Though many men share some common preferences and traits, each man is unique. When we surround ourselves with women who complain about their husbands and who comment as though these complaints are ubiquitous, we begin to expect these behaviors from our own husbands—even if they don’t currently display them. Worse, we begin looking for these flaws and notice things that we may never have noticed if we weren’t alert to them because of the complaining.
  • It is a form of complaining. The Bible teaches us to avoid complaining (Ephesians 4:29, Philippians 2:14, James 5:9). We need to apply these verses to our conversations about our husbands.

I’m not saying that there is never a time or a place for voicing concerns about your husband’s behavior. These are the sorts of things you might discuss with a minister, mentor, or close friend. However, be sure you are voicing your concerns because you are genuinely troubled, not because you want attention, sympathy, or to make your husband look bad.

What can we do when faced with these complaints? Simply being aware that these conversations take place will help us be alert so we notice them. When they do occur, we can gently suggest to our friends that they speak to their respective husbands about their concerns. We can avoid joining in the complaining and steer the conversations in a more positive direction. Though it can sometimes be challenging, we can choose to speak highly of our husbands in front of our friends.

What happens with your friends? Are there ever conversations that are full of complaints about men all being the same? How do you handle these situations?

Shared on the following link-ups:

Wifey Wednesday, Titus 2sday, Growing Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday, Living Proverbs 31, Making Your Home Sing, Essential Fridays & Thrive @ Home.

Comments

  1. Charlotte Thiel says:

    Convicted.

    • I would apologize, but I guess that is the whole point of examining a topic like this. 🙂
      I pray your conviction sparks change.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This sort of behavior is abusive. It is bullying at its worst. The Husband was spending time with his son – something that cannot be replaced by a few neatly made beds.

    My father died when I was young – when I look at someone complain because their husband is being a Father to his children, it strikes me as the height of ingratitude to God for the great gift of having a Husband and having a Father for your children.

    A woman who has never been widowed perhaps doesn’t realize the huge number of things that she is taking for granted.

    • You offer an insightful perspective. It is far too easy for us to take things for granted. Thanks for reminding us of this!

    • You’re right in as much as lots of women don’t appreciate their mate, which Sheila addresses a lot. My guess is that they were watching TV, which is not quality time spent bonding. If they were outside playing ball she probably would have smiled. I’m not saying her approach was right, but TV is a mind-numbing waste of time. I find that when my fiance’ and I do chores WITH his kids they respond to it so well and love the interaction. They love helping, and they love the attention. I appreciate that my fiance’ is such a great father, which is a huge attraction for me. But I also love that he’s a great mate, who helps me, cares for me, and protects me. Families need to work together, especially if Mum needs more help. I’m sorry for your great loss. It breaks my heart when I hear stories like yours. Fathers play a huge part in raising children. The appropriate response perhaps would be to ask for help not complain, especially publicly.

  3. Great post! I don’t have a problem with a little bit of women sharing their struggles privately with each other so that they can know that they are not alone, provided that it is a private conversation where it is understood that the woman loves her husband very much and just needs to vent… but posting stuff like this on FB is just downright disrespectful and rude.

    She just as easily could have gone the other way and said: “Aww… I love seeing my two favorite boys snuggled up on the couch together. He is such a great dad!” It is all about perspective.

  4. All husbands are not alike. My first one was physically abusive, the second was verbal abusive and my 3rd is fantastic. The 3rd time is the charm.

  5. This is an important perspective. My husband had a heart attack about a month ago. We were faced with the very real possibility that he wouldn’t make it home.

    So, our plans to change things so that I could start cutting back my hours at work soon after I return from maternity leave (yup, that’s right… we have a newborn son who has pretty much only known life in a hospital room.) And he legitimately can’t do much around the house.

    But he is still the head of our home. He rallies the troops to get the kids to help me out… he guards my sleep and my mood. He is already hard enough on himself because it will be months before he can go back to work… if he ever does.

    I listen to women complain about things that seem SO trivial in the long run… especially when they are complaining about their husband not doing enough at home… after the man worked an 8 or 10 or 12 hour day providing for her and their children.

    I know it can be hard being around little ones all day… and it’s nice to get a little help, or out every now and then… but I would give anything to be able to stay home with my kiddos full time. What a blessing their husbands are able to give them and they don’t sound like they realize that!

    Don’t take your husbands for granted, ladies… tomorrow is not guaranteed!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Elisabeth. I’m sad you and your family have had this experience, but it is a good reminder to all of us to not take our husbands for granted.

  6. There is so much shared on facebook w/ no shame or boundaries……I see unwise sharing of feelings, hurts, anger, bitterness, etc……..toward boyfriends, friends, life, husbands, etc. Reminds me of……….”Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Most of such sharing won’t pass that test. Thank you for this post. May we all be thankful…..and wise. Gentle Joy

  7. These are some great ideas to keep in mind. It can be difficult to watch others lounge while I’m working, but I remind myself that he works to provide for our family, and I get to be home with the kids. I also take the time to tell him that he is a good dad and husband, especially when he is playing with the kids, or helping around the house. I firmly believe that recognizing and acknowledging the desired behaviors will help them improve. On the other hand, belittling and punishing for unacceptable behaviors will not provide much improvement. Thanks for sharing in the Titus 2 Tuesday link party.

    • Hi Anne,
      That’s a really great point! Recognizing and acknowledging desired behaviors can go a long way in getting your husband to repeat them.

  8. Complaining is a habit just as praising is a habit. When we make it a habit to praise our husbands, the complaining will become less and less frequent. Thankfully, I’ve been raised in an environment where “airing dirty laundry” isn’t appropriate and it’s more important to deal with any issues in private to protect the marriage. Some would call me old-fashioned, yet it has helped me to look for opportunities to uplift rather than drag down.

  9. Excellent post and such a needed reminder! I understand her frustration but she would be better off talking to her husband about her frustrations rather than taking it to facebook. She’s probably hoping to “shame” him into it.

    Sometimes I am surprised by what people put on facebook. I’ve read a few posts where a couple of women have complained about their husbands.

    I responded by sending them a private message and asking them if they really wanted to air their dispute in such a public forum. I said I understood they were angry but questioned whether they would later regret their posts.

    One of the gals wrote back and said that she knew it was wrong but just wanted to make her husband look bad. She wanted people to feel sorry for her.

    She responded very sweetly and actually removed her post (her idea). The other gal, to my recollection, ignored my message.

    I would not send that kind of a message to every woman I’m on facebook with, but I felt it appropriate to send it to these gals.

    Husband bashing may make her feel supported for the moment, but this stuff is going to continue to build up and frustrate her. She either has to talk with him about it or let it go. She really is only hurting herself here, as well as drawing other women into taking up her offense.

    Thanks for linking up to Making Your Home Sing Monday!

    • Shannon says:

      It’s interesting the different responses you got after writing to those women about their posts. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thank you for the reminder! I have been married for close to 24 years now. I wish my behavior towards my husband was better early in our marriage. I grew up with parents that really didn’t know how to communicate quietly. In addition, my mother often complained of my father. It wasn’t that she didn’t love him. I think it was that she needed to “vent”. Unfortunately, at about 7 yrs into our marriage, I realized that what I was doing was very harmful to our marriage. The “downs” of marriage have taught me what a good Christian man I have. So many couples we knew as young married people have since divorced. We saw their pain and would cling to each other and physically cry for these couples. It taught me to cherish every minute I have with my remarkable man. It’s easy to get “sucked in” to venting frustrations, especially on social media. I strive to be a better example to my two girls and one boy. When I fail, I strive to fall to the feet of Jesus, confess, and start over. I will be sharing this on Facebook.

    • Shannon says:

      Hi Joan,
      Thanks for sharing about your experience. I think that a lot of women (unfortunately, myself included) sometimes do this because we feel the need to “vent.” I’m so glad you try to resist the urge to do this. Thanks for challenging all of us to do as you do when we make mistakes–to confess before the Lord and start over.

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