Take the Wife-griping Somewhere Else

I can’t listen to a guy complaining about his wife. It’s my least favorite thing that men do.

Honestly, my friends are a pretty satisfied bunch. Every once in a while, though, you meet someone who wants to give a lecture about just what a monster his bride is.

“She spends too much on clothes,” says the fellow who drops $100 on a bottle of scotch.

“She busts my chops about watching the game,” says the dad who considers himself off-the-clock after kickoff on a Sunday.

“She’s always after me to change the way I eat,” says the guy who probably should change the way he eats.

“She’s so controlling,” says the workaholic tied more to his phone than his family.

I can’t listen to it. Even before I was married I found such talk distasteful. I once knew a guy who referred to his wife—a woman I’d never met—as “Momo.” He didn’t mean it in a good way. We didn’t hit it off.

I can put up with a lot from a friend. You can talk smack about your boss all day long. I’m fine with that. You can drink too much and break my phone. I’ll get a new one.

But if you need someone to nod his head in agreement while you badmouth your “old lady,” count me out.

In his letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul lays down the law for us married guys: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her.”

How did Christ love the Church? Well, you might have heard of a little episode having to do with crucifixion under Pontius Pilate. Put it this way: He suffered death and was buried.

Christ gave everything to His church, and that’s what marriage is: Total giving.

It’s a tall order, no question, but it’s what you signed up for when you put that ring on it. It’s what we all signed up for.

Paul continues: “So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

This part is easier to wrap your head around. Love your wife as you love yourself. It’s the Golden Rule: Household Edition. And it sings in harmony with the view of marriage outlined in the Book of Genesis—man and wife become one body.

“They are no longer two but one flesh,” says Jesus (Mark 10:8).

In the eyes of the Church, you and your wife are the same body. Don’t treat her differently than you treat yourself. When you badmouth her, you badmouth yourself.

Look, I understand the issues. Raising kids is stressful. Money is sometimes tight. And no, you’re not crazy—there is such a thing as the right way to load the dishwasher.

But nobody said it was going to be easy. In good times and in bad, remember? In sickness and in health.

I read recently that a husband’s job is to get his wife into heaven—and vice versa. If you look at marriage that way, it becomes a little easier to put up with the occasional gripe about the toilet seat being left up.

Women complain about their husbands (I’m told). I don’t have any close female friends, so I wouldn’t know. Actually, I do have one.

And she’s better at her job than I am at mine.

From the November 2015 issue of Fairfield County Catholic

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