My Sunday School teacher’s son is an actor and singer in New York. Last week, he made an appearance as a judge on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In the episode he is a mean judge and at the hearing sets a lady’s bail high at the request of the prosecuting attorney. In real life, he is a very kind and compassionate guy that is not anything like the character he played.
I have another friend that is a public defender in a rural area. He is a strong Christian. Unfortunately, his job is to defend some of the worst of humanity despite what he may truly feel about them. He knows going in that many times he is fighting an uphill battle and can only advise his client as best he can. He has to often just try to limit the penalty that his clients get. He also has to defend clients when they persist in declaring themselves innocent when all of the available evidence seems clearly against them.
When it comes to a husband’s role in marriage are you your wife’s public defender? Are you careful in public to talk about her around friends and others in the best light? Do you defend her opinions in conversations when she is being attacked? Are you careful to not join in with friends when they might be making a joke at your wife’s expense?
Often times, it is not our enemies that we must be most careful about defending our wife’s honor with. It is often our family, friends, church groups, and social groups. Yes. It is often around those that we are most comfortable with when we fail to be her public defender. As men we are often placed in an uncomfortable role of wife versus mother. We do not want to upset either. So when there is conflict between the two we are put in a difficult situation and really a no win situation. In this situation there is usually damage on both sides. There is not an easy answer. Try to stand by your wife and let your mother know that you stand with her as one flesh. This area is a much bigger topic than this post and there are many posts on dealing with this relationship that I will let you find.
I found this quote from this post entitled Be a Modern Knight: Protecting Your Lady in the 21st Century, “While men are no longer called to be warriors against physical attack, we now have the duty to protect our women from emotional harm, to keep safe the hearts and esteem of the ladies in our lives.” I think this is a very true statement in the day and age that we are living in. The problem with the world that we are living in today is while there is just as much need to protect our families from physical attack today, there is a movement that seeks out to try to emotionally harm people with no regard to anyone’s feelings through the use of texts, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. If you want to have a standard such as a Godly marriage, there are people that seek out to mock, condemn, and poke fun at you. And how dare you have a position about something that could be deemed “intolerant” in any way, shape, or form.
As I said earlier, friends are a place that we often times need to be our wife’s biggest defender. It is easy to fall into the trap of a friend expressing their own gripe about a spouse and feeling to need to share in their sorrow with a gripe of your own. Sometimes it may be to console the friend that their plight is not so bad and others it may be to one up the friend.
Jon Spach wrote an article called Just Stop Talking! in which he explores this:
“It’s these conversations that need to be killed. This is where you need to just stop talking. Making your spouse look bad in front of your friends or whoever else is not just making conversation or having a laugh. It’s marital sabotage.”
Why do I think so? A couple of reasons:
- People have itching ears for dirt. Sites like TMZ exist only because people want to know and see the sin in other people’s lives. They love it. They spend money to find out about it. We’ll take 2 seconds looking at our own sin and 2 hours breaking down someone else’s. So if someone seems willing to talk about the faults of their significant other, you can bet someone else is going to be there rooting them on to dig deeper and dish out more.
- We have a desire to be appreciated & liked. If we’ve got some information that other people take an interest in hearing, we’re likely to offer more and more details all in exchange for a bigger laugh or more rapt attention. The kind of people that desire this info, desire the attention that will come with passing it along. So it won’t be long before everybody knows what you think sucks about your spouse. This is a good thing?
- “The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.” (Proverbs 18:17). That is to say, when you’re talking about all your spouse’s shortcomings with your friends, you’re inadvertently (I hope) painting a picture of your marriage with you as the victim, struggling through until the sweet release of death parts you. So now everyone has a whacked out view of your marriage and it’ll only get worse if your spouse is equally willing to talk smack.
So, the next time your wife needs to be supported in a public forum you have three choices. What role do you choose? Do you choose to be the prosecutor and make the case for exposing the facts of your wife’s weaknesses? Do you play the role of the courtroom observer and sit idly while your wife’s honor is being attacked? Or do you play the role of your wife’s public defender and protect her from emotional harm?