One of the realities of our life is that we have made a bond between insults and friendships. This is most commonly true among men, I believe, but is also common in situations where men and women are together. (I do not know what happens when only women are around, because I am not there.)

You know what I mean. As we sit and talk, we tend to insult one another jovially. We are not serious, but we "cut down" one another in clever ways. Families do this when they get together for holidays or events, with brothers and sisters outdoing one another in clever remarks. 

There is, however, a very definite rule in such settings. Men do not insult their wives, even jovially, in most situations. Men have learned not to do so. Any comment that is insulting to a wife is off-limits in most situations. Do not go there, we are told, and well we are told, because the result is not what one would like.

Nonetheless, we see wives insult their husbands in such settings. In fact, in any such setting, one need only wait a few minutes for a wife to make some comment about her husband. It might be about his weight, or his eating habits, or his job, or his hobbies, or anything, but she will make the statement and everyone will laugh. 

Stop it, ladies. Seriously. Just stop it. 

There is no good coming from insulting your husband or even from agreeing with someone's else insult of your husband. Husbands are judged by the behavior of their wives. Every man, in a social setting, knows that people's opinions of him depend (in large degree) on his wife. A man who is honored by his wife is admired. A man who is insulted by his wife is humiliated. 

You do not need to defend him from others, but you must not attack him. You do not have to argue with someone who insults him, but you are not to applaud their attack. 

Scripture speaks of honoring your husband, and this is a place where honoring is found. To insult him, to treat him badly, is to make a mockery of him as your husband and as a man. Do not lecture him in front of others. Do not direct him hither and yon to be your servant. Do not join with others in insulting him. It will hurt him. 

Two thoughts come to mind. First, yes, it really will hurt him. Women will argue with me on this, being sure that "nothing I say will hurt him." They are wrong. He may not say anything (why would he?), but he will be hurt by it. Many people can insult me, but my wife is not "many people," she is my wife, flesh of my flesh, my lover forever. Because she holds a special place in my life, she must behave in accordance with that special place. Even if others may insult me (friends), she may not. She is not my friend, she is my wife. She is unique in the world. She can hurt me more than anyone else and more easily than anyone else.

Second, people will complain that, if they follow this rule, they will have nothing to say. Really? Is that how barren your life has become? 

I play tennis with a group of men and, I must admit, the conversation is often pretty sad. Often (too often) the conversation is almost all insults. It is a burdensome thing to have such conversations endlessly, but that is what men often do. 

Is that all you have in your heart and mind? You cannot discuss anything without insulting your husband? Odd admission to make about your own heart. 

Here is a plan. Next time you are with family or friends, make a decision. You will not insult your husband. Just make up your mind. Don't tell anyone. Don't make a show of it. Don't "defend" him endlessly, just don't insult him. You might be very surprised. 

Years ago, a group of men used to sit together commuting on a ferry boat. Often, as men do, we would joke about the common issues we had with our wives. Except for one man. There was one man in our group who would occasionally shake his head and laugh and say "I have no idea what you men are talking about, my wife is nothing like that." 

One day, I met his wife and, you know what, he was right. She was nothing like that. She appeared, by all measures, to be an Excellent Wife, as he testified, and has remained such until this day, as far as I know. He honored her rightly. 

Maybe it is time to be an Excellent Wife, one who is different from all the other wives. Start in your conversation. You may be surprised how much it changes about you and about your marriage.

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