Do You Defend Your Spouse In Public?

BY: - 22 Apr '10 | Relationships

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In public, always defend your spouse. Make it a habit to take his or her side regardless of the situation –          Jimmy and Karen Evans (MarriageToday)

That quote was taken from a MarriageToday Facebook status update. As you can imagine, there were over 57 comments for this status update with people both agreeing and disagreeing.

I agreed with this comment (in Facebook terms that means “like”.) To me, it means that spouses should not have major disagreements with each other in public.   They should always support each other, especially if there is someone attacking or confronting their spouse. If your spouse is saying or doing something that you do not agree with, then you should wait and discuss it with him/her in private. And it also means that couples should never speak negatively about each other or try to belittle each other in public.

There is nothing more uncomfortable than seeing a couple at odds with each other in public or to hear a wife/husband speak negatively about their partner (who is not present at the moment.)   A perfect, but extreme, example is the couple Marcus and Angela from Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married movies.   You can see the embarrassment on their friends faces as Marcus and Angela proceed to demean and loud talk each other in public. Another example or analogy can be taken from NFL teams.   A clear sign that a NFL team is going to have a bad season is when the players start to talk negatively about each other in public.   We all know that every team has its problems.   But when teams are not able resolve their problems in the locker room and when the team members start to voice their concerns during interviews with the media, then we (the fans which would be like our friends and family) know that this team and it’s management (the couple) have serious problems that could have negative impacts on their ability to have a successful season (i.e. – healthy successful marriage.)

Married folks should remember that they are a team at all times. And what does it mean to be on a team? It means people coming together to pursue or achieve a common goal.   The key words here are together and common goals.   This is why I agree with the Facebook status, if you and your spouse are working together to achieve a common goal, you should not be bickering or disagreeing with each other in public.  Of course, as individuals you will have your own likes or dislikes (you liked a movie”…your husband did not”…things like that.)  But you should have respect for each others opinions and if you have a problem with something, then take it up with your spouse in private.. in a safe environment to communicate so that issues can be worked out peacefully and respectfully.

Successful teams care about each other.   Members of a successful team uplift and elevate each other because they know that if they strengthen each other then the team will also be strengthened.   A member of our BMWK family, WHYTE23, said the following statement about his marriage that I love: “We agree that we are a team trying to reach the same goals, we agree that we are not in a battle, we will not collide, we will not fight, and if and when we disagree we vow to remember that we are not adversaries but lovers and best friends.”

BMWK – Do you agree with that Facebook status?   Is it ever appropriate to not defend your spouse in public?   As it pertains to being a team, what are some of the bad habits that you see couples exhibiting in public?   How can we begin to change those behaviors?

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 401 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.

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33 WordPress comments on “Do You Defend Your Spouse In Public?

  1. Julie Magro

    I totally agree!!!! You mention Facebook, and to me that is “in public” I do not agree with saying things on Facebook that do not uplift my husband or my children. Neither are perfect (and neither am I), but it is not up to me to make their mistakes public. I wouldn’t want my husband or parents doing that to me, so I don’t do it to them. It is part of the team environment you mention. We are a team that supports each other and we won’t be any stronger if we are pointing out each other’s weaknesses, a team is together to help out where other team members need help because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!

    Reply
  2. Spenser Avery

    I don’t agree. While I try not to be confrontational with my disagreement. I will not give blanket support to something that I feel strongly against. In or outside of our home.
    I just BITE my tongue if my wife is going in on the subject. After giving my own thoughts on the topic of course. My Wife is pretty good at defending her own opinion and I like to see her verbal sparring skills with others to be honest. We “discuss” things in our home all the time and my Wife did not marry me to yes her to death. In or out of the home.

    Reply
  3. JE

    Yes, I cringe when I see someone who is critical of a loved one on their Facebook status. I maybe labeled as a “goodie two-shoes” but I know the damage that words can cause. The bible speaks of how powerful the tongue is so we must guard what we say, how we say it and definitely where we say it. In this techno-crazed world a single post can cause irreparable damage and you can never get it back.
    .-= JE´s last blog ..Can A Mommy Wear That? =-.

    Reply
  4. Ayize

    Do you want to be right….or do you want to be in relationship? The two aren’t diametrically opposed, however many choose to be committed to their own agenda and egocentric objectives vs being committed to uplifting the relationship. Remeber…teamwork makes the dreamwork…..and presenting a united front will not only protect and affair proof your relationship it will also help fortify the ideal of marriage in our community. One of the most powerful things you can say to your spouse is….”I GOT YOU”….those simple words when conveyed sincerely can create an atmosphere of freedom in your relationship because the sentiment is that… I now know that i know that i know that YOU GOT MY BACK…..when i’m right and even when i’m wrong.
    .-= Ayize´s last blog ..How To Get Your Man To Talk To You =-.

    Reply
  5. Harriet

    If my husband and I are in public and we disagree about something, we’ll take it to the car if we feel like things are getting a little too heated. We don’t argue in front of others, and we definitely don’t belittle one another.

    Now talking smack because of our competitiveness, that’s another matter all together. But it’s always in fun…we don’t take anything personally.

    One thing I will disagree with my husband on publicly is if he dares to tell someone he’s gonna do something that will get him hurt, i.e. attempt the Army physical fitness test after having not worked out in a couple of months. In the end, that’s gonna hurt ME, because I’m the one massaging his back and taking him to the ER because of his knees, etc. But even that is lighthearted and in good fun.

    I don’t think tabling an issue until you can get to a private place is “Yessing” my spouse to death (I like that, Spenser!), but I do think it’s counterproductive to have an all out disagreement in front of people who aren’t part of my relationship (= everybody but my husband and I…unless, of course, we’re in counseling).

    LOVED the team analogy, Ronnie! When I win, we both win. When I lose, we both lose. Same vice versa. HOWEVER, if I see a couple I know on the street arguing, I’m not assuming their marriage isn’t going to last. Some couples haven’t learned how to fight…or maybe, like Marcus and Angela, that’s just their “thing.” IDK.

    GREAT topic!

    Reply
  6. Christina

    I would tend to agree. I think it’s terribly embarassing to argue and fight in public. If the situation ever arose, I would just reserve comment for later, when we were in our own environment.

    Reply
  7. NotisSum1Difrent

    @ Ayize woohsahing @ “presenting a united front will not only protect and affair proof your relationship it will also help fortify the ideal of marriage in our community.”

    Yes, the mighty united front! AMEN!! It was something I saw practiced in our home growing up. My parents (now married for going on 43+ years) were the epitome of that phrase. My 1 brother and 6 sisters combined couldn’t place a wedge between them. The united front is a force to be reckoned with. (it is also quite scriptural… “what God has yoked together, let no man, woman chick or child, put apart.”)

    I was sad to learn when reaching adulthood that not everyone (actually quite few at least among my peers) knew of that phrase and all that it meant.

    Thus the public bickering, drama sessions, airing of molded (forget dirty) laundry, etc.

    What was even more frustrating was the fact that those I was in relationships with also didnt know of or fully appreciate the concept. For one ex, it was almost too good to be true. (“So you are going to make my plate, dote on me, sit near me and respect me in public? Oh no!”)

    I digress. Public is not the place for many things let alone disagreements. And the fact of the matter is you ARE letting others in and once in, they sometimes dont leave. And for those men and women who play professional double dutch (always waiting to get into someone else’s business, relationship, etc), this could be very dangerous for your r’ship esp. if done on a consistent basis. They will see and attempt to exploit weaknesses in your r’ship. And there clearly are some because arguing in public is not a sign that all is well at home.

    Reply
  8. Ronnie Post author

    @Julie, JE, and Eric – you are totally right about not speaking negatively about your spouse on facebook. I have seen a couple going at on facebook..it was not pretty..and then they made up on facebook…. it was crazy.

    @Spenser – i agree with you too…we don’t always agree on things…. so if my husband has the floor and he is discussing something…i am not going to jump in and discredit him…if it comes around to me…I may say my point and then keep it moving…or I might not say anything at all depending on the topic. But now that I am thinking about it…perhaps the quote is not really talking about agreeing with your spouse all of the time…but about defending your spouse (support them in the face of an agrument.)
    What do people think about defending their spouse from their family (i.e – your mother/father or brothers and sisters are arguing with your spouse?) Do you defend your spouse…what if you don’t agree with your spouse…do you disagree with your spouse and side with your relatives…do you try to end the conversation and take it up with your spouse later?

    Reply
  9. T.D.

    I think that it is so important to defend your spouse in public and in private. Even though we all are human and there may be those , “Oh no you didn’t” moments, we as adults have to know when it’s best to discuss those situations. If my husband or I get to the point where our voice may rise a bit or we get that fire look in our eyes, we just leave the situation and go somewhere to discuss it before returning to scene.

    Although there are some people that could really care less and do their thing out in the open does not make it right. However I still get tickled over the lil old couples that argue loudly in the grocery store over the butter.

    But you know your spouse, what sets them off, so if you are out in public try your best not to push those buttons

    Reply
  10. Sharee

    I totally agree…now. But earlier on in my marriage I would argue with my husband in public, in front of my older brother, at church, in the car…wherever because I thought I would explode if I didn’t say something right then about whatever had just occurred. In hind sight my behavior was ridiculous! It was my husband that helped me understand how that made him feel embarrassed and disrespected. I was underminding his manhood and I didn’t even know it. But now we’re more mature in our marriage and it pretty much never happens. There have been occasions where my facial expression was talking loud and clear even though my mouth wasn’t moving…But I’m working on that too. ;0) He appreciates my effort.

    Reply
  11. Spenser Avery

    @Ronnie, Thanx. I think that you flushed out my intention better than I could. Of course I can support my Wife without being her Yes-Man.

    Reply
  12. Sharee

    @Ronnie’s questions
    That’s a hard situation. I’m not sure what I would do. I guess it would depend on what he had done or said. If I disagreed I might not say anything in his defense, but I think I might try some redirection of the conversation or situation. Honestly…I hope I’m never in this situation.

    Pitiful…I know, but I like to be real with myself.

    Reply
  13. Harriet

    @ Ronnie,

    Girl, I ran into a situation early in my marriage (yeah…during the hellish years) where we went to visit our families. My husband’s uncle waited until my husband left to start talking noise about him. But he was talking all that foolishness in front of me! At first I didn’t know it was my husband he was talking about because he was dealing with who my husband WAS, not who he is now. I didn’t go all off, but I did make it known that I didn’t appreciate how he could say all those disrespectful things about HIS nephew…MY husband!!!! and he wasn’t even there to defend himself or respond to the accusations. SMH….that one burned me up, and my husband and I weren’t even getting along at the time.

    Reply
  14. Ruby Griffin

    I totally disagree on defense my spouses in public,cause he can go overboard,if there something that he disagree on he will speak his mind,that o.k…i will not embarressed him in public,but please don’t like the opposite side ask my opinion on the situation…i will not just volunteer,and get into they conversation,but please don’t invite me in…i’m very direct…don’t get me wrong,if my spouse is speaking on something that i agree with i will defense him,definite so,if i am invite into the conversation…i’m not a person that have a hush mouth,but i’m not the one that like to get in,where i don’t fix in at…so i just listening,and wait my term to play ball….

    Reply
  15. Cheryl

    I see this as two separate issues – agreeing with your spouse at all times in public, and arguing in public. I would never dream of arguing with DH in public, no matter how agitated I might get – that is never anyone elses’ business. However, I disagree with him on plenty of things when we are out with friends – in my family we practiced debate regularly and often. He knows that if I disagree with him, it is not necessarily because that is my opinion, but it is a great way to keep conversation moving. I wouldn’t stoop to belittling language or anything like that though. That has no place in a healthy relationship.

    Reply
  16. Ronnie Post author

    @Cheryl .. you are so right there are two issues or more here (that i have all mixed up in the post :-) ) 1. there is agreeing with your spouse at all times..that is impossible..but there is a way to respectfully disagree with your spouse in public or just take it up later 2. there is arguing with your spouse in public..that should not happen, and 3. there is defending your spouse too….which the quote says you should defend your spouse always..and take their side. I like what Harriet said about defending your spouse..she defended her husband (even though they were not getting along at the time.)

    @Sharee – thanks for being so honest… it took me a minute to find my voice and to defend my husband (which I am not proud of that)…but certain people in my family would say little things…I would let slide so that I would not rock the boat..like ok they are joking..but one day..I just said ..don’t ever say that again..that is not funny..and i don’t like it.

    Reply
  17. Ruby Griffin

    Come to think of it last week at a local cafe,i was eating lunch,and a couple was there,they finish they lunch,and her husband left a tip on the table,and the wife pick it back up and start a big scene…saying he left it there for a personal reason,it continue on until the manager,ask them to leave the premise…i want to be direct,but she look at me like,i got this,and she look like she could really throw down,and i sat back down and let the profession,handle that situation,,,but it was a bad behavior,on they part,and in the public eyesight…

    Reply
  18. Connie

    Do I agree with that Facebook status? Yes and no….While I don’t believe in taking his side when in my opinion he is dead wrong, I don’t feel the need to express my objection to him in public. In those times I stay quiet and we can address that at a later time in a private setting. But when I do agree with him, Yes! I will voice that in public.
    As it pertains to being a team, what are some of the bad habits that you see couples exhibiting in public? Wooooooo where do I start??? I have an older sister AH who has been married for 24 years and she can put “Angela” to shame. She argues DIRTY!!! She belittles him in public whether she’s in front of people she knows or doesn’t know without any thought. It results in everyone around them feeling uncomfortable, choosing sides, or feeling empathetic to her husband. Sometimes it results in the other husbands feeling disgusted “this man has allowed her to emasculate him”. My mother, another sister (who is a psychologist herself), and I have all pulled AH to the side and tried to point her in the right direction or at least tell her to keep her comments private so as not to make everyone around uncomfortable. Needless to say our talks fell upon deaf ears and rolling eyes. After all they’ve been married for 24 years….(poor man he went from a head full of curly hair to slick bald and not by choice.) I digress. Sadly we cringe at the fact of inviting this couple to the family events as we know eventually what’s to come.

    Growing up I also had a cousin who felt “if he did it in public, I’m going to address it in public”, and would proceed to let’r rip right then and there. I was taught “keep your business off the street”. As NotisSum1Difrent said “And the fact of the matter is you ARE letting others in and once in, they sometimes dont leave.” VERY TRUE. To me it is like letting a disease into your home.

    No two people will always agree on everything, however it’s how you deal with those disagreements that will either make your bond stronger or start to unravel it bit by bit.

    Reply
  19. {JeLisa} @ Blogging Ever After

    I would never want my husband to feel disrespected or abandoned by me in a public setting. If I felt his opinion or stance on something was wrong, I would let him know in a loving way, and in private.

    We are a team, always. In public, that means I stand beside him and am his support; and in private, that means I am still all of that, plus his coach in a lot of ways {helping him to see what he’s got right, and what he’s got to improve}.

    But there is a balance.
    .-= {JeLisa} @ Blogging Ever After´s last blog ..Liberated and Loving Him Better =-.

    Reply
  20. Tiya

    In my marriage, it took some time, but I did have to learn that my husband needs me to have his back all the time and I do. We also make sure we keep our disagreements private, they are for our eyes and ears only and can only be resolved by us, so we try to keep it private. I have never felt that it was necessary to scream or shout in public, no one else wants to hear all that mess.
    .-= Tiya´s last blog ..We Got Our Own Thang! =-.

    Reply
  21. Thea

    I agree, You should in the public eye. I know i would since i believe its my job to protect people lol. I think thats the issue today. Yea, no public bus throwing is my motto.

    Reply
  22. King James

    haha —> HH siad… One thing I will disagree with my husband on publicly is if he dares to tell someone hes gonna do something that will get him hurt, i.e. attempt the Army physical fitness test after having not worked out in a couple of months. In the end, thats gonna hurt ME, because Im the one massaging his back and taking him to the ER because of his knees, etc

    Reply
  23. Fran

    me and my husband no longer argue in public. in the beginning we did but now we just wait till we get alone.

    Reply
  24. Anna

    Nothing wrong with defending your spouse in public. Why argue in public, let alone on FB? FB to me is connecting with friends and family and viewing pictures. I talk on the phone all day at work, I don’t want to talk on the phone at home. I go to my FB page and send a DM or just comment on someones status. I thought FB was for fun? Now we don’t only have “bullying” going on with kids on FB but arguing couples. SMH. Most of the things I read on FB is on the news and not with my circle of requested family and friends.
    LOL@ the comment with the woman getting mad about the man leaving a tip and causing a scene. Ppl can make fools out of themselves. It’s just a tip. If I get good service and don’t have to chase down a waiter/waitress for a refill on my tea or have to wait on my check, I will tip the suggested 20% of my bill or hubby will(it depends on who initated the date). My husband and I are friends on FB but don’t type back and forth to each other (we never have), I will talk on my cell with him even when we are in the same house. “When FB Goes Wrong” LOL . Some adults just need to quit being so juvie, not just a public social setting, but all settings/places.

    Reply
  25. keisha jones

    I remember when I would criticize my husband in public as well in front of the kids, and the LORD let me know that, that was not his way of speaking but that it was his will for me too edify my husband and trust GOD with the rest. It also made the kids feel like it was ok for them to disrespect him as well and that brought many problems in my household. Sometimes we feel justified about saying bad things to our spouse but there’s no justification when you are being disobedient towards the LORD. So I encourage anyone to ask the LORD to help them control their tongue and get some self control because you are not just hurting your spouse but also the heavenly father. S0 think twice before you slice.

    Reply
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