Hang on to Your Hat

Two things in this short post. First, a friend sent me an email she received inviting her to a Bible study for women on how to keep your marriage healthy. And, in closing, the study leader said something like, “Can’t wait to share all my husband’s faults with you!” Now it may have been tongue in cheek. I certainly hope so. But it still sent a shiver down my spine. And along these lines, here is a fantastic article that I’d like to commend to each and every one of you readers, whether you are married or not. And God bless the author of this piece. I always appreciate a solid exhortation, and here’s one for you. Hang on to your hat!

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13 thoughts on “Hang on to Your Hat

  1. My husband read me from the article this morning since he saw it on Mr. Wilson’s blog!

    A quote we were told shortly after we were married by an Aunt of a friend was this “My husband may have his faults, but you will never hear them from me.” We call it the Aunt Sue rule and we apply it to our children also.

    Thanks for all you ladies do with this blog. I LOVE it!

  2. Agree wholeheartedly but with a question: A woman from a Christian online group I’m part of for large families wrote in to share that she was spent, discouraged, etc. from her husband’s verbal put downs (i.e. saying he could do better than her, etc.). She was very specific. This group has a few hundred members, some of whom know each other, but most do not. I wrote in encouraging all the moms on the group to not advertise their husband’s sins but to seek godly council from their pastor, a godly older woman, etc. The response was entirely in favor of supporting this woman’s post as a need to “cry on another’s shoulder” and accusing me of throwing out Scriptures on submission and respect inappropriately. I began to question if I was wrong since every other woman disagreed( I did receive two private emails from ladies who stated that they agreed with my point but did not want to go public). My husband supports my position also but I still am baffled that so many women supported the original poster on the grounds that she was being “verbally abused”. What do you think, Nancy, is an online group an OK place to open up about problems in your marriage?

  3. Hi Nancy,
    I would like to make a request, could I ask your advice on music.I’m a person who has loved peace day to day, (homeschooling six) yet have not minded having music when my husbands at home, or as the children have gotten older. My situation is my experience of worthy music is very limited and I feel I need direction in my explorations. I’ve experimented a bit (guides from the library, classical cd’s from the op shop)with a limited degree of success.(Maybe we started too late to nurture a true appreciation for Bach etc, or I’m choosing the wrong pieces for beginners) My love of peace and inexperience has left a void as the kids have grown.My husband and I are aware that with an increase of music listening, there’s a need for a greater repertoire of that which is pure, lovely, worthy and of good repute. Their taste is in line with the Narnia score, Celtic music, Adiemus, Ennio Morricone, Patrick Doyle,James Horner, Medieval and folk music and Nicklecreek. Your help would be much appreciated. Linda
    p.s.We loved the piece that accompanied ammoretti film. clip.

  4. Have you tried putting those artists/songs you do enjoy into a Pandora station and seeing what comes up? It might not be formal education, but you will often find avenues to new artists and styles that you wouldn’t otherwise find. Also, old Warner Bros cartoons contain lots of classical music. http://listverse.com/2009/06/30/10-best-uses-of-classical-music-in-classic-cartoons/ That link contains (among others) the story of the three little pigs set to Brahms’ Hungarian Dances.

    You might also try: Allison Krauss, Aaron Copeland (loved him since I was teen), Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King, Andre Boccelli, and Haley Westentra.

    Also, Jenn, my ha’penny’s worth says “right on!” The answer to being verbally abused is to seek counsel – not cry on a dozen virtual shoulders. Two years later when everything is back in order does she really want people she doesn’t even know still assuming that “Tim” is an abusive jerk? If so, there’s a whole lot more on the table than it sounds like she’s willing to face.

  5. To cast Jenn’s question in a more general light, perhaps Nancy could share some wisdom on the subject of gossip.

    We’ve probably all heard the standard of “Is it good? Is it true? Is it necessary?” In Jenn’s story, the woman’s sharing failed on at least two counts — it wasn’t good and it wasn’t necessary to post it in a public place. (Though it might be necessary to tell someone who can actually help.) And whether it was true or not isn’t something that anybody in the audience was likely in a position to evaluate. Of course with a wife speaking about her husband, there’s a whole ‘nuther level of issues with this lady’s behavior, but dealing with it even at the level of gossip shows that it was wrong.

    But what about the response? First, it’s hard to get away from hearing gossip. The temptation to listen is as great as the temptation to tell. The sense that we shouldn’t hurt the speaker’s feelings by telling her to put a cork in it is strong. And finding a gracious way out of such a conversation requires skill beyond the lot mortals.

    I once witnessed a woman deftly extricate herself from an impending exchange of gossip by imagining one of her children needed her. I was in awe of her agility — a combination of Houdini and Emily Post. I, on the other hand, made a feeble and ultimately failed attempt to dissuade the speaker from continuing to tell a story I still remember and wish I hadn’t heard.

    So what I’m hoping you might tackle, Nancy, is how to respond to gossip. What are some tactics for deflecting, escaping or responding after the fact?

    After writing all of the above, I decided to Google for “gossip” on the site and found this — http://www.feminagirls.com/2007/09/18/idle-chatter/ — in response to a similar question over three years ago. And who asked the question? Erm…someone who is evidently so slow to learn that she had to ask again today! Anyway, if you’ve got any more words of wisdom on the subject, I’m all ears.

  6. Valerie, I’d say ending the conversation is the way to go. If the person is someone who has an ongoing issue with wanting to share gossip, there might be a time and place to address that, but when she’s about to embark on another tidbit, unless it’s a quiet, private setting, it is probably not going to be the time and place to do it.

    So deciding that this will the moment that you need to catch so and so and excusing yourself, or a similar tactic (maybe you can imagine someone else’s child needs you? 😉 Or it’s time to clean up the communion supplies or clear away dessert after the ladies meeting?) is probably the way to go. This is dishonest if you really don’t have anything to say to anyone else or anything else to do, but surely you could profitably be speaking to someone else or doing something else at that time anyway. And it’s wrong if that’s the only way you ever use to address the situation if it hasn’t otherwise been appropriately addressed. But tactful evasion can frequently be the way to go.

    And it’s not wholly non-constructive — gossip needs an environment to flourish. I find there is very, very little temptation in my church family to share or listen to gossip, without even really having to think about it — because a gossip-free environment was reigning there long before I ever appeared. (It was almost to an extreme — there was a HUGE issue in the background of someone in the church that I did not know for years after we joined when it came up in some appropriate context, because there really hadn’t been any need for anyone to tell me about it.) If the ladies who enjoy sharing stories learn that sharing stories isn’t an encouraged pastime in whatever group you’re in, they may find the juicy stuff loses its savor.

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