Bragging Rights

Is it appropriate for a woman to “brag” about her husband? Children? Grandchildren? Well, it all depends. If the motive is to impress people, or if it springs from pride, arrogance, or a sense of competition, then we ought to keep our mouths shut. But if it is a way to honor your husband or your children in a public way, in a manner that would bless them, I think it can be edifying for everyone.

The bottom line always seems to be wisdom. Who is hearing the comments? What is the context? When I was first married and attending my first Bible study for married women, I was very surprised by the unkind comments made by wives about their husbands. I didn’t want to say anything about my own wonderful husband for fear of making them all feel bad that they got such crummy ones. Later I began to catch on to what was happening, and I decided that I should feel free to be positive about my husband unless the situation was a touchy one.

For example, say your husband sent you a beautiful bouquet of flowers out of the blue, and you are delighted and thrilled. Your good friend (whose husband hasn’t given her a Christmas or birthday gift for years) stops by. You know that she is going to ask you about the flowers, and you know she is going to feel jealous that you have such a generous, kind husband. What do you do? Well you certainly don’t lie, and you don’t hide the flowers under the sink. If she asks, you tell her. At the same time, you don’t need to go on about how wonderful your husband is because it is obvious to everyone he is a great guy. After all, the evidence is on the table.

Sometimes women with healthy marriages are tempted to share something negative just to “connect” with the other women in the room who are having marriage problems. This is not necessary and it isn’t helpful. We don’t need to pretend we have perfect marriages, but neither do we need to give examples to back this up. Discretion, wisdom, kindness, and humility are to govern our tongues. And that’s a tall order.

I love “bragging” about my kids and grandkids. But I don’t want to bore everyone with another story about my grandkids’ antics. It takes wisdom to know your audience. Though my mom would be delighted to hear stories about them, someone else may not have the same enthusiasm. This seems obvious enough.

When it comes to talking about our husbands, we ought to be able to express our gratitude and admiration freely. It really is the golden rule.

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6 thoughts on “Bragging Rights

  1. Oh, this post is so great! I need to print this and read it over and over. After reading the Fruit of Her Hands and getting my respect in gear, I have encountered similar situations. Some where I have struggled with feeling bad that I have such a great husband while others were “suffering” (later realizing that there was just a lot of ungrateful complaining going on), and also feeling like I may not be connecting with others who are truly struggling because I am not having difficulties and really do think I have an amazing husband. Thank you for this encouragement – WISDOM is what I need, and God loves to give it. Keep writing – I love it!

  2. I have felt like this often. In a society where “husband-bashing” has been elevated to an art form, I usually just keep my mouth shut. I am blessed with a husband who loves to care for me, and surprise me with romantic gifts, and goes out of his way to honor me, but I often keep my mouth shut about this because usually other women tease us or roll their eyes or I’m afraid, as you said, that it will make them feel bad. I never really thought about it much before, but I appreciate these words of guidance.

  3. ‘Sometimes women with healthy marriages are tempted to share something negative just to “connect” with the other women in the room who are having marriage problems.’

    A temptation I have felt in the past, though I had not identified it so clearly before. It does backfire. The one person I did this with now assumes a knowing attitude about my marriage, as if my husband is really a jerk no matter what I think or say. That certainly wasn’t the point.

  4. Thank you so much for addressing this. I’m going to have to mull this over some more, but I really appreciate it. Maybe I’m still acting like a newly wed (just over a year now), but I really struggle more with the bragging than the complaining. This and the previous post should help.

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