When Did Verbal Spousal Bashing Become a National Pastime?


Every year I celebrate my husband’s birthday like it is a national holiday. This year was no different. To celebrate his forty-fifth birthday we decided to, as we always do, go somewhere that neither of us has ever been before. This time it was Pennsylvania. We had an amazing week and wrapped it up with a shopping spree at one of the local outlet malls.

As that last day wore on, we still had a lot of ground to cover, so we occasionally split up, but not without first telling the other which store we would be in. I found a few things that I wanted to try on, but wasn’t sure if he had heard me when I called over to him with the location of my next spending target, and… I’d actually forgotten where we parted ways. As I always do, I asked the sales clerk to watch for him before I entered the fitting room.

“Could you please watch for a tall, gorgeous silver fox? He belongs to me and I don’t remember where I left him.”

“Sometimes, that’s a good thing!” She snorted as she walked away.

“Not this one!” Was my desperate-sounding reply that echoed through the store.

I stood in stunned silence and realized that we have an epidemic on our hands. I’d seen this before. I’d lived this before.

During my second marriage there seemed to be a not-so-secret club where we all ridiculed my then-husband. In the beginning of our relationship, I defended him; but as the years passed, I discovered that he was a very ill-suited mate and found myself sitting in the driver’s seat of the band wagon. I lived to make him look and seem “this big.” I guess it was my way of punishing him for all of his wrong-doings in our marriage. However, when I met my forever-husband, my heart changed. I couldn’t imagine compromising his integrity for even a second.

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From that day forward, whenever I was around people mocking and bashing their respective partners (whether behind their back or in front of it), each negative word hit my skin like acid. I realized that I could no longer tolerate associating with people like that. I became a champion of honor and respect toward spouses.

Curled up on the couch with my love one night, we flipped through the channels, finally landing on a sitcom that I used to watch long before we met. It was one of my favorites back then. But as we watched it, I could literally feel my skin begin to prickle. The sitcom was the life of a “happily” married couple with a handful of kids; but almost every episode revolved around the wife treating her husband like a child, the husband acting like a child and all the while doing everything they could to outsmart each other. They lied to and mocked each another in front of their children, family and friends. And we, the audience, laughed at their shenanigans.

We all laugh.

It isn’t the only sitcom like that out there; the epidemic has infiltrated our society at a break-neck pace in both the entertainment world as well as the average Joe’s regular day-to-day. I guess respect and love just isn’t a ratings grabber in this day and age.

It’s not funny anymore to me though, it only hurts my heart.

I have never heard a wedding vow say, “Do you accept the fact that you will be the butt of all jokes and made a mockery of until death do you part?” Or, “I promise to always treat you with disrespect and insensitivity…” Aside from the negative ramifications that occurred when Eve ate that shiny apple, I have my doubts that she ran around the Garden of Eden telling everyone about the skid marks that she has to repeatedly wash off of Adam’s fig leaves? So how is it that we forget, so quickly, about the “love, honour and respect” part of vows?

In a perfect world, not living by ones wedding vows should be punishable by law (or at least subject to public flogging by that person’s peers); but until that perfect world is created, I will just have to ignore the negative comments that infiltrate my world and love on my husband a little bit harder.

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