When I first got married I remember several women, both of my own age and that of my mother’s, warning to me to be careful of those “mom groups”, or “wife’s night out gatherings.”  They gave a cautionary tale of the tendency many women have when in groups to uncharitably gossip and more specifically to talk poorly about their husbands.  I quickly noticed their warnings to be quite accurate both in small gatherings as well as on TV and within the media itself. And it wasn’t just the slightly cutting jokes made with well intentioned humor, it seemed to be an almost borderline, habitual discussion that was the default to most interactions.
I think most women still want to be with their knight, that man who will protect them and care for them and love them in good times and in bad.  But all you need to do is turn on the TV to see men being portrayed as stupid, unfit, childish creatures who can’t possibly survive on their own much less be an active and competent part of raising their children. While bits and pieces of truth are often present even within the most exaggerated humor, it’s a dangerous game to play within our relationships and marriages.  Men and women are made to complement one another, to work in a way that one’s strengths make up for the other’s weaknesses, and for the end result to be a deeply committed team that functions best when doing so in concert.
But there is the good kind of “gossip” too.  The kind that is real and honest (though not untruthfully boastful) and works to encourage one another and build one another up. It’s good for us as women to remind one another, and more-so ourselves, of the qualities in our men that we love so much and take for granted too easily. Even when we are in our small groups having discussions our husbands will never hear, what we say matters.  And in today’s technological world, what we say online often means just as much as what we say in-person.
I’m honored to be a part of an online forum, surrounded by a strong number of like minded women who share my convictions in this matter.  They are real, they are honest, they don’t sugar coat the tough times, but they also know the vital need to focus on the good and the healthy and the honorable. When I logged-on this past January to check-in I was greeted with a new thread called: “Why my husband is awesome today.”  Some of the responses:

Because he says “I love you” in his sleep and always helps me pack my lunch. :)

Because he washed all the piles and piles of dishes I made, even though the only thing I did all day was gestate (and make a huge mess in the kitchen!)

Because even though we overslept, he was out the door on time for work.  Just like everyday.  He is a great provider for our family and I appreciate his discipline.

Because even though he’s been very busy at work, he’s made time to text me multiple times a day to tell me he loves me (and to let me know he’s busy, which is why he didn’t call.)

Because he looked up indoor dryer vents after listening to me whine about how much I hate our apartment’s venting system.

Because he makes me feel good about myself by telling me “you’re such a good mom”  at random times.

Because he emptied the dishwasher before leaving for work, and set my favorite mug by the coffee maker. And, even though he’s had a LONG day on very little sleep, he is still attentive enough to notice I’m rather drained too, and took the time to actively listen to me. :insert lovey emoticon:

Because even though he is not having any better of an evening than I am, he is totally focused on making my crankies go away.

Because even though I was in pajamas all day and hadn’t showered, he kept telling me I was beautiful.

Because he’s coming home any minute!!

This has grown into one of the more popular threads on the forum.  It makes my heart smile every time I see another post go up and it reminds me to thank my husband again, for the way he always has one more minute to play on the floor with two boys who just can’t help but want to wrestle with daddy every second of every day, or the little girl who never tires of one more piggy back ride;  for the way he never stops wanting to hold my hand and for the way he loves trying to make the kids giggle by kissing me when he comes in the room.
Growing up in today’s culture, our men are fighting an uphill battle before they even reach puberty.  The more we can encourage and support their honorable, respectable, and loving decisions, the more armor we give them with which to walk through this world, protecting and defending the women and children they love.
Have any good gossip about the man in your life to share? Let’s help each other recognize how men can make our lives so much better by their thoughtful presence!