Laughing with friends a dinner recently, I told of the horrific bought of strep throat that I’m overcoming. Terrible is the word that best describes not being able to get out of bed for three days and crying myself to sleep many times because of the excruciating pain. However, I didn’t keep the focus on myself. Instead, I chose to highlight that my husband wasn’t very sympathetic. We exchanged a few laughs and made some generalizations about how men tend to be less empathetic than women.
I didn’t mean to harm Jason with my words, but there was disrespect in my words.
When Jason and I were preparing for adoption, several years ago, we attend a series of educational classes. Our social worker stressed the importance of implementing a zero-tolerance policy for not only racist remarks but also any stereotypes. For example, someone saying, “All Asians are good at math…” usually doesn’t mean anything derogatory by their comments, but is still not appropriate. Her caution to us is that comments such as that can be hurtful to a child. Especially, if they heard these words during a time when they were not feeling fully Asian because they live with a Caucasian family nor feeling Caucasian because of their genetics. Ever since, I’ve been hypersensitive to comments and generalizations regarding race and physical appearances.
Why don’t we as wives implement a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to speaking about husbands?
Our words hold a lot of weight, don’t they? I’ve written before about my struggle to guard my words, but I’ve never thought about irradiating sweeping generalizations or stereotypical comments from my vocabulary. Such remarks such as, “Husbands aren’t compassionate when their wives get sick,” does not build up the community of men nor is it true.
I told the story to receive validation from other wives, but I ushered in a critical spirit towards our husbands. It seems harmless at the time, but I’m sure many husbands take great care of their wives (in fact, my husband is usually among those men). If I’m going to have a zero-tolerance policy for husband bashing or false stereotypes, I have to hold myself to that same standard. It beings with me. Highlighting one mistake or applying a bad habit across the board is not truthful or edifying.
It’s easy and comical to poke fun at the difference between men and women, but regardless of our intent, our words still hold the power of life and death.
The tongue has the power of life and death… ~ Proverbs 18:21
To be wives who choose to avoid “death talk” is notable, but why not go a step further and make sure to speak life in those moments. To be wives who don’t just resist joining in the male bashing, but build up husbands everywhere. Instead of nodding along when someone says, “All guys…” take that time to point out that not all men do that. When you see a funny but derogatory meme on social media, don’t share it or even like it. Imagine how loved our husband will feel if they know their wives hold a zero-tolerance policy for ourselves and those around us.
What would be the most difficult part of implementing a zero-tolerance policy in your life?