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Can I vent?

Have you ever asked someone that? Or been asked that? I remember when I had small children, my girlfriends and I would do that; talk about how frustrating it was to repeat something over and over again to no avail; bemoan the always increasing pile of laundry; mourn over the never ending cycle of colds shared throughout the house. We weren't really looking for advice, we were just venting. Venting is not looking for counsel. It's mostly just complaining.

I knew from the beginning of my relationship with my husband that he is a private person. I learned very quickly not to vent to anyone about him. I have, however, sat among a group of women where that happened frequently. And I left those situations wishing I'd had the courage to say, "stop!"

Venting about our husbands is a bad idea. Please, please don't misunderstand me. I am not talking about women who have serious sin issues with a husband, like verbal, emotional, and physical abuse, gambling, or alcoholism. Those things are serious, and demand help. A woman needs to have someone to counsel her in those situations. But as I mentioned, I don't think venting wants counsel; it just wants to complain, and usually about fairly insignificant things. If we want to work through those annoyances, we need to pray and then go to our husbands and discuss it with them, not the world at large. 

Venting about husbands is disrespectful. It's often a violation of privacy. Not every intimate detail of our lives needs to be shared with everyone. I don't want to know the faults of my friend's husband.  I just want her to have a good marriage, and I want to support her with my friendship. I want to like my friend's husband, not have my opinion coloured by her nitpicking complaints.

One way we can show love to our husbands is to speak well of them everywhere. To regularly vent about my husband means I'm not speaking well of him. When a friend continually vents to me, I need to have the courage to suggest she not do it. She needs my support and love, not me nodding my head and agreeing. And if we are silent during such times, will our friend assume our agreement?

Venting in groups is especially problematic, because when one begins, it's often motivation for others to start. It begins to escalate out of control. You know what? I know other people's husbands have faults. Just like you know my husband does. But how is group venting about those faults glorifying God or encouraging anyone? When Paul exhorts women to "respect" their husbands (Eph. 5:33) does that include publicly tearing him down? Would we feel loved by our husbands if they sat among a group of men and tore us down, complaining that we needed to lose a few pounds or take a few cooking lessons?

If you have a friend who comes to you and vents about her husband, criticizing him, do you not think she would do the same about you? Maybe she vents to her husband about you.

We need to overlook petty differences, determine what is a serious issue, and prayerfully consider how to cope with them. When we have serious problems we should be careful about whom we allow into those situations and limit it to a very few trusted individuals. My suggestion would be a pastor, older woman, or relative.

Speak well of your husband in public. Having women friends is nice, and they can be supportive. But close female friendships can exists without telling them every detail of our lives. Honesty can be overdone.

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Reader Comments (3)

Wise words.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAimee Byrd

And if you know you're spouse is venting about you, don't vent about them. Not even about them venting about you. If you want to get back at them, speak well of them, even if they don't know about it. It will please God and you will have your reward in heaven.

October 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScriptureZealot

I've made it a policy to never discuss my husband negatively to others. I believe my marriage is stronger for it.

October 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

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