Green Room

Why do guys badmouth their wives?

posted at 10:51 am on March 3, 2013 by

If you’ve watched Steven Crowder and I discuss marriage on my daily show, you’ll already know that this is actually a pet peeve of mine as well.  I like to tease my wife about her being the boss, and sometimes I’ll joke around about the “yes dear” survival instinct with others when she’s with me. Otherwise, any joking I do about our marriage outside of her presence is at my own expense, not hers, and I’ve even tried to curtail that.  Too many men do nothing but deride their spouses and complain about marriage, to the point where one has to wonder just who is the real problem.

Steven takes them on in his latest Fox News column about the need to project a positive image of the institution of marriage:

Here’s my challenge to the real men out there; it’s very simple. If you have a good marriage, talk about it. If you love your wife, say it. If some moron tells you that you’re merely a “newlywed” or that you’re still just “too young to understand,” correct them. Openhanded slaps to the face are preferable.

Unless those of us who love our wives (and thus, our lives) make a conscious change to the way we speak of them, unless we begin choosing to elevate and praise our spouses instead of denigrate, we will be letting an incredibly corrosive self-perpetuating societal meme destroy the very institution that defines our lives.

Are we willing to do that just to fit in with some gelatinous beer buddies?

Finally, to those men out there who genuinely think of their wives as a “pain in the ass…” grow up, and learn to make some better decisions.

Also, do some squats.

A few years ago, a friend called me to tell me he was getting engaged.  I congratulated him, and told him that he was going to be very happy with married life, and that while it was tough work, it would be the most rewarding effort he could possibly make.  The phone was silent for a moment, and then he told me that I was the only married man with whom he had spoken who had a single positive thing to say about marriage.  Quite frankly, he told me, he had begun to worry about the decision he had made until we talked about it.

As men, we should be taking steps to strengthen the family and the societal bonds that it creates, not denigrating its core institution.  Venting cynicism — especially insincerely — just to fit in with boors is never a good idea, and that holds true for pretty much every principle one values.  C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Courage is the form that every virtue takes at its testing point,” and this is just one example of that wisdom.

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I introduce my better half as “My first wife”. Been using that lame-assed line for 15 years. We’ll celebrate 23 years this April. I learned it from my uncle… Who celebrates 50 years this summer.

LtGenRob on March 4, 2013 at 9:48 AM

My boys are good sweet kids but the divorce laws in my state all but assure that they will end up with their mother.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM

I don’t know where you live (don’t tell me) but if you haven’t already, look into Father’s Rights groups (in your state or national organizations) for support. This goes beyond debating marriage, this is for your boys.

Fallon on March 4, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Thanks for being a peacemaker.

22044 on March 4, 2013 at 9:36 AM

More like a busybody, lol. I can’t help it, even through the keyboard, I feel Pickle’s pain. His children need him.

Fallon on March 4, 2013 at 9:57 AM

Takes two to tango kid. If you bothered to read anything I previously wrote you’d know that marriage counseling and all that was tried. My wife was not interested. Even after 18 months of trying with about 6 months of weekly sessions, the counsellor basically recommended a divorce after we both agreed the kids were old enough yo handle it.

What makes me so mad? My boys are good sweet kids but the divorce laws in my state all but assure that they will end up with their mother. And she will take them just to spite me and to be able to collect the child support. I’ve talked to social workers about my fears and all they tell me is that unless there is demonstrable physical abuse to the children, the state won’t act.

But yup, you all are all right, I’m the a–hole!

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 9:21 AM

I did read what you wrote. I don’t think life is always a fracking Hallmark card.
And I never said you were the a-hole.
Gimme a break. I know what you are going through. My husband’s ex-wife is the wife from hell. We’ve been put through the CPS wringer etc.
If your wife is a crazy fracking b!tch & you honestly tried everything in the entire world & nothing works, then it’s a tough deal. But you did pick her to marry & have kids with.
I picked a cheating lying a-hole to father my daughter & got what I pretty much deserved bcs I look back & the signs were there.
Look, if you think being bitter & telling everyone on the world that marriage sucks blah blah blah, go for it. But you’ll notice it’s probably not making you feel any better. And if you took care to see your kids, they probably feel it as well.
Hubby & I have tried to be nice & work with his ex & it has never worked no matter how hard we tried. In the end, you do what you can, but we found ourselves at times becoming just as bitter about things as you are talking about on here.
I don’t know you from Adam, so in the end, I could give a rat’s a$$ about your misery I guess.
It may be really true you can do absolutely nothing about your situation. I would at the very least look into retaining a lawyer & being prepared for the worst. And documenting everything you can.
I think it’s interesting you think I was saying you were an a-hole.
Shows just how low you have descended into your personal hell.
It’s quite unfortunate you chose to take what I said & turn it into that.
Good luck pal.

Badger40 on March 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Badger40 on March 4, 2013 at 10:06 AM

I appreciate your honesty and your history.

I figure I got another 8 to 10 years of this mess and then I shake the dust from my sandals with regards to her. By that time, the boys will be able to defend themselves physically and mentally from her crap and they’ll have an open door from me anytime. She’ll get her pound of flesh in alimony (which is all she really cares about) and the boys will be financially secure (with no help from her). I’ll be in my mid-50′s by then and, since I keep myself very healthy and trim, I hope to have a long life doing all things I can’t do now.

One thing I know for sure, there’s no way in hell I’m dipping my canteen in that well (marriage) again!! Aside from three beautiful boys, it was a total waste and young folks she be very circumspect about jumping into it. But then again, we already see that in the marriage age statistics, people are getting married later and later in life because they know it’s not a necessity.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 10:32 AM

I was married for 22 years, and just passed the anniversary of 12 years divorced. It was the best thing she did for me, except for leading me to the Lord.

The marriage was unhappy for us, seeming constant combat broken by short spells of actual enjoyment together instead of the other way around. I’m not good with frustration, and she was expert at being infuriating. She constantly moved the goalposts, changed the rules, and especially loved bringing up things years old in order to win. We tried the counseling bit, but everything we learned she used as a weapon. When I gave in, she’d ask, “Why didn’t you do it sooner?” Then say later she didn’t respect me for my ‘surrender’ even though if I didn’t budge, she’d find ways to make me pay for it until I did. Then revert to standby #1.

Her best was, three weeks after an argument, she’d go into a sudden funk. When she finally told what was going on, she would say, “That argument was not resolved.” Translation: I didn’t win, you didn’t give in right away, and I’m still mad about it.

Please see the end of the prior paragraph to learn how things worked out when she reignited and issue.

I decided to go back to school at night. Starting my second year and lasting into the third (when I had to leave school), she would pick a fight at supper every night I had classes. I had a 4.0 GPA since my first semester, and somehow managed to keep it until near the end. I didn’t neglect my family or job or responsibilities at all; I returned to school to give them all a better life.

Years later, she confessed she had been jealous of me, and so started all those suppertime fights. Betrayal and sabotage–love by another name, I guess she might say.

After we split for good, she had a string of men in her life. I don’t know any details of any of them–it’s not my business–but she is now on her third marriage. Number two lasted just shy of three years.

I still believe in the sanctity of marriage, believing still it’s a noble institution ordained by God. But I am done with it! Not because of her, but because the women I dated are all just as crazy as she was. There were subtle behaviors in them all that mirrored my ex, which I’m certain would have become more visible, the worst traits to come out, if I tied the knot.

Sure, it can be said I just have a knack for finding the wrong ones. Or, too, women my age have so much baggage they refuse to throw off that marriage is never again in the cards for me. I also don’t want a woman raised in the modern notions of liberal feminism. I met enough of them to consider a ‘meaningful’ relationship there to be where she brews my coffee on her way out the door the next morning.

My hat is off to those who have great marriages. Like I said, I still believe in it. For those jaded men like me, I recommend you dump the anger, move on, and indulge good things to make you happy. If you have to deal with an ex, be polite, don’t argue, and walk away from her crap when she slings it. Shrewish women have a thing where, like Peggy Bundy, they feel it’s their obligation to see a man’s happiness and ruin it for him.

Liam on March 4, 2013 at 11:02 AM

we already see that in the marriage age statistics, people are getting married later and later in life because they know it’s not a necessity.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Nothing could be further from the truth, friend. Children of married parents have better health, lower poverty, higher rates of college attendance, lower rates of mental health problems, etc.

Marriage is a necessity, and while society may try to convince us that long-term cohabitation is sufficient, it is the most vulnerable among us who pay the price for the selfishness of their parents.

Longing4Lincoln on March 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Longing4Lincoln on March 4, 2013 at 11:34 AM

I don’t advocate having children outside of marriage. What I do advocate is that young people take marriage with a much more skeptical view. Unless you really want kids, there’s little use to marriage.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Unless you really want kids, there’s little use to marriage.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Again, the statistics don’t back up your jaded personal anecdote. Married people are, on the whole, happier, healthier and live longer than their single counterparts. And that whole statistic of 48% of marriages ending in divorce includes people who are on their 5th or 6th marriage. Or in other words, for each new spouse that person marries, there’s another couple out there who never got divorced.

Longing4Lincoln on March 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

If you can’t handle your buddies complaining about their spouses, then maybe you’re not a true friend worthy of trust. Suck it up and be supportive or zip it. Change the topic to something more comfortable for you, if it bugs you so much.

Christien on March 4, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Really, powerpickle, I think that you might be wrong about marriage itself. The thing that is hurting you the most is the fact you think (with good reason) that you will lose custody of the children. Do you think that you would have had no problems in this regard if you had kids without marriage? It would be the same problem. You could leave the relationship with the mother, but you would be in the same boat regarding children. My husband had a horrible marriage and had six kids. When finally left the marriage he was paying all his salary to her and the kids, and living with friends to make ends meet. He did not think he would ever marry again either. But we met, and did get married over 20 years ago, and have been happy ever since. It was hard on the children, but now he believes he should have left sooner.

His son is now going thru a divorce (in California) and the ex wanted to take the kids back to another state. What suprised me was that the court refused to allow this, saying they would not deprive the kids of a father who was involved in their life! Wow! So things are changing.

Only you will know if leaving the home will be better for the children or not. But I think that staying in a home where things are obviously are toxic might be worse than leaving.

415woman1 on March 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Married people are, on the whole, happier, healthier and live longer than their single counterparts.
Longing4Lincoln on March 4, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Would love to see the finer details of that study (as it’s basis is probably very questionable). All those categories you mention (happiness, health, life span) are somewhat subjective especially “happiness”. Define what “happiness” is and then tell me how you truly measure something like that? As for living longer and health….BS. There are way too many external and genetic factors in a humans life that would make trying to control for those in a rigorous scientific study impossible.

Only you will know if leaving the home will be better for the children or not. But I think that staying in a home where things are obviously are toxic might be worse than leaving.

415woman1 on March 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Given the age of my kids (6 is the oldest), I was told by a social worker that the state would definitely put them with their mother. I would get, at best, maybe a weeks worth of custody per month. I would likely only get supervised (mother present) visitation for the baby. I fear too much for their safety and well being to take the easy-road and just skip out and let the dice fall where they may. Those boys need my protection. I am an adult, and I can take the menacing and mental abuse. I truly fear what a sleepless night with a sick baby would do to my wife’s ability to control her temper.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I think the things we teach our kids about marriage really matter. The goal should be to marry someone who is a great friend first, someone who understands where you’ve been and who you are, and accepts it as it is. I know too many that marry based on the sexual aspect of things, and that may get you by for a little while. Ultimately the kind of friend you married will dictate how happy you are being married.

Marriage is hard work when a spouse begins to feel insecure about your friendship. If this insecurity exists before you are married rest assured it will be there after you are married as well.

Yes, people change, and yes that can mean the end of a marriage. But we have a much better chance at a happier marriage if we start it with our best friend.

I have been telling my oldest son about how much friendship matters. I don’t think he can possibly be happy within a relationship if they aren’t good friends first.

goflyers on March 4, 2013 at 12:40 PM

415woman1 on March 4, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Oh, and to answer your question in the first paragraph, no I have never once advocated having children outside of marriage (or some civil union). I have said repeatedly that the only proper way to have and raise children is in the context of a family environment. I’m not a big fan of co-habitation with kids either, some people make it work, but the law is blind to that sort of stuff (you own the kids whether or not there’s a ring on your finger).

What I have said is that marriage is not a necessary component for a happy and fulfilling life. Some may find happiness in marriage, so good for them. If your choices are married and not married with outcomes of miserable and not-miserable then, in a purely statistical sense, you’ve got a 50-50 crap shoot.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Anyone who regularly criticizes their spouse behind their back and thinks it won’t eventually get back to them is a fool. Anyone who criticizes their spouse in front of other people when the spouse is present and thinks it will lead to improvement is a bigger fool.

KW64 on March 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM

What I do advocate is that young people take marriage with a much more skeptical view. Unless you really want kids, there’s little use to marriage.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 11:43 AM

You’ll change your mind. Trust me.
And BTW, marriage is trust. Just like really great friendships.
Trust takes commitment & effort.
I’ve been on this journey, friend. I see where you’re headed.
There is no way you can protect your sons from their mother.
In fact, unfortunately, what I see is this woman will probably leave you someday. With the kids. Fathers get more custody now than in days past. So that’s why I said, retain a lawyer NOW. Just retain. Save up for that possible eventuality if things are as bad as you say.
Now that I see how young your kids are, I can see you are in the infancy of your metamorphosis. Your ideas & attitudes will change.
Right now all you are doing by being bitter is protecting yourself mentally & trying to justify your anger & position.
marriage really is worth it. And it is nothing like you’ve ever experienced when that person is your best friend in the world whom you can say & do anything with & you know they’ve got your back in good & bad times.
I’ve been where you’re at I have done that & all I can say is you’ll see I’m right about marriage someday.

Badger40 on March 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 12:44 PM

How old is the baby? Could she be suffering depression/PPD? Was the change all of a sudden, or gradual?

cptacek on March 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

How old is the baby? Could she be suffering depression/PPD? Was the change all of a sudden, or gradual?

cptacek on March 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Not the issue. Her bad behavior has been going on since before my oldest was born (we were married many years before our first child was born). Could PPD have made it worse, maybe, maybe not. As I said, she refuses anyone’s help and sees any discussion of such issues as merely a way to attack her and cast blame on her. In her world, everyone else is to blame for her issues…zero personal responsibility and no shame whatsoever.

You also should know that she was a former social-worker for the state and she knows how to play the system. She knows exactly how far “crazy” she can go without raising any eyebrows and she knows exactly how to make me look like a criminal in the eyes of the system.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM

I’ve been where you’re at I have done that & all I can say is you’ll see I’m right about marriage someday.

Badger40 on March 4, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Well, that makes one of us….personally speaking, after all is said and done, I’m really looking forward to being on my own and free which assumes, of course, I survive this season of my life. I’ll be content enough with just being a part of my kid’s lives and leaving messy relationships for others to play with.

I’ll pull a page from the George Clooney playbook, just play, live life and have fun and if that’s not satisfying enough for you, the front door is always unlocked…

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Not the issue. Her bad behavior has been going on since before my oldest was born (we were married many years before our first child was born). Could PPD have made it worse, maybe, maybe not. As I said, she refuses anyone’s help and sees any discussion of such issues as merely a way to attack her and cast blame on her. In her world, everyone else is to blame for her issues…zero personal responsibility and no shame whatsoever.

You also should know that she was a former social-worker for the state and she knows how to play the system. She knows exactly how far “crazy” she can go without raising any eyebrows and she knows exactly how to make me look like a criminal in the eyes of the system.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 2:23 PM

And you still had not one, not two, but three kids with this woman? Did something radically change after the third kid?

cptacek on March 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM

And you still had not one, not two, but three kids with this woman? Did something radically change after the third kid?
cptacek on March 4, 2013 at 5:45 PM

Yeah. Call me crazy (or stupid) but I really wanted it to work out. Sometimes you really want to believe a person when they swear they’ll change. I’m not going to forsake my children for my mistakes.

Her nastiness became more pervasive after the third but not any different in nature. Look, we were down this road in counseling. To her mind, I’m the problem and those boys are an extension of me…not that she would ever admit to it, just a theory the counsellor made to me.

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 7:24 PM

Just want to say one thing about crap marriages. My mother had one. My father was a piece of work. Yeah he worked, did his jobs both inside and outside of the family, but couldn’t deal with kids once they hit about 13. With four kids, boy life was fun in the latter years. My mother cleaned and cried. She shoveled more crap than a dairy farmer.

She finally hit the wall at 32 years. They divorced, a few years later, he died. She was single for 13 years. An incredibly good woman who was doing it for the kids. Heart of gold. Wouldn’t have said boo to anyone…But when I asked her during that time if she’d ever consider marrying again she said “if I want to look at an a****** every day, I’ll get naked and sit on a mirror”. I responded “so I guess that’s a no?” She absolutely thought that she was done with the whole idea.

Until she was contacted by (no joke), a guy she grew up with in a far away state. Her first boyfriend, first kiss…And at the age of 62, married him.

They’ve been HAPPILY married for 20 years. I have to tell you that those two could put any young couple to shame on how to do it right. You see his experience was different. Had been married for 42 years until his first wife died of cancer. He knew what happy looked like. He’s her number one fan, and she his. It’s not shtick, it’s real.

I’m still deliriously happy for both of them. And I’m reminded that even if you think that you’re done, you may not be if you’re willing to look at it. A particular marriage might be a problem, but in no way does it mean that all marriages are a problem.

I hope that you find peace, powerpickle. I really really get the point about protecting your kids, etc. But I also know that once you’re beyond this situation, you still have a lot of life left to live. There ARE good women out there. Not saying that you have to marry if you choose not to, just know that all relationships aren’t polluted.

GeeWhiz on March 5, 2013 at 12:55 AM

Well, that makes one of us….personally speaking, after all is said and done, I’m really looking forward to being on my own and free which assumes, of course, I survive this season of my life. I’ll be content enough with just being a part of my kid’s lives and leaving messy relationships for others to play with.

I’ll pull a page from the George Clooney playbook, just play, live life and have fun and if that’s not satisfying enough for you, the front door is always unlocked…

powerpickle on March 4, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Um, I’m not your problem.
Your wife sounds more like my hubby’s ex. She’s nuts. But hides it well when she needs to.
Like I said, you have years to go before you realize what you’re saying now is going to change.
It will change. But feel free to keep telling the world how rotten marriage is. Perhaps you’ll convince yourself truly forever & miss out on this:

There ARE good women out there. Not saying that you have to marry if you choose not to, just know that all relationships aren’t polluted.

GeeWhiz on March 5, 2013 at 12:55 AM

I met my husband by accident. On the internet. I’m not a perfect angel, but my husband accepted me warts & all bcs he knew I was just as sincere as he was.
I am his partner, he mine, we are both each other’s best friends, & though we can certainly function without the other around, we love to work on our ranch together, just us.
We both share the same values regarding marriage & family & raising kids, & even though 2 of his daughters turned out to be horrible $hits bcs of the mental games their mother plays (& hopefully when they grow up some more this will change), we are still together.
He became a willing & loving father to my own daughter who was abandoned by her own father & now we’re grandparents to her daughter.
So powerpickle, like I said, good luck there.
But your mindset is only temporary right now.
I guarantee it will change. I was bitter much like you & had given up much like you. Thought all men in the world were pretty much worthless a-holes & marriage was a sham.
And lookee what I got.
And if I hadn’t have taken the risk, I would not be here today.
My marriage is still hard sometimes, but I now have a partner who’s in it for the long road. Thick & thin.

Badger40 on March 5, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Um, I’m not your problem.
Badger40 on March 5, 2013 at 8:21 AM

I meant “you” in the general sense of the word, not you specifically.

I appreciate your stories but I’m not willing to concede my point of view. This is one area where we just agree to disagree. You, and folks like Steven Crowder, are “in the tank” for marriage just as I am fully against it. There’s no amount of argumentation that can change those points of view. If I could go back and express just one thought, it would be what I and several other comments have said -

“Try to understand that not all marriages are happy ones and that telling people to just “buck up” and “do better” and “respect the institution” can be highly offensive.”

Especially coming from someone who has less than a year’s worth of marital experience under his belt….

powerpickle on March 5, 2013 at 10:58 AM

GeeWhiz on March 5, 2013 at 12:55 AM

Great post. :)

Fallon on March 5, 2013 at 10:59 AM

If I could go back and express just one thought, it would be what I and several other comments have said -

“Try to understand that not all marriages are happy ones and that telling people to just “buck up” and “do better” and “respect the institution” can be highly offensive.”

Especially coming from someone who has less than a year’s worth of marital experience under his belt….

powerpickle on March 5, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Some of the positives that came out of Crowder’s (actually Ed’s) post is that you were able to vent, clarify your thoughts and defend your position on marriage. You needed to do those things and Crowder/Ed provided you the perfect opportunity. Again, best of luck to you.

Fallon on March 5, 2013 at 11:21 AM

A thought on picking a wife. It will sound odd. but think about it for a while.

Mom’s recipe, back home in Texas, for Chicken soup; started, “First you kill the Chicken.”

The first woman that used Mom’s chicken soup recipe and was willing to marry me(39 years ago) was a young Vietnamese lady who was the unit Medical Officer’s assistant/interpreter down in the Mekong Delta.

former Naval Advisor
19k30 retired National Guard

Linh_My on March 5, 2013 at 2:28 PM

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