By show of hands…who wants to look bad?…who wants to disappoint other people? No one does! It’s in our nature to want to pass blame along to someone else…especially if it’s true. So, what do you do when you’re married to that person? Do the same rules apply? Here are some scenarios to consider…
1. A group wants to go out to a certain restaurant, but you know your wife hates it:
Just let the others know that your wife doesn’t like that restaurant…even though you do. And suggest some place different to go.
2. You can’t go out with some of your friends because your wife is being needy:
“The guys” are all watching a game over at a friends house. But you can’t go because your wife has guilted you into staying with her because you haven’t spent much time together. Don’t let them think that you don’t want to hang with them. Just let them know that your wife is being extra needy and is making you stay home. I’m sure they can relate.
3. Your wife made you late:
You don’t want to be seen as irresponsible for being late, so make sure to let everyone know the truth…you WOULD have been on time if your wife hadn’t taken so long to get ready. Dignity saved!
4. You can’t afford to do something with friends that you would like to:
Normally, you’d be all over it, but money is tight right now. You don’t want your friends to think you’re poor do you? Just let them know…that you’d have plenty of money if your wife didn’t spend so much!
5. Everyone wants to do something awesome…everyone except your wife:
Simply tell everyone the truth, “guys, I would love to do that amazing thing, but my wife doesn’t want to, so we aren’t going to.” Perfect…now everyone knows that you’re still cool and your wife is LAME-O.
I hope you can tell that I’m being sarcastic in these examples. This is NOT the best way to deal with them. But, what I find to be interesting is that the above responses are my (and I think most people’s) usual response. I do this…ALL THE TIME! What is the result?…it makes my wife look bad, but saves my dignity.
Make sure you are your wife’s biggest defender. It doesn’t matter that things like this are little and can be silly issues. Take every chance you can to stand up for your wife. Never throw her under the bus…it doesn’t matter if the issue is big or small. How about these responses instead…
- Let them know you’d rather not go to that restaurant and suggest another. Leave out the fact that your wife is the main reason.
- Let the guys know that you WANT to stay home because YOU need to spend some time with your wife…not that she’s guilting you into it.
- Apologize for being late…and that’s it. Other people don’t need to know why.
- Let them know you can’t do it. They don’t need to know that finances are the reason. Or if you do mention it…don’t pass the blame to your wife as why things are tight.
- Own the decision yourself. If your wife doesn’t want to do something, and YOU don’t want to do it because you don’t want to put HER in a position she doesn’t like…then tell your friends simply that YOU don’t want to do it…because it is the truth.
Although I find myself “failing” at this subject all the time, I did recently handle it better in one instance. We were hanging out at a coffee shop with family in from out of town. Everyone wanted to sit outside on some nice outside chairs they have. But, they were by the grass and Julia gets eaten alive by mosquitos (seriously…they love her). She didn’t want to go outside, but didn’t want to say anything because everyone else was super-excited about it. So, after I got my drink, I sat down inside. The others were surprised that I didn’t go outside, but I simply told them, “I’d just rather sit inside.” Julia was saved from bites, AND she didn’t have to “look bad” by going against what everyone wanted to do.
My challenge to you:
When there is a problem at work, everyone respects the boss who accepts responsibility for a problem rather than pass the blame on to his direct report who was actually the one who caused the issue. On a sports team, people love a coach who accepts responsibility for a loss, rather than blame the team for not performing well. Be the same way in your family. Don’t throw your wife under the bus.