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Standing up for your spouse is important. But it’s also important to know how to stand up for your spouse. Everyone needs to stand up for their spouse because everyone needs to be stood up for. We all need it in different ways but we all need it.
How do you stand up for your spouse? You stand up for your spouse by protecting them and their feelings, loving them and having their back.
Before I married my wife she told me that it was important to her that her husband stand up for her. I wasn’t sure what that meant then, but I’ve learned since. Unfortunately, I haven’t always been the best at standing up for her, but I’ve learned and am getting better. That’s how marriage goes.
As I was studying this topic it seemed to me that men in particular struggle with standing up for their wives. I wondered why. Obviously both spouses are to stand up for and defend each other. I believe both men and women need to be defended but in different ways. but I feel men might need a little more help than women to know what to do and how to stand up for your spouse.
What Will I Learn?
An Example of Standing Up for Your Wife
This is perhaps the most common group of people in which you might need to stand up for your spouse. You will need to stand up for your spouse with your family.
Let’s use our imaginations for a minute. Let’s say Tim and his wife Michele are at dinner with Tim’s family. Over the course of the meal, the topic of conversation turns to Michele and her way of parenting her kids. In this example, it should be blatantly obvious to Tim how she must be feeling. He has a choice, he can either put an end to the criticism or just stay silent.
Michele feels uncomfortable, she feels like his family is ganging up on her and she feels attacked and unsafe. If he doesn’t say something she is going to be very upset with him. They are, after all, his children too. Women have a basic need for safety. If Tim doesn’t say anything leaving Michele feeling unsafe and maybe embarrassed. They will most likely have conflict in the marriage immediately after the dinner if not during. However, if Tim does speak up and defends his wife then she will feel much more love and affection toward him. A win-win for the relationship.
Let’s reverse the situation a little bit. Let’s say that it’s Michele’s family that is critiquing Tim. Tim will certainly feel uncomfortable but more than uncomfortable he will feel that his wife is more loyal to her family and not to him. This to him creates distrust and hurt feelings. For him, it’s not so much about safety as it is loyalty. It’s not quite the same as Michele’s feelings, but it’s still important. Both partner’s feelings are just as valid. Obviously both of these situations are bad and will affect the relationship negatively.
Why You Need to Stand Up for Your Spouse
We’ve gone over how we feel when our spouse doesn’t stand up for us, but why do you need to do it?
When you got married you chose your spouse, you left your family, best friend, and other people behind. Your spouse became your new best friend. They became your number one. Every day we have choices to make, those choices reflect your relationship that you have with your spouse. What do they say about it? Do your actions say that your spouse is number one? or do they say that your mom is still your best friend? Act like your spouse and marriage is your top priority.
Another reason that you need to stand up for your spouse is because they’re your spouse! They’re your other half. If someone is criticizing your spouse they are criticizing you. In the above example with Michele and her kids, Tim needed to remember that they were his kids too. He parented them just as much as she did. In a sense, criticizing Michele is criticizing Tim. If Michele’s family criticizes Tim and his decisions they need to remember that Michele was one of his decisions.
A lesser but more selfish reason would be because of what will happen if you don’t. Obviously you should stand up for your spouse because they’re important to you, but if you don’t your marriage will certainly suffer. If you do stand up for them your quality of relationship and life improves. Martin Luther King Jr said, ” In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Your spouse isn’t going to be thinking that about that jerk who said something rude, they’re going to be thinking of if you stayed quiet or if you stood up for them.
But what if Tim disagrees with how the kids are raised. Should he join in with the family? Stay quiet? Or defend his wife? I believe the answer would still be to defend his wife. If he disagrees with her in regard to the issue that would be a topic for another day.
When to Stand Up for Your Spouse
Your spouse needs you to stand up for them anytime they feel attacked, embarrassed, under pressure or even just uncomfortable.
Family. There are many situations in which you might need to stand up for your spouse with your family. Some times family members are so protective of their siblings or children that they are not very inviting to their spouse when they get married. This distaste can continue in the years following the wedding. Make sure your family knows that your spouse is more important to you than they (your family) are to you. This can be difficult because you grew up with your family, but you made that choice when you got married.
Work. People love to tell stories and make other people laugh. This could mean telling a joke or story about your spouse to your coworkers. If they hear these kind of things, they will feel like it is okay to say or joke about because you did it. Or, some people like to vent their frustrations at work with their friends. Again, if you say negative things about your spouse the people around you will believe that it’s okay to do. Stand up for your spouse by not ridiculing or saying negative things about them in the first place. Protect their name. If someone does say something inappropriate speak up. Don’t let it happen.
You may need to stand up for your spouse with strangers. If someone says something rude to your wife what do you do? Do you stand up for her or stay silent? I don’t think men need this kind of support as much as women do, but still, look out for each other.
If you get home and see your spouse on the front door talking to a salesman and you know that your spouse is most likely uncomfortable with the situation go help them.
If someone is being offensive don’t be afraid to stand up for your spouse.
If someone is teasing your spouse and you can tell that your spouse is not enjoying it do whatever you can to help them out.
Standing up for your spouse basically means helping their situation improve if you can. You know your spouse, you know how they feel, what they like and don’t like, what they do and don’t appreciate. Support them.
How to Stand Up for Your Spouse
When you stand up for your spouse we know that you speak up, defend and support them, but these things tend to bother us even after they end. What do you do after the moment occurred?
Validate. If someone has said or done something to your spouse that hurt them you need to validate them. Let them know that their feelings are valid, that whatever was said was rude or uncalled for or untrue depending on the situation.
Reassure. If someone says that your spouse sucks at driving you would tell your spouse that they don’t suck at driving. Pretty simple isn’t it. If they are doubting themselves reassure them and help them know that everything is going to be okay.
Make boundaries clear. If it was someone that you know and not some stranger that caused the offense make sure that person understands that what happened was unacceptable and that it cannot happen again. Make that boundary clear.
Love. If your spouse has been hurt, show them an increase in love. Spend time with them. For example, let your wife know that you still love her even though her friend said something rude.
The aftercare is just as important, especially if you are not present when the incident happened.
What if Tim’s family made their comments to Michele without Tim being there? When Michele tells him what happened is he going to think “Phew! Glad I wasn’t there!” Or is he going to validate her and reassure that they are raising their kids right.
Final Thoughts on Standing Up for Your Wife
Every person and every couple is different. You know your spouse better than anyone else. You know what makes them uncomfortable, and when they need your support. Give them the support they need and stand up for them. If you need to, go ahead and ask your partner what they need. Sometimes we feel like we’re always supposed to know what our spouse needs without ever talking about it. There is no shame in asking your spouse about their needs and how you can help.
Standing up for your spouse, just like everything else in marriage requires work and patience. Do your best…because it’s the best you can do. If you are a man who struggles with this, let your wife know that you are trying and have her help you. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not perfect, none of us are.
Hopefully, this helps you understand when why and how your spouse needs you to stand up for them, but again, your spouse can help you more than I can. Good luck!