“I’m curious what your opinion is of using social media to talk positively about one’s husband. I love to brag about what a great he is (truly! I am blessed!), but lately I’ve been wondering if that gives too one-sided a view. We have our ups and downs like anyone and I worry that by saying only the good I’ll make others jealous or give the false impression that marriage doesn’t take a LOT of work!”
This comment landed in my combox/inbox last week and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. It’s an excellent question. (Thanks, Elizabeth!)
I think this issue of blogs (and other social media updates) not giving a complete picture of the struggles inherent to life (motherhood, womanhood, work, marriage, faith, etc.) is a real one. What do I mean by that? Well, when I first started blogging years and years ago, there were a great many blogs that highlighted the lovelier aspects of life, but not so many that offered a no holds barred look at the highs and lows of life.
The problem was not (in my opinion only, of course) that “pretty” blogs are less “real” than those that are a bit more gritty, but that there wasn’t a whole lot of balance.* I’ve heard from many women who felt like they were failing as women and mothers and wives because their life felt like such a disaster when held up against the pictures they saw on their favorite sites.
I think we as a blogging community have made a lot of progress in this department over the last handful of years. I just love that we now have so many voices telling so many stories from so many different angles. There’s a little something for everyone!
I’ve always been inspired by the beautiful blogs and now am equally delighted to see the women who feel called to highlight more of the struggles inherent to our vocations baring their souls and reaching out to their sisters-in-Christ in their own unique way. Many of us — who may have at one point felt self-conscious — have learned that there is no shame in honesty. And we’ve learned that we need one another. That is a very good thing.
It’s true, though — no matter which sort of blog you favor, most of us will at least occasionally open our favorites blogs, read accounts of beauty and joy, and then flog ourselves mercilessly. I wish we could all see (and celebrate) these snapshots for what they really are: glimpses of momentary victory. Sadly, our terrible insecurities step out of the shadows and throw all sorts of ugly lies in our direction. So it is in this fallen world.
But back to the specific question above, marriage is an especially sacred (and often sensitive) area of life so I’ve always felt strongly that I want to avoid making other women feel badly about their marriages. I hope I do a decent job of highlighting both the highs and lows of married life. It’s not always easy because I’d never want to throw Dan under the bus or air too much of our dirty laundry, but I also would never want to give the impression that my marriage has been flawless. My marriage is one of the finest gifts God has ever handed to me. It is also the primary place that I’ve done battle with evil and have been refined by fire.
Off the top of my head I can think of four things I do to try to achieve balance:
- When talking about marriage, I focus most of my attention on my shortcomings. After all, I am talking mostly to women and women share more of my particular temptations than men do.
- I talk about the more difficult parts of marriage in general terms without citing specific examples of my husband’s actions. I know all too well that I view his actions through a prism of my own bias. Even if he were okay with my sharing more details about his actions (and he’s insanely humble so he probably would be), I don’t necessarily trust my own account.
- Everything I post about our marriage gets run by him first. He is a very private guy and I would never want to make him feel too exposed.
- And I do (without reservation) praise my husband whenever the mood strikes. He is a finer husband than I’d ever dreamed of (or could ever deserve) and I want him to know how much I cherish him.
If any of you have any tips for Elizabeth (and me!) I hope you’ll share them!
Have a lovely week, girls!
*Edited for clarity since this has become such a hot-button topic this week.