By: Kevin Lowry
“Sorry, I can’t do it tonight. The old ball and chain gets ticked off if I’m out late.” How many times have we heard derogatory comments like this about spouses in the workplace? Even worse, snide remarks can give way to all-out whining: “My husband is such a jerk sometimes” or “My wife completely lost interest in me after we began having kids.” Sacramental marriage should be in a different league than this, but we all live in a culture that hasn’t done the greatest job honoring the institution. In reality, we also know that even the strongest sacramental marriages sometimes go through serious challenges.
So what’s a good Catholic spouse to do?
Well, brace yourself for some good news. There are things we can do to honor our spouses in the workplace, and not be swayed by the cultural winds that sometime blow all around us. How about this one: always speak positively about your spouse at work. Why? Here are five reasons — and they just scratch the surface.
- Complaining about your spouse lacks class. Oh, maybe it’s fashionable to gripe and assume an attitude of superiority over your spouse. But does that make it right, and does it really make you happy? Probably not. Besides, if your spouse is such an idiot, what does that say about you, the person who made sacred vows to him or her?
- How you speak can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Have you ever noticed how good spouses make each other winners, and bad spouses make each other losers? Words matter. Speaking with honor is part of acting with honor — even when your spouse isn’t around.
- It protects your marriage. Even when things are rough at home, airing your grievances at work is the wrong venue. Co-workers who complain about their spouses open up an avenue for support from other co-workers, including those of the opposite sex. This can progress to inappropriate emotional intimacy, and worse.
- It’s good for your career. Many of the virtues that make for a faithful spouse also make for a great employee or co-worker. Besides, getting in the habit of speaking positively about others (including your spouse) behind their backs helps build a better culture for everyone in your workplace.
- It’s good for your co–workers. We are affected, for better or worse, by the attitudes and behaviors of our co-workers. Demonstrating charity and understanding towards our spouse might just inspire others to do the same.
We can’t single-handedly change the state of marriage in the world, but we can do our best to honor our own marriage vows — and our spouse. Speaking positively about our spouse in the workplace is a great way to improve our marriage, our workplace, and our walk with Christ.