What can you do if friends, coworkers or family members treat your man with disrespect? What if they purposely try to humiliate him, put him down, make fun of him, insult him and make him the butt of their jokes?
First of all, I am assuming that you are a disciple of Christ and that you are seeking to walk in obedience to God’s Word and that you are seeking to please Jesus above all else, that you are submitted fully to Him as LORD and Master of your entire life.
Second, I am assuming that the guy you are seeing is truly a disciple of Christ. I am assuming he doesn’t just talk about being a Christian, he wants to live in obedience to Jesus and he is grieved by any sin in his life and wants to repent immediately if he truly sins (by God’s definition, not yours). If you are dating a guy who claims Christ, but values sexual immorality, greed, hatred, selfishness, dishonesty, active addictions, stealing, idolatry, major anger issues, physical abuse issues, etc… please seek godly wise counsel and seek God fervently in prayer. It may be time to step back from the relationship until this man repents and shows a real change in his life for a significant period of time (many months or years).
THIS IS HARD
One of the hardest things for me to deal with – even after I finally figured out a bit what godly femininity was and how to stop my inadvertent disrespect, how to stop being controlling and how to truly respect Greg – is handling times when other people disrespected Greg. I spent 2.5 years, several hours a day in study and prayer and read over 30 books and wanted so much to “get” all of this stuff about respecting my husband and honoring him. So, when someone is disrespectful toward Greg, my knee jerk reaction is to fight!!!! I have to be VERY, VERY careful and not respond to hastily in such a situation.
Here are my thoughts on this issue. But, more important than my ideas, we must each be sensitive to God’s Spirit, His Word and His wisdom.
Some passages of scripture that apply in how we treat those who are mistreating our men:
- I Corinthians 13:4-8
- Matthew 7:1-5
- Matthew 18:15-17
- Romans 12:9-21
IF IT IS SOMEONE IN YOUR FAMILY, OR AMONG YOUR FRIENDS
I believe it would be important and appropriate for you to ask them to stop speaking so negatively, so disrespectfully, so critically about your man.
Sometimes, parents, siblings or friends may see real red flags and truly be concerned for you. In that case, if they share these concerns privately with you, you can say something like, “Thank you for loving me so much that you want to share your concerns. I will prayerfully consider them.” Seek God about whether this is a valid concern, particularly if the person sharing the criticism is a godly person who has God’s wisdom. If they are concerned about an actual habitual sin or character defect, that is something to pray about. You may even need to speak to a godly woman mentor that you can trust about it if you are not sure what to think.
But, if the criticism is given not in a spirit of love and concern, but in a spirit of hatred, contempt, self-righteousness or pride, still weigh the criticism carefully against God’s Word, but reject it if it does not line up with Scripture. So, if the complaint is that he is “the wrong race,” “not smart enough,” “not rich enough,” “not talkative enough,”… etc, these may be invalid criticisms. When criticisms are about how he looks or what kind of car he drives or superficial things, they are probably not things that matter much to God. Now, if he is extremely irresponsible with money, can’t keep a job, won’t submit to any boss he ever works for, is chronically dishonest, doesn’t want to work or has any active addictions – those things are real problems. Bt if he is willing to work, is responsible with money and is seeking to love God and to love people, the superficial things are probably not very important. What matters most is his heart for God, how he treats you, and how he treats other people.
If the issue is the heart of the person criticizing your man, not a major character flaw in your guy, then, I vote to gently, respectfully, firmly confront your family member or friend and ask them to stop talking about your man like that. Ask them to stop the criticism, the negativity, the insults and the disrespect. If they will not, then you may need to pray about what to do. Matthew 7:1-5 then Matthew 18:15-17 would be appropriate.
IF IT IS SOMEONE IN HIS FAMILY
This gets trickier. Most likely, it would be best to trust him to handle his own relationships and to respect whatever course of action he believes is best. This is hard!!!!!! It is hard to sit and say nothing while someone is insulting the man you love and respect. There may be a time to say, “please stop speaking so disrespectfully to him.” Or “please stop insulting him.” Or, “please do not speak to him like that.” There could be times when God prompts you to say something even more firmly.
BUT, a word of caution…
In a man’s world, for a woman to jump in to protect him from his own family, could feel very disrespectful to him.
Most men appreciate a woman trusting and respecting him to handle his relationships as he believes is best. If a woman jumps in to try to protect him or rescue him, it can feel emasculating. He may think that she doesn’t think he can take care of himself. So, be very careful before jumping in. In fact, you may want to ask him (privately) what he would prefer for you to do when his family talks to him like that. But even then, be careful. If you criticize his family, even if it is justifiable criticism, that can feel disrespectful to some men, as well.
Prayer is always wise. And, hopefully, you have a godly wife mentor who has been married for 15+ years and who is respecting and honoring her husband who you can ask advice from and pray with about issues like this!
If you have been in a situation like this, and you believe God has given you wisdom about how to approach it and you would like to share, please do!
If any of our brothers in Christ would like to share how they would prefer a woman in a relationship with them to handle this type of situation in a constructive way, you are welcome to share as well.