MO AND PHINDI | Most disrespectful behaviours to avoid against your partner in public

Being critical of your spouse publicly hurts their reputation

Mo and Phindi Relationship Thursdays
Teasing is an important tool in building healthy relationships. However, teasing your spouse in public is just not funny.
Teasing is an important tool in building healthy relationships. However, teasing your spouse in public is just not funny.
Image: 123RF

No one should have a disrespectful partner, especially in marriage and nobody has the right to be so. It’s even worse when your spouse disrespects you in public. It’s humiliating, cringeworthy and embarrassing. It’s also abusive, undermining, hurtful and unacceptable.

Being publicly put down by a person that supposedly loves and should be protecting you is demoralising in marriage. Some partners may even be demotivated to make public appearances for any social gathering with spouses that disrespects them in such a manner.

However, if you have been married to your spouse for any length of time, depending on how assertive they are, you must be conscious of some of the major behaviours towards your spouse you should stay away from in public. We’re probably all guilty of saying something unkind or thoughtless to our partners in front of others.

So, we came up with seven of the most disrespectful behaviours to avoid against your partner in public.

Stop disrespecting your spouse in front of your relatives or friends

Your family and friends are people you generally feel no need to have your guards up since you know each other so deeply. Hence, the conversations are almost always no holds barred and that could include talking about your spouse. Comfortability, not malice necessarily, could be the reason why you say obnoxious things about your spouse or to your spouse in front of your friends and relatives. But you could be malicious too. You could be an immature, narcissistic douchebag who has no concept of boundaries, nor consideration of your spouse’s feelings. Either way, stop it!

Stop criticising your spouse to others

Being critical of your spouse publicly or to others not only hurts their reputation, but it nullifies whatever respect others have for you too. It paints a picture of your unfaithfulness and discontent in your marriage. It also conveys that your marriage is not a safe place for your spouse to be themselves. Public criticism of your spouse is a power-play and a punishment you arrogantly mete on them and speaks of someone who gets away with murder – with no repercussions.

Stop using social media to vent about your marriage

There’s a place for “venting” in any relationship, but that place is not social media. If you air your dirty laundry in an open and general forum, under any circumstance, you’ll only hurt your marriage and destroy any sense of trust that may still remain between you and your spouse. Venting is not about broadcasting your negative thoughts to a general audience. Instead, it’s a method of “de-briefing” with intimate supporters whom you trust. It should be done with one or two people who understand your situation and who have some kind of personal interest in the emotions you’re expressing. The purpose is to get your feelings out in the open so that you can take a second look at them, view them more impersonally and evaluate them.

Stop constantly correcting or contradicting your spouse

When your spouse is telling a story in a social setting, stop interrupting to inject missing parts or correct mistakes. Don’t always have a marker or contradict what they say. It demeans them. If they don’t tell the story the way you would, so what? Look for opportunities to honour and help them save face in public, rather than wanting to feed your hunger for correctness. Give them space. See, you teach people how to treat and respect your spouse by how you treat your spouse in public. Have your spouse’s back. Protect in public, and correct in private.

Stop making your spouse the punch-line

Teasing is an important tool in building healthy relationships. However, teasing your spouse in public is just not funny, especially if they’ve expressed their displeasure. Continuing to do so belittles them and suggests that you don’t care, even if you do. At some point, your spouse and others have to wonder, Are the jokes really jokes?

Stop belittling your spouse

Belittling is language or behavior that literally makes someone feel small, unimportant, inferior or minimised. It’s an abusive behaviour. When you belittle your spouse in public, you’re being condescending and are undermining them to make yourself feel more in control, secure and important, while making them feel inferior. Belittling is a very unhealthy behaviour that, over time, becomes habitual and can be very upsetting to experience.

Stop checking out people who aren’t your spouse

You may have heard, “I can look at the menu as long as I don’t order.” That’s faulty thinking in marriage. Your wandering eyes and careless words may cause your spouse to feel insecure, inadequate and without value. When you openly pass flirtatious remarks to people you aren’t married to – even playfully, you’re not only degrading your marriage, but you’re also opening a door to physical infidelity and could mislead the other person into thinking that you’re fair game. Your marriage will begin to breakdown whenever you start acting like you’re are single. Respect yourself. Honour your spouse.

In conclusion, public disrespect of your spouse not only changes the mood, but it also brings a level of awkwardness. Your persistence with them also unfairly forces people to take sides in your toxicity and disrespect, a posture that they shouldn’t be subjected to in the first place.

Marriage takes work, a willingness to serve one another and an unwavering commitment. Throwing public humiliation into the mix is both harmful and unnecessary. May we love our partner with our actions and our words.

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