The toxic culture of husband bashing by Martina Casey

Recently I was at a baby shower seated with women I didn’t know well. Everyone was married except one, she was getting married soon and so the conversation went from small talk to her upcoming marriage and then to husbands in general.

One comment after another the conversation quickly deteriorated to what I can only describe as husband bashing. Everything was fair game, from morning breath to smelly work shoes, snoring and so on. It left me wondering if the ladies had ever smelled their own breath in the morning. And more importantly, I left wondering what kind of a message we are sending to our children, especially our boys, regarding honor, respect and love in general.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage is hard, and if you’ve been married for more than a few months you know that there are seasons where it’s so, so hard. But our husbands, at the very minimum, are our children’s fathers, an honor and privilege that demands respect.

Yet this kind of undermining of men has become a cultural norm. Next time you are on social media pay attention to the number of memes portraying men as dimwits who can’t get out of their own way.

It’s a dangerous phenomena related to the cultural effeminacy prevalent today. It’s true that as a country we lack a strong paternal culture, and I’m not talking about macho men. Men aren’t who men used to be. I’m also not talking about wife-beater wearing abusers. Our country thirsts for men with tender hearts and God-fearing spirits. The kind of men that St. Paul talks about in Ephesians 5:25, men in the image of Christ who love their wives as Jesus loves His church. It’s a sacrificial love, the agape kind of love.

But in order to raise such men, we women have to reclaim our roles as loving mothers and submissive wives (read Ephesians 5:22). Not unholy submissiveness, but the obedient meekness that’s expected of Christian women. Do you know that the Greek word in the Bible used for “meek” is “práos?” When the Bible was written práos was the word used to describe the state of a wild stallion who passed the stringent training requirements to become a military horse. Meekness, in the Biblical sense, is a fine-tuned combination of strength and discipline.

St. Mother Teresa said that “the woman is the heart of the home. Let us pray that we women realize the reason for our existence: to love and be loved and through this love become instruments of peace in the world.”

So the next time you hear “meek wife” think “war-horse strength wife” and when you hear “happy wife, happy life,” think of it as a sign of our confusing and deteriorating times.

Mother Mary and St. Joseph, pray for us.


  1. AW

    I don’t hear any husband bashing in the comments you mentioned. They sound like observations that also happen to be truths. We often use humor to relate to one another and understand our lives better. Not any different than cancer patients may joke about the effects of chemotherapy on their bodies. I can imagine that a woman newly married would find solace in these comments knowing that other husbands are the same. An older married woman might have commented on how wonderful the differences are between men and women. To deny those differences would be to deny their Creator. I know there are things about my actions that my husband doesn’t understand and may even remark about to other men. But that doesn’t offend me because I was the one given a feminine mind and heart to do God’s Will. I certainly don’t understand a lot of what my husband does and says but that’s where I’ve grown in my trust of God’s plan for my family. A wife truly loves, respects, and honors, her husband when she accepts these traits as God-given and would no more complain about them than she would complain about they way he provides for and protects the family. And to be truly submissive is to accept our husbands’ vices, just as we love their virtues, as our path to heaven. The comments you mention seem so minuscule in relation to the real problems in marriages today. I cannot comment on social media because I only have e-mail but I know that it’s a toxic time-waster. You don’t have to engage like the rest of the world to know that human being are fallen and we’ve been getting relationships wrong since the beginning of creation. My advice is to get off social media and spend half of that time in adoration daily if you want to make a positive impact on marriages today.

    1. Allison Dreher

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is a beautiful gem and we agree that marriages (and everything else) would be so much better if we all spent more time with our Eucharistic Lord. May God bless you and your family.

      -Martina Casey

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