How To Treat Your Husband in Public

Mistakes you may be making in how you speak about your husband to others and in front of himMen crave respect.  He desperately needs to know that you are proud of who he is, and that you think he is honorable and respectable.  The way you talk about him reflects on him.  Both in front of him and behind his back.

While I recognize this is a problem for both husbands and wives, I’d like to address wives in this article.  So here are a few ways you can quickly ruin your relationship with your husband and a few things I’ve learned about treating my husband in public:
How to Treat Your Husband in Public:  avoid wrecking his public image
I find that the tone I use to speak about someone behind their back influences the tone I use with them in person.  Beware of “venting” because it rarely stops there, but it continues to taint your interactions with them later.

You don’t get to complain about him and his flaws publicly.  If I share any of Ben’s shortcomings, it happens in a situation of counsel.  It’s rare, and it’s private.  We’ve mutually decided it’s okay to share the other’s flaws in two situations. The first is if we are helping someone through a marital problem with lessons we have learned.  The second is when we are seeking counsel about being a better spouse.

So to boost his public image, you need to brag on him.  Even the simple stuff!  While there may be things in our marriage that have become pet-peeves, or that I find annoying, that’s not the public image that I want for Ben.  My speech should honor him and make others see the things that I respect about him.  I married REALLY well, and others should know that I don’t take it for granted!  Show others how much they should respect your spouse by setting the example.

How to Treat Your Husband in Public - avoid wrecking his self-esteem

You don’t get to make fun of him – leave the jokes about your husband up to him.  Harmless joking can turn hurtful or turn HIM into the punch line if wives aren’t careful. Even if your husband can take jokes pretty well, it’s not your job to make them.

Never say anything that will embarrass him.  After we get home from a party or dinner, I like to just check in and ask if I said anything that embarrassed him.  We even have a list of specific stories that are off limits because one of us will feel humiliated if they get brought up.   Remember, your spouse gets to be the judge of whether they found something embarrassing or not.

If you ever notice that you said something which shamed your spouse, immediately apologize in front of the people that heard it.  You also need to extend a very sincere private apology later.

How to treat your husband in public:  wrecking your intimacy

Guess what – kissing and telling is bad!  It shouldn’t be public knowledge what your sex life is like.

You don’t get to share information unless you have talked beforehand and mutually agreed on what stories and details can be shared – and with what kind of audience.  It needs to be innocent humor or helpful to build the marriages of others.  And there are some stories, jokes, or problems in the bedroom that need to be for you two only.  The longer we are married, more codes and inside jokes are created, bringing us closer together.  The sweetness of some things will only be lessened when you share them.  Inside jokes bring the people on the inside closer together.  So don’t let anyone else inside!

Likewise, don’t be afraid to get help (from appropriate sources like doctors, counselors, trustworthy mentors, or confidential friends) for personal issues, but don’t allow sharing to wreck your intimacy.

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Few things plague me as much as the times when I have hurt Ben by how I treated him in public.  My heart breaks for couples who struggle with their public interactions, shaming or embarrassing the other at the expense of making a joke or improperly airing conflict.

You have incredible power to encourage (or wreck) your husband by the way you talk about him to others.  When we treat each other well, especially in public, we can develop a deep closeness and bring a lasting respect to our relationship.


This post linked on Wedded Wednesday on


  1. Steven Eynon says:

    Great words of advice Jo! I think you are right on. Dani does such a great job with all these things. I am really blessed!

  2. This is always such a good reminder for me because I struggle sometimes with my words. Never intentionally cutting him down, but over sharing! Many a conversation has happened at home after a social interaction where I thought a story was funny and appropriate, but my more private husband did not agree. This has been one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, lesson for me as a new wife. Much grace, patience, and forgiveness has been extended from my husband in these situations as I learn how to best respect him in private and public. Thank you for writing a great, to the point article about this respect God calls us to give our husbands. Can’t wait to pass it on to other wives!
    Lindsey Turley recently posted…the early daysMy Profile

    • That’s so good to hear! The most important thing is that both spouses are able to talk about it and work through calmly. Sometimes it’s difficult because I want to make everyone laugh, not realizing that it may come at his expense. Continue to work with each other as friends and take care of his needs.

  3. I say it as often as I can because it honors my wife.
    We’ve been married 19 years and it feels like 19 months!

    Love, love, love, my wife!

  4. “Even if your husband can take jokes pretty well, it’s not your job to make them.”
    Great point. I resort to humor in many social situations and it is important to remember this. It isn’t enough to think “well, if he just had more of a sense of humor…” Even if he did, we don’t need to be making any jokes at his expense. I bet this is one way that communication breaks down when one spouse accuses the other of not having a sense of humor about something when really, neither of them should be making the type of joke or comment that requires a change in sense of humor to appreciate.
    “Remember, your spouse gets to be the judge of whether they found something embarrassing or not.”
    Excellent. Everyone deserves to have boundaries like this. To tell someone that they shouldn’t be embarrassed by something is refusing to honor their actual feelings and thoughts.

  5. Visiting today from the Messy Marriage Wednesday link up. Great post on speaking publically about our husbands! There were definitely some tips I need to work on, liking joking (we are kinda both that way). Thank you for sharing truth :)
    Shannon recently posted…Praise-Worthy Words WednesdayMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by, Shannon! Joking can be one of the toughest habits to work on, because it’s easy to miss just how hurtful it can become. Thanks for your encouragement!

  6. I LOVE this post, Jo! I don’t know that I’ve visited your blog before but I’m so glad you linked this up with Wedded Wed. I don’t think I hear enough in the blogosphere about this kind of respect for our husbands (spouses) and articulated in such a concise and helpful way. You go, girl! This is great stuff and so glad to meet you, my friend!

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement, Beth! This article was a long time coming, so I’m glad you think it turned out well.
      Thanks for visiting. I love your resources at Messy Marriage!

  7. This goes right along with a book I’m currently reading, The Respect Dare. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I’d  love to have you link this to Titus 2 Tuesday this week on Cornerstone Confessions.. I hope to see you there. 
    Kathy Gossen recently posted…7 Ways to Speed Up Your Site Load TimeMy Profile

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