It’s time to confess a pet peeve: I can’t stand it when women bash their husbands.

Obviously, husband-bashing is nothing new, but it’s been revitalized recently with a new trend on TikTok about “married single moms.” These are women who – in their mind – get no support from their husbands in the domestic sphere, and thereby see fit to shame these men online. In other words, husband-bashing.

In one video that went viral, a woman named Hannah and her young son got sick with COVID and isolated themselves on the upper floor of their home for a week. When she reemerged after seven days, she was horrified to find the kitchen was a mess, with her husband apparently not having done anything to clean up during her absence. There was the smell of rotting food, and some dishes had mold on them.

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On the surface, of course, this is unacceptable. It was a home with modern conveniences, so the logical question is why the husband couldn’t load a few dishes in the dishwasher while his wife and son were sick.

But rather than address the root cause of the issue – what her husband was doing during her absence – Hannah instead saw fit to play the domestic martyr and (sob) clean the kitchen herself (sob) because her husband (sob) couldn’t clean up after himself (sob). She made sure to set up her phone to capture her cleaning efforts from different angles before posting the video to social media.

The video went viral, with hundreds of thousands of women chiming in about the general ineptitude and uselessness of men, particularly in the domestic sphere.

Whatever the deeper issue beneath this situation, the viral nature of this video plays into something women have done forever; namely bash their husbands. However, this video is being held up as “proof” that modern marriages “aren’t working.”

Clearly there are some husbands who are either lazy or who use weaponized incompetence in the home, but the vast majority of husbands are decent guys who want to please their wives. Why did this man leave the kitchen in such a mess? Was he working? Caring for other children? Handling outside chores? Cooking to provide his wife and son with meals during isolation? Here’s the thing: I don’t know. Neither do you. Nor do any of the people watching the video. If Hannah ever asked him, she never related what he said.

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I think the fact that Hannah posted a selectively edited domestic martyr video without any wider context says a tremendous amount about her marriage. In fact, that was the whole point. Hannah now classifies herself a “married single mom.” The fact that she chose her husband and also chooses to remain in the marriage also says something about Hannah. The fact that she posted this video with the clear intent of garnering sympathy from strangers – rather than have a calm and private discussion with her husband over the issue – also speaks volumes.

Or, as one person noted, “If you feel the need to shame your husband publicly, you have much bigger problems than dirty dishes.”

Over the 33-plus years I’ve been married, I’ve known all kinds of women in all kinds of marriages. It’s no accident I gravitate toward women who aren’t in the habit of bashing their husbands. Such talk makes me uncomfortable, and I won’t be party to it.

Why is it so many women claim they want a man to treat them well, but won’t extend the same courtesy to him? It seems like such a simple equation. Barring situations of abuse, addiction, affairs, psychopathic behavior or other extremes, most men are simple creatures who respond well to pleasant requests. If a clean kitchen is so important, has Hannah expressed this to her husband in tones that are not accusatory, furious, martyred, or otherwise whining?

“The root cause of all marital problems is MEN ARE SCUM and at fault for everything,” wrote one man with deep sarcasm. “Please make a note of it.”

A lot of men are avoiding marriage for just this reason. Who wants to be in a relationship where you’re always at fault? And yet marriage, properly conducted, is the greatest earthly blessing anyone can experience.

Years ago, my parents retired and moved to a smaller house in a new town. In seeking a new hairdresser, my mother went to a beauty salon that came highly recommended. She wasn’t five minutes in the salon chair before the hairdresser started bad-mouthing her husband. Being a captive audience, my mother grew more and more uncomfortable as the woman snipped and cut and griped and complained.

At last, my mother’s hair was done. The new hairdo was quite lovely, but Mom told me she would never return to that shop. “How could that woman complain so much?” she wondered. “She didn’t have a single good word to say about her husband.”

My mother, let it be known, has been happily married to my father since 1958. The key word here is “happily.” And, as the experience with the hairdresser demonstrates, Mom prefers not to associate with women who belittle their husbands.

Husband-bashing is not a fun, girlie, consequence-free way of bonding with other women. It’s a cruel, malicious, insidious way of destabilizing what should be one of the strongest of human bonds.

Now it could well be that Hannah’s husband is a complete and utter jerk. The question then arises as to why she married him. I don’t know. Neither do you.

But I do know this: If you’re seeking online validation to bash your husband, you have a problem. You should be finding ways of improving your marriage, not tearing it down.

Just a word, ladies: In marriage, as in most of life, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Bashing your husbands – especially in social media – will not make your marriage stronger. A support group can be an invaluable thing. Just make sure that it’s supporting the right thing.

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