Embarrassed by your spouse? I wish that I could say I have never been guilty of feeling embarrassed by my spouse; but I can’t say that. It would be a lie. What I can say is that I have come to the point of realizing that my embarrassment is a reflection on me and I have accepted that it is my responsibility to get over my concerns with what other people are going to think about me and how they’re going to judge me based on their perception of my husband.
For years I’ve been guilty of wanting my husband to look a certain way and act a certain way in order to avoid the shame I fear people are going to make me feel by judging me for being with someone who is less than ideal by the accepted standards. I have subjected my husband to a great deal of criticism for his perceived shortcomings and I have condemned him for his failure to transform himself into a more worthy man and a more worthy mate.
It took several falls off my high horse before I began to take a look at myself and before I came to the point of understanding that the embarrassment I was feeling about my husband was entirely my issue. I had major hang-ups that I needed to get rid of. My husband didn’t need to change the things about himself that I was feeling embarrassment over. I needed to stop feeling embarrassment and shame over the ways my husband fell short of other people’s idea of the perfect man.
My husband is who he is and he has never pretended to be other than he is. I wasn’t concerned when I married him that he wasn’t the most sophisticated, highly educated, richest, sexiest or best looking man on the planet; but then at some point I began to allow other people’s perception of him and their perception of our relationship to influence my thoughts and feelings about him and about us. I began to care that he wasn’t exactly other women’s idea of a great catch and so whenever we were in other people’s presence I felt embarrassed by him and ashamed to be with him and the worse part of that, if that’s not bad enough by itself, was that I made a point of letting him know I was ashamed to be his wife.
It was quite terrible and at the time I never stopped to think how hurtful it was and how unfair and downright cruel. I felt I had a right to complain that my husband wasn’t living up to the ideal. I felt I had a right to insist that he change the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he conducted himself to adapt the ways of the kind of man a woman could be proud to call husband. Of course if my husband had ever dared suggest I wasn’t measuring up to some ideal and criticized me for all the ways I fell short of men’s idea of the perfect woman I would probably have jumped on him and torn his face off with my teeth.
It wouldn’t be true to say I have completely overcome my issues. I still have my moments when I cringe in the privacy of my mind over something my husband does or says when we are in other people’s presence; but I have come a long way for tearing him down the way I used to. I now fully understand that I am the one with the problem. My embarrassment is a symptom of my deeper issue with self-consciousness and shame and fear of being judged in a demeaning light. I have accepted that what needs to happen here is that I need to become less concerned with appearances. I need to become more open and accepting and non-judgmental. I need to accept and love my husband for who he is and stop being concerned with how he measures up to other people’s standards.