cop on duty?


My dh and I had a conversation about our relationship. We agreed that we should always be there for each other to protect each other if someone were to hurt one of us but we could not agree about being 'on duty¹ about it.

Let me explain: I think that my dh should be 'on duty¹ to make sure that I¹m not being 'dissed¹ by anyone. My dh thinks that he should not be 'on duty¹and that if a situation slips by that he wasn¹t aware of then its not ‘in
his jurisdiction’, even if he was right there but possibly didn¹t hear the infraction, etc.

Let me give a few examples: (but before I do I must say that I have a very, very good dh! I am proud of him and respect and trust him. It¹s just in this area that we have a disagreement. In fact my dh almost every night makes dinner and massages my feet! (among many many other wonderful things he does
as well! I have it GOOD!)
Example #1 we are at the home of a relative¹s (his relative) I was just getting to know them but he grew up with them. He knows that one of his cousins who is present can have a sharp tongue. My dh is sitting right next to me at a long table and extended family (his family) are present also
at this table. My dh¹s cousin gets up from table and as she walks away says in a loud voice for all to hear but directed at me ŒI don¹t know why you can¹t have everyone over at your house for Christmas?!¹ meaning I¹m so horrible that I cannot have her aunt, my mil, over for Christmas. Why do I have to
take her grandson out of town! I was so taken aback that I said to the person next to me 'well let me see, why are we going to see my parents¹ for Christmas (in a very matter of a fact tone) Well they live 4 hours away. They are 80+ years old. They are in ill health. I haven¹t seen them on Christmas in many years because of their trips to FL at that time in
the past.¹ Later when I spoke to my dh about this in private he stated that his cousin is like that and that he didn¹t hear her say that and that is why he could not and did not respond. (I understand that women can process multiple thoughts and tasks and men are much more single thought like, they are hard wired that way, but still I think that he should have been disposed to defending me * on alert that is.

Example #2: We are at a resort in the Caribbean. It is stinkin¹ hot! Everyone is in a bathing suit by the pool. My ds needs to nurse. If I use a blanket to cover up he will sweat buckets and if I go to my room when he wants to nurse I will be there ALL the Time. So instead my dh, dsil, and
(female) friend and ds and myself are all around the pool. I sit down to nurse my ds and shield myself from some teenage boys playing in the pool by sitting behind my dh, dsil and friend (female) who are all standing. I felt I did a good job of it. But anyway a teenage boy says 'hey lady…¹ I couldn¹t
hear the rest. I alerted my family members that I was being flagged by a teenage boy because of breastfeeding openly and my dh did nothing because he didn¹t hear the infraction (by the way my dh has perfect hearing). My dsil and friend (female) went over to the boys and got the security guard
and talked to them and told them to grow up. My dh did nothing.

There are a few examples of where my husband does take offense at others doing things but unfortunately mostly his inaction. But honestly when people are actively offending 9 out of 10 times its his family not someone outside of the family. (And its not like I¹m a walking target either or that I¹m creating these situations to get my dh to help me out of.
Believe me I¹m NOT. I think its more like because his family is a family of divorce they seem to think of in-laws as out-laws if you get what I mean, like they (the in-laws) are the reason for why the family isn¹t close anymore, you (in-law) took away my brother, my cousin, etc!) If the shoe were on
the other foot I¹d be all over my family defending him and I¹ve done so on countless occasions. But then I can process multiple thoughts simultaneously. The book I¹m reading ³For women only² states that women feel that men being only able to process one thought at a time is a sign of laziness. I understand better that it is not laziness on an intellectual
level only though. Help!

My dh and I just discussed this and he sees my point of view and on one hand we feel that maybe Hollywood has warped some of my expectations (but I¹m not sure about this one because I see other men being on sentinel for their wives) and on the other hand my dh is a child of divorce. He never
witnessed his father do this for his mother or his grandfather (his consistent male role model) do this for his grandmother. But I have witnessed other men including my own father do this for my mother.

I think my request is reasonable but I need my expectation to be tempered by the fact that my dh has had no role models in his youth for this other than maybe what Hollywood has provided.


Your husband is probably a little on the passive side, which means he is probably pretty easy going and that is probably something that attracted you to him in the first place. So, remember that you are very blessed.

Truthfully these examples that you give of him not standing up for you don’t sound all that bad. I notice two in the second example you couldn’t hear everything that the teenage boy said (and assumed it was something offensive) yet you expected your husband to hear it? It sounds like he was engaged in a conversation, so naturally he wouldn’t.

Possibly you might need to relax a little bit more and be thankful for the nice husband that you have.


Thank you for your response. I should have mentioned that I’m at least 60% deaf in one ear and was further away from the teenagers than the rest. But anyway - how do I let it go?

I mean in the books we are reading - For women only and For men only it describes us dead on! Really! And it states that women really do have a hard time letting things go. I mean it states that as part of their multiple thought process ‘windows’ and 'pop up’s come up all the time. Men are perplexed and just think - why can’t women control that like we do and have just one thought or no thought but we can’t or find it very very difficult. Things pop up from years ago or today or whatever. That is me truly. I mean there are some things that I do let go, believe me. But situations like this do eat at me. They pop up like the book says - not all the time but at times. And I’d like to let it go but find it very very difficult. How do I let it go?


I can only give you my point of view.

Maybe these are a couple of situations that you just had to be there, but I saw nothing offensive in your two stories to warrant action. I is part of my Christian value to be slow to offense and unless something is explicitt or physically threatening, I will not escalate a situation for the benefit of my wife, nor would she expect me to.


Than you everyone for your responses. THey are helpful. I unfortunately still in need of help. Please read below. Thank you!

My dh and I have something very very special together and can talk about anything. My dh and I have been married 8 years on 11/21 (feast of our Lady’s presentation). Things are better than they were. We have worked through so many many issues with my in-laws. (actually a counselor we saw about the in-law thing said that it was not right for me to pit my DH against his family and that I should learn to speak up (although others will of course say that the person who is related to the offending in-laws should defend his/her spouse but always my DH is not on sentinel and I have to speak up and my in-laws have truly learned to respect me and walk on eggshells around me - I’mvery very happy about this. I wouldn’t always have been but it seems that that is what needed to happen to get them to stop. Of course the cousin was a new addition since my DH’s family didn’t speak to that side until very very recently and therefore I had never met them until very very recently.) The Dolors of Mary really helped me through all of that. I found that OUr Lady really carried me through. I discovered that in praying to the Holy Family that I bonded best with my Mom as a little kid and that it was therefore easiest for me to relate to our Lady when I approached the Holy Family about my family. One time at prayer I really thought I heard her say ‘I AM your Mother’ and that meant to me that all was going to be ok and that She is TRULY my MOTHER even more than my own natural mother is! We were going to meet some toddlers whose grandparents wanted us to adopt them but I was VERY nervous because the father of one of them was a violent muslim who was in and out of jail a lot. (even in this my DH didn’t preceive the danger but I did!) We eventually got away from that situation. I hope those children are still being cared for well either by their grandparents or some very loving couple. We, praise be to God, produced our son and he looks like a little dh and I feel so priviledged that he does! He is so HANDSOME!

I realized a horrible truth last night after I wrote and I think the devil is tempting me here. I hope you can help me pierce through this please. Maybe by my writing this it will empower me to do so - here it is:

I recall now that the priest who married us and a counselor I was seeing at the time (I was having difficulty getting over some depression but I have never been medicated for this, it was one incident in college and my childhood and I had to talk to someone about it.) Both professionals prior to my marrying DH warned me that my DH IS TOO PASSIVE FOR ME! The priest really didn’t know me that well but both warned me that it basically WAS NOT A GOOD MATCH in that way and basically only in that way. I married him anyway. He is very very different from my Dad in that way. He is very kind and sensitive which is very different from my Dad also (I have to say that my Dad can be kind and sensitive but he is a very different person - ww2 vet, stoic, man’s man, says little, loves football to a fault (I’m not the only one who says this one!) but he is a good Dad,he can be hard to love I think more because honestly my Mom poisoned my relationship with him very early on and so I’m kinda stuck in that really.)

I have to say that by marrying my DH I am continuing my childhood - which forces me to be on sentinel for myself. No one looks out for me when people are crass,rude, stuff like that. And I realize how lonely that is and that I am missing something, something (a nice dream) that I wish I did have. It makes me feel unloved and sad. But I have a wonderful DH who I can talk to about anything. I don’t want to tell him this though. He knows what these 2 people mentioned above said but we haven’t talked about that in years and years and late last night I realized this and thought ’ oh what a horrible truth!’ how do I get past this???


Between the two situations…I’ve found that being argumentative in a family setting is like thinking there’s a winnable nuclear war. Better just to let it slide and let the other party change their tune on their own some other day. If they don’t? You’re nowhere you wouldn’t already be and you don’t look like the guilty party in the eyes of you family, which you would otherwise. Everyone’s family has people who want to instigate things and play up the drama…your husband is dead-on right by refusing to play along.

With regard to the other situation, there’s not enough particulars to go by. However, “rising to the bait” these days isn’t always involving just the loss of face – even a simple shove or a punch thrown can turn fatal if someone is hit in the wrong place or falls the wrong way after being struck. Is trying to protect a little dignity worth a murder charge or the loss of your husband?

With women, I’ve found that it can be a lose-lose situation when it comes to these things. Men are supposed to have a keener sense of honor than a 17th century French noble while a level of self-control that Gandhi would be envious of. Worse, the legal system and society have made trying to deal with these situations a figurative minefield. I’m 5’11", 240 pounds, have studied martial arts for 20 years, and have a carry permit, so taking care of myself isn’t a problem, nor is protecting my future wife or any other friends or family. But is it worth going to prison for life because of a couple of words that hurt her feelings? Absolutely not. Now, if someone was breaking into the house or attempting to kill or otherwise hurt her, then whatever needed to be done, would be done – but that’s a far different situation.

Bottom line, be glad you don’t have a husband who’s going to “rise to the occasion” for even the slightest offense, as he might that “slightest offense” coming from you the next time around.

God Bless,


I have a real, practical suggestion. Some of the things you struggle with are addressed very directly in Thomas a’ Kempis’ Imitation of Chirst. You might find the meditations in there useful in understanding that passive does not mean weak. If you relate more to Mary, my wife has a similar book,* Imitation of Mary*, though I can not give any personal testimony on behalf of this book. The point is, that if you can understand more of your husband’s passive nature, it might increase your tolerance to him.


Accept the fact that your husband probably isn’t capable of sticking up for himself much less you, especially with his family. Then, learn to take care of yourself.

If so and so cousin says, “Well I don’t know why you can’t do whatever,” say “Please feel free to sit down next to me while I explain it to you.”

If you want him to do something, turn to him and say, "Dear, fetch me a towel so I can nurse baby, or “Dear kindly shift yourself so I’m out of public view.” Eventually, he’ll catch on.


I will simply offer some observations from the only point of view I know, as a guy who has been in his shoes before.

The first example is a no-win situation. Everyone has that relative. That person who just cannot shut up and is truly the cross that we bear when we attend holiday gatherings. Let me cite my uncle as an example. An alcoholic who has been known to use drugs, the guy says everything that he thinks. The other thing I should mention is that my family, coming from new york (and with a strong law enforcement and military mix among us) all carry firearms…

Now when I brought a girlfriend over for Thanksgiving dinner one time and he was starting to mouth off, I insisted that we simply let it slide. In her mind, I should have engaged him, even if it meant all of us keeping each other at gun point. Now, how would that benefit the situation?

(By the way, I really don’t care about anyone’s opinions about guns at a thanksgiving gathering, we like guns, we carry guns, lock and load and come on over and have some pie with us if you prefer)

The second example you gave us is sort of a judgement call. Teenagers made a passing comment. They didn’t stop to point and laugh, and I might add, there is the remote possibility they were not talking to you. More than likely, they were talking (too loudly) amongst themselves. Getting security guards and confronting them and telling them to grow up is especially unrational when you did not hear what they had said. For that reason I more than applaud your husband’s not approaching them. He didn’;t hear what they said, and neither did you. How embarassing would it have been if mid-way through yelling at them he learned one had yelled “Hey Lady, you dropped something…” it does not sound as if he is passive, it sounds as though he is not aggressive. This is a very good thing, unless you want a husband who will get into fist fights over a wayward glance.


Just my thoughts. I don’t mean to be blunt, but I think you want to have your cake and eat it too. You are attracted to and love your husband because he is kind, sensitive and nurturing. He cooks dinner and rubs your feet everynight, he understands how you feel and you can talk about anything. Yet you also want him to get all macho and manly and confront those who you perceive slight you in some way. In my experience the first and second group of personality traits are contradictory and don’t exist together in most men.

I think you should 1)appreciate who your husband is, as he is; 2)become less sensitive to others’ comments so that you are not so easily offended; and 3) learn to speak up in your own defense when necessary.

One last thought – discovering your mate isn’t everything you dreamed he/she would be is just part of marriage. You probably fail to meet his expectations in some way as well – we all do. My dh is not the nurturing type and learning to accept that and love him for who he is and not who I want him to be was sometimes difficult, but a happy marriage is well worth the effort. My priest told me to write a litany of gratitude about my dh and to review it whenever I became dissatisfied with my marriage. It really helped.


THank you for your responses. DWC, I DO want my cake and eat it too! I’m a woman - of course I want it all! But its like a strong emotion thing that’s hard to control. I really like your idea of writing a litany. I’m going to try that and pnewton’s idea of reading Imitation of Christ or Mary. Thanks!


But I have to ask - DIdn’t Christ die for the church. Aren’t husbands supposed to lay down their lives for their brides? Of course I don’t want my hubby to be mamed, jailed or killed or to do that to anyone! But there are ways and there are ways - diplomacy for instance or disarming people with humor - of course this is very difficult - you almost need to be schooled in this from birth I think. So yes I guess I’ve answered my own question but I think you can agree iwth the irony I’m pointing out here. And yes as I think DWC pointed out I need to accept the fact that my dh is not perfect and neither am I so then to get on with life and some how temper my ‘windows’ as they pop up so I don’t beat my dh over the head with them. Thank you again.


For their wives, not their wives feelings. Remember that it is not really your honor he would be defending. These people have no control over who you are and the honor you carry. They are pests and the best thing is to learn to cope with pest without constantly dwelling on their opinion of you. As the saying goes, don’t give them free rent in your head.


No, no, today’s female hollywood characters would have (for exampe) given certain kinds of in-laws one more chance to take rude comments back before starting a fight (most likely involving some kind of stylized maritial arts) while the husband sits back in clueless amazement and watches… :smiley:


From a practical standpoint: Your husband can’t teach a pig to sing. You just frustrate yourself and annoy the pig. Since this pig is trying to get a rise out of you or to manipulate you, I think denying them success is the best way to go.

It takes two to quarrel. Sometimes, saying “I’m sorry you feel that way” without self-defense and immediately changing the topic is the best way to go. If necessary, just keep repeating that. Repeated failure usually extinguishes behavior eventually. It is not as if you’re doing something wrong that is going to get the police on you if you don’t confess.

What you do not want to do is to start with a non-response and then finally offer up a fight. It is like Las Vegas…a tactic that rewards intermittently is the hardest to extinguish. If their needling sometimes works on you eventually, it will be very difficult to put a stop to it.

Hollywood doesn’t like situations that lack drama. Neither do bullies. Most often, though, heaven does.


Very interesting! Thank you for your responses - especially pnewtons - he is responsible for my honor but not my feelings - hadn’t thought of it that way! Thank you!


Your hubby wouldn’t happen to be hispanic would he?

If he is I think you posted a similar thread a while back. I suggested that men aren’t always the most adept with words. So if a dispute is to be settled with words only - many husbands will let their wives do the talking (they figure the women are better qualified). All the while the man quietly stands behind her, arms folded, just in case things turn physical.

What would your husband do if you began arguing loudly with someone?

Perhaps, you can rehearse a few lines that he can say in such situations. A simple, “Hey! That’s my wife your talking to. You’d better speak politely.” would work for most situations you described.

As for being on high alert - I think you’re expecting a bit much. Hubby’s level of alertness should vary according to the circumstance. At a pool in the carribbean, at a family reunion, those are not always places I would be on high alert.


I think we girls have a tendancy to be more sensitive to negative implications from other people, so requiring our men to be constantly on the alert for verbal insults directed at us is, in my opinion, unfair.

First of all, I think you’re setting yourself up to get mad at your fiance/hubby because you may disagree on if it’s an insult or not. The result of that will be an argument and it won’t correct the original situation.

Secondly, I think the examples were a bit in the gray area. If someone was pointedly saying something that was insulting and it can’t go any other way, then that is one thing. I mean, guys see things more in black and white than we girls do, so the situations we hold them to should be more or less black and white.

Your husband seems like the type that will stand up for you if the insult is obvious. Don’t get mad at him for the ones that you don’t agree on.

And finally, it didn’t seem like many of the others addressed this, but I personally don’t agree with breastfeeding publicly and then expecting everyone there to respect your privacy. You were in a public situation and you did not use the accepted means to cover yourself. That shows a disregard for the feelings of others by expecting them to guard their glances so that you don’t have to incovenience yourself…

Frankly, the “human screen” doesn’t seem like an acceptable shield–especially if you could see that it was a teenage boy yelling. If you can see him, he can see you.

I’m all for breastfeeding. I’m the oldest of seven kids and my mother breastfed all of us. If I’m blessed with children, I hope to breastfeed them. But I feel it should be done with discretion, and that means a blanket. If not, you go to the car, hotel, etc. I understand wanting your baby to be cool, but going back to the hotel room to insure comfort and modesty is sometimes the sacrifice mommies have to make.


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