If the answer was something tangible; something I could easily prove, I would quickly come to his defense. And usually these were the kind of criticisms I would hear. People usually (I know, I know, there are exceptions) don’t tear down a husband in front of his wife – at least, fortunately, not the people I knew.
For instance, if I heard a person say, “Pastor never preaches out of the gospels.” I would say, “He just finished a 12-week series on Luke and last spring he did one on John.”
Or, if someone said, “I was visiting elderly Mrs. Smith yesterday and she said Pastor hasn’t been over there for months.” I would say, “Well, actually he was there on Monday and he was there last Monday, too. Ask Bob Smith. He was with him both times.”
But if someone truly doesn’t like your husband and uses you as a sounding board, I would suggest you simply say, “I don’t want to be part of this conversation,” and walk away.
Yes, the person might get upset at you for not hearing her out, but supporting your husband is more important than listening to the person’s anger. Besides, the person is already upset at your husband, so she’s probably upset at you, too. If she isn’t, her motive is probably to get you to take sides against your husband – so that’s a double-important reason to get out of there.
Why not tell her what you really think about her and what she’s saying? Don’t take the chance of getting into an argument. You won’t accomplish anything. I was very defensive of my husband (as I think most wives are) and know that anything I said in such a situation wouldn’t be rational. Because the other person is already making irrational statements, right? 🙂 Just leave it alone. As hard as it.
If I could see whatever the person is upset about could boil over into the mindsets of others, I would pass it along to my husband. I wouldn’t go into detail, but I would give a general summary of the conversation such as “Mrs. Jones certainly doesn’t like the music we’ve been having lately.” Usually, the pastors I was related to – would set up a time to talk with the person and discuss the problem.
These are tough situations and no one likes to be in them. Remember Paul’s words that it’s a small thing if other men judge him. Our focus should be on the Lord. Is this what He would want us to do? That’s our ultimate goal.
Easier said than done, right?