Celeste Erlach was breaking down. The young wife and mother of two had been enduring countless sleepless nights with crying babies and the stress of living up to the unreachable standards of motherly perfection. On top of that, she felt that her husband was not doing his part to help out.
So Celeste wrote her husband a letter. But not just any letter. She wrote an open letter and posted it on Facebook. It has since gone viral.
Many see Erlach’s post as a war cry for thousands of young mothers who feel overwhelmed and under-appreciated. Her comments about her husband’s inability to handle a screaming infant or to cook for the family or to voice some measure of appreciation for what she does resonates with many women.
Forgive me for bringing this up but I can’t help but wonder if maybe Facebook isn’t the best place for this conversation to take place.
Call me old fashioned but shouldn’t the open letter to her husband have been placed on the kitchen table instead of a Facebook wall?
I don’t know Celeste Erlach or her husband so I can’t say if she's overreacting or not. I do know that there are many men who have failed in major ways to lovingly serve and lead their families. They have believed the lie that simply putting food on the table is enough. They have put recreation and personal fulfillment before their family. When they come home from work at the end of the day, their wives feel as though they now have another kid to take care of instead of a relief. While I can’t speak for the Erlach home, there is no doubt that Celeste’s complaints are legitimate in many families.
Still, I can’t think of a lot of longterm positive results in the Erlach home that can come out of a post like this. Can you? Imagine Mr. Erlach saying to his friends at work, “Yeah, things weren’t so good at home but once she embarrassed me on the Internet, boy the romance really went to the next level.” I can, however, think of quite a few negative consequences. Here are some.
More communication troubles.
Fear that the next mistake will become another viral Facebook post.
Celeste Erlach’s post is a microcosm of the larger world of social media. That is, there are many public conversations that would be much better if they happened in private at a kitchen table or in a counselor’s office. Here’s the problem. Conversations at a kitchen table don’t tend to go viral. Breakthroughs in counseling sessions don’t usually become rallying cries for women around the globe. But they often bring healing to the immediate situation and that should be enough.
Rather than taking our concerns to the perpetually outraged social media mob, our families would be much better served by simply looking to the gospel.
Husband, love and serve your wife. The Bible says to love your wife, “As Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). Christ demonstrated his love for the church by dying on the cross (Romans 5:8). Changing a diaper should be no problem for you.
Wife, bear with your husband when he messes up. Yes, I said when, not if. He will mess up. Don’t turn his mistake into a social media platform or even a gripe session with the neighbor or your mother at the expense of his reputation. Go to him. Be patient with him. And if he still doesn’t change, seek outside help. Just look for that help from a trained professional or trusted friend, not the social media mob.
Marriage is a beautiful union between two imperfect people. There will be obstacles on the path. You’ll have to navigate around them together. Teamwork is required. But it is all worth it. The joy of working through a problem together with the one you have pledged your life to is far better than the temporary feeling of empowerment that comes from thousands of thumbs up icons from strangers.