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Discuss: The Good Wife

Yesterday, as Rep. Weiner announced his resignation from Congress, a discussion started amongst the women in the back office.  The topic of this conversation was simple: Should the wife of a disgraced politician stand beside him as he makes The Big Speech?

As you can probably guess, I was arguing that the wife shouldn’t have to stand by her man like in an old country song.  That, even if she chooses to stay with her husband and forgive him for his indiscretions, why should she have to stand on the stage and bear the shame of his mistakes?  

Basically, I see the confession/resignation/apology as the last duty of a disgraced man, the final indignity that he should have to shoulder alone.  Simply put, the wife did nothing wrong, and her standing beside him appears to me like she is absorbing–if not some of the blame–some of the shame.  So there is no reason that anyone should judge her, her future intentions about her marriage or her feelings about the situation from her absence.

One of my co-workers fell on the other side.  She didn’t believe that you could show that the “family was standing behind him,” if the wife didn’t pull a Silda Spitzer and stand near the podium displaying a united front.  She felt that it was essential to both of their public images that they show the world that they are weathering the storm together.

So what do you ladies think: Should the wife take her place on the stage to publicly show her commitment or should she let him stand alone and deal with their issues privately?  

And if I could have a follow up: Do you judge the wive who aren’t there or conversely, do you judge the wives who are?

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  1. W says:

    I agree with you. The wife absolutely should NOT stand beside him. It says to the world, “It is ok for him to treat me this way.” I know that is wrong, and you know that is wrong. But there are women out there who watch that and take her example, and stay in abusive, hurtful, and unhealthy relationships. Wives of public figures need to be examples of how to behave when you are cheated on. They need to show women that this behavior is NOT ok and they do NOT need to put up with it.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  2. Suzanne says:

    I don't think I can judge her either way. If it were me, I'd base my decision on how I'm planning on moving forward with our relationship. If I had already decided that I was going to divorce him, I don't think I would stand with hm. if I was still making up my mind, or if we were trying to make it work, I probably would. This wouldn't be for the sake of either of our images, but more a gesture to my husband that we're still trying to work through life together. Regardless, I don't think she has a duty to do so, particularly since his indiscretion was against her moreso than it was his office.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  3. alicia says:

    While I personally would never stand in the background of such a press conference, I think what each wife chooses to do is her business. But… it should be her choice. The handlers of the disgraced politician should back the eff off and let her decide how public, if at all, she would like to be in her support of her husband.

    Even with all the information out there about Weiner and his behavior, we do not know what his marriage is really like behind closed doors. Nor do we know about the Clintons, Spitzers, Vitters, Sanfords, etc. It bothers me personally that women would be expected to stand in support of a philandering spouse, but if that is their personal choice, if their love for him outweighs their humiliation, who am I to deride what may very well be part of their healing/closure?

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  4. Ms. B says:

    Why should she be subjected to the public humiliation of his indiscretions? The indiscretion was his alone, but it adversely has “Blessed” many. His family, his staff, his constituants…the list is very long. He behaved poorly and then lied about it repeatedly. He has much for which to atone…

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  5. VA says:

    “Should” she? I don't have an answer to that. But I know that personally, I would never be able to stand there, humiliated, while he makes his “I'm sorry I got caught” speech.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  6. Sarah says:

    I agree with most of the comments saying the wife should decide how she wants to handle it. There is no perfect answer. I really don't understand how having her there helps the situation at all though.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  7. C says:

    I don't think she should stand there like a sacrificial lamb and share in his shame and then have the media and the world analyze everything from her facial expression to her pregnancy. They were later seen grocery shopping together if that can be interpreted as a indication of support.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  8. LT says:

    He made the mistake, and it's his apology. Stand alone and take the jeering/heckling/spotlight. I'm not going to judge a wife who does, or does not, stand with him up there, though. That's between them.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  9. C says:

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlo-thomas/famous-men-sex-scandals_b_875587.html

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  10. M says:

    I think it would depend on what transpired between me and my husband beforehand. If it is an “I'm sorry I caught” speech, he's going this one alone. But if he had sincerely and profusely apologized, and if I had every intention of staying with him, then I would absolutely stand beside him as an expression of forgiveness and graciousness – and as a sign that my husband is truly remorseful. Weiner, though?… I'm not so sure.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  11. Nancy M. says:

    She probably is still sorting out what to do with this mess. She should be given the time needed to figure it out and not be expected to attend or comment at all until she is ready.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  12. KittyB says:

    If the tables were turned – and the wife was the one who was scandalized – would the husband be expected to stand there?

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  13. Cat says:

    The one (and only) thing I like about how Weiner handled this (completely idiotic) scandal was that he DIDN'T have her standing next to him. It makes my skin crawl when disgraced public figures do otherwise.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  14. Belle says:

    KittyB-There's an interesting question. I think he would be because men are supposed to be strong and all that. An interesting conundrum indeed.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  15. Maria says:

    Belle, I am totally with you on this one! If the man is at fault, he should shoulder the blame & shame alone. That being said, I don't judge the wives who either do or don't stand by their man.

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  16. Lola says:

    Should the wife HAVE to do anything? No. She should be given the choice to make up her own mind regardless of politics and pressure. However, as someone who has been cheated on, I can tell you that the absolute shock and horror of the situation has a very real physical affect for awhile. When I found out, I literally could not choke down any food for more than a week. You can't think, you cry at the drop of a hat, etc. Given this state of mind, I'm sure many of these women aren't in the position to think clearly and end up being bullied into standing by their man by his political team.

    Having said that, I'm torn. I feel genuine empathy for these women, as they have just been blindsided in the worst possible way. But whenever I see a wife standing up there while their morally challenged husband publicly humiliates her, I can't help but think of her as a doormat. Sorry to say, I have absolutely no respect for that. I was so impressed with the way Jenny Sanford handled herself when it all happened to her, and I would hope for that kind of strength and resolve for all political wives who are faced with that kind of firestorm. These men need to know that this behavior is unacceptable, and part of that is taking their lumps on that podium like a big boy. And besides, why try and pretend like everything is fine when you know it's not?

    June 17, 2011/Reply
  17. Marie-Christine says:

    Was she standing by his side as he was texting his willie/fucking the intern? Then why should be standing by his side as he's apologizing? Standing by the tv, mulling when/how/even whether to dump his ass, OK. But in no circumstances standing by his side as he's doing it.

    In fact, I consider the standing by her man posture to be an added strike against him – can't take responsibility for his actions, has the poor woman so cowed that she feels like she must be humiliated along with him, too boorish to take her feelings into account. I have to say that Hillary's approach was the best I've ever seen – don't necessarily take a public stand, don't necessarily divorce him in court if you think that'd be bad for your own career, but definitely let him take the rap alone, and ease him out gently (in public) afterwards. She is a better example of what wifehood should be about.

    June 18, 2011/Reply
  18. hillybilly says:

    I'm for Jenny Sanford, Hillary Clinton, and Huma Abedin.

    June 20, 2011/Reply