An Open Letter to my Friends who Talk Bad About Their Husbands: Why I Love You, But Can’t Hang Out with You Anymore

Dear Friend,

This is really, really hard for me to do, but I have to tell you why I can’t hang out with you anymore.

I get that marriage is hard. I do. I’ve fought with my husband (remember, when we got married, we had four teenagers, so we had plenty to “discuss” those first years of marriage,) disagreed with him, and sometimes (OK, many times) not been the wife I needed to be.

But here’s the thing: I want to do better. I want to be the wife that my husband needs. I want to speak well of him and to him. I want to improve, a little bit, everyday.

And when I’m around you, it’s hard. I feel like, because you are throwing your husband under the bus, you want me to throw my husband right under there as well.

I will not have the kinds of conversations that make men the butt of the joke, because not only am I married to a man, but I have two boys I want to respect as men as well.

I will not agree with how awful your husband is because I don’t know his side of the story.

I will not laugh at TV or movies that feature the guys as “Doofus Dads”.

I will not let you bait me into bashing husbands, yours or mine.

I’m sorry if this seems like a unexpected change up – like I’m changing to rules of our relationship. But that uncomfortable laugh that I make when you put down your husband? Gone. From now on, I’m speaking up. It’s not OK to talk about any man like that in my presence. Ever.

Now don’t get me wrong. If you want me to pray for the tough time you’re going through, if you want to cry on my shoulder and have me recommend books on how you can improve your relationship, I will bring the coffee, milk chocolate and password to my Amazon account. I am there for you friend.

But if you only want to complain, and not let God make a miracle out of your marriage, I need to step away. Because I need to be with women who support the men in their life. I want to surround myself with women who are not perfect wives, but will inspire me to be the wife that follows God and blesses her husband out of the overflow of that relationship with God.

So if you want to be that kind of girl – come on over to my house.

But if not, I’m going to need to bow out. I know that God wants more for you than what you have now. I’ll be here when you want that cup of coffee.

 

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Comments

  1. Mary Anne says:

    Thank you Kathi! Good, honest letter to all your friends (including me) with a stern reminder of how we need to talk about our husbands. I hate most TV dads. They’re such dorks. Glad that there are many men out there that are doing a FAR better job. Blessings to you and Roger!

  2. domesticdiva23 says:

    I agree Kathi. I made a pact that I would never bash my husband or talk ill of him in public. I hate hearing women do that….its gotten worse with ladies thinking they can do that to boyfriends. Not cool

  3. John Myers says:

    As a husband of a wife who has committed to that very ideal for our whole marriage I commend you for your stand Kathi. Pamela has not only refrained from bashing but has actually chosen to be my greatest cheerleader over the years, often extolling me when it was undeserved. I cannot tell you how much wind under my wings that has given me. To bash your husband only serves to make things worse. There should be one place in their life where a safe haven lies in wait for them….that should be in the presence of their wife.

  4. Kathi, while I remain blissfully unaware of how often – and intensely – this kind of behavior occurs, it strikes me that constant complaining signifies a position of learned helplessness. Before we got married, my wife and I adopted 1 Peter 4:8 as a verse upon which to build our marriage: “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” While we’re both individuals who have committed “a multitude of sins,” we’ve chosen never to broadcast each other’s faults to others, but to take that energy and talk things through instead. (Early in our marriage, we spent more than a few nights talking past midnight to work things out in honor of Ephesians 4:26-27.) Couples should set up enough times to speak with each other honestly but kindly that they don’t need to bash their spouses to others. I admire your stance and the protection it provides your own marriage. Say hi to Roger for me!

  5. This is really good…. and very true… and now I’m feeling very guilty because I’m sure I’ve been one of the people you’re talking about many times. I think this is a good reminder that regardless of how we’re feeling, we need to trust God to bring hope out of hopelessnes. Anyway, I’m sorry and thanks for posting!

  6. Shawna niles says:

    Wow very powerful. I don’t know if I’ve done that lately but I know I have done that at one time. I do agree when others are in a bad funk they reel you into their misery. I do find that complaining doesn’t help but that asking for help does. For some reason we don’t want to ask for help. Ill be sure to nip it in the butt when others are talking like that or ask for help. Thanks

  7. AMEN!! Coming from someone who isn’t married anymore and would love to be, I find it an incredible diss on God and his blessings to bash a husband. Husbands may not be perfect, but they are there and fighting through the challenges too. In my divorce, I’ve learned the greatest way to keep my boys from growing up crazy is to always show respect to my ex-husband in front of them. I don’t even bash my ex-husband, it hardens my heart and fans the flames of anger that just aren’t necessary to raise boys and live a peaceful life.
    I loved the perspective that when a woman openly disrespects a husband, it shows a general disrespect for young men who will be husbands someday. My two young boys thank you for making their mama stronger in her desire to hold men up and not tear them down.

  8. CATHERINE says:

    AMEN Sister!

  9. Kathi I love this! Brave, and wonderful. I used to be one of those myself. Well written. I have boys as well. I know how you feel.

  10. So glad you posted about this. It’s something I was convicted about years ago, and I have consciously tried to remember it no matter what kind of situations my husband and I are going through. I’m proud of women who speak up about this issue and determine to treat their husbands with biblical love and respect no matter what society says is okay.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Shirley
    (I’m tweeting this! @ABowForMama if you want to see it. :) )

  11. Well said. More people need to be saying this, and more people need to be hearing this. It’s thoughtful and balanced, but to the point. I’ve had to think through this kind of conversation, too. And sometimes it’s hard to have to say it: “Hey, girl: your kids need to be able to respect their dad … and they’ll take their cues from you.” You are so right, and it’s encouraging to hear you saying what needs to be said.

  12. I love you Kathi! Thank you for not being afraid to stand up for what is right, for doing what God asks you to do, and doing it in such a loving, natural way that it inspires everyone to be better! Happy Monday!

  13. Well said and I totally agree!!!

  14. Amen. The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian has helped me immensely with keeping the proper perspective regarding how I view, pray for, & speak of/to my husband.

  15. AMEN! Amen amen amen. I want to copy and mail this to a few people…

  16. Sharon Paavola says:

    I made the same decision several years ago so I support you wholeheartedly. Amen, Sister! Of all women, Christian wives need to speak in opposite terms about their men than the rest of the world. TV, movies, reality shows make fun of men. They are God’s creatures, the one He made first! Most men have a hard enough time and when they come home it should be to someone who adores them and showers them with respect as the Bible tells us to do. And there you go!

  17. THIS is why I stopped going to Women’s Bible studies. It always ended with “sharing and concerns”, which really was an extended gripe session about their husbands.

  18. Well said, Kathi! If every wife would do this, the state of marriage in our country and around the world would be so much better.

  19. Amen Sista! I have felt this way for a long time. I don’t think I have actually told anybody what you just said, but I have gradually pulled away or grown apart from friends because the way they talked about their husbands made me feel very uncomfortable. And I have noticed that negativity is contagious. Sometimes when someone is talking about her husband negatively, I begin to see the negative things in my husband (he’s only human so there are things there that I may not care for), but I want to look for the good things in him because he has so many good qualities too.

    Thanks so much for saying what needs to be said. I hope every wife reads this!

  20. AMEN!! And really, I’ve had a few friends, churched and unchurched who have gotten divorced but still manage to speak well in public about their ex-husbands! They praise them as fathers and simply “share” that the marriage didn’t work…but even in a situation where someone might feel more of a “right” to husband bash, they chose not to. If they can do it, we all certainly should be able to. One sure fire way to build your man up (spouse or child) is to praise them publicly. If they are there, great, if not, you bet it will get back to them in word or attitude, etc. Thanks for addressing this Kathi. (I’m sure you would agree that this goes for facebook & other social media! I am so uncomfortable when I read public posts of spouses bashing or slyly digging into each other).

  21. Sorry, but I can’t agree 100%. This was the kind of thinking that led my pastor and his wife to cousel me to “stay and pray” with a husband who repeatedly hurt me, hit me and even set my hair on fire. I believed them that not speaking ill of him or his actions was not honoring him as the head of the household, and that this was “God’s will” for my life, that He was using me to bring this man to repentance. It wasn’t until he went “Here’s Johnny!” (the Shining) crazy on my 11 yr old son, ripping the molding from the doorframe and beating him with it, that I decided that if this was God’s will for us, I was walking away from God, because He was putting me and my children in positions to which no loving Father would ever subject their childen. Please, if your friends are “dissing” their husbands by telling you they are being hurt, physically or emotionally, listen with a caring heart and don’t turn away because it’s “trash talk” about their husbands. Encourage them to go to a safe place, not to stay where their lives and well being may be in danger. Offer them shelter, if you can, and assistance with child care, counseling, financial support, employment, etc. God’s will should never be used as an excuse for a mortal man’s bad behavior.

    • Hi Joan –

      I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through and the heartbreak you’ve encountered. This blog post is not about an abusive husband. This is squarely about the attitude that many women feel that they have the right to talk disparagingly about their husbands and not do anything to change their relationship. I would never, ever tell a woman to put on a happy face in the situation of abuse.

      I’m saddened that my words came off that way. That is not my intention and never would be. My God would not want any of his daughters to stay in harms way. It breaks my heart that it was interpreted that way.

  22. I couldn’t agree more! In fact, I was inspired to write on this very topic a couple months ago: http://mrsmarieosborne.blogspot.com/2012/07/friends-help-friends-stay-happily.html

    It’s very hard to stand up to friends, to change the conversation, to honor God and go against the grain, how our culture chooses to discuss men. Bravo! Keep it up! Let’s speak well of our men, no matter what our friends might say or think.

  23. Granny Gerry says:

    Thank you Kathi. I found your website because you are speaking to the women of my church this Saturday. I am going to recommend you “letter” to several young women I know. This is the very reason that I refuse to read any of the Berenstain Bears books to my grandchildren. The daddy bear is always foolish and wrong. We need to be careful what we fill our kids heads with. I wonder at people who speak unkindly to and about their spouses and then are hurt and amazed when their kids sass them.

  24. Thank you Kathi, and OUCH all at the same time. I needed to hear this. It was just the reminder that I needed!

  25. Thanks Kathi for sharing this. I wish more women would adopt this stance. As a single woman, I get very tired of hearing women bash and diss their husbands. It is so gratifying to hear a woman support, praise and “brag” on her husband.

  26. Thanks for this. My husband and I have been together for 21 years (married for 11), and we don’t have many rules in our marriage. But, one rule we have is to not talk bad about each other. Like you say, it’s ok to need a shoulder to cry on, but just to bash isn’t ok. I’m happy to see others having the same feelings. Thanks again.

  27. I tried for years to not talk trash about my husband, but after years of putting up with his verbal abuse, alcohol abuse, legal problems, and him walking away from the church, I found that I needed help. I started talking to friends whom I knew would support me. I read Christian books about emotional abuse and read James Dobson’s books about “Love Must be Tough”. I just want to come on and say that I agree with your article for healthy marriages, there comes a point in unhealthy marriages where Christian women have to know that it’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to admit there’s a problem in your home and that you can’t sweep it under the rug anymore. It took me years to get to this point and mainly my husband’s DUI was my tipping point. I am getting counseling, I talk to my friend’s as best as I can without throwing my husband under the bus, but it’s hard when you see a man who was walking with Christ turn around and go the other direction. It’s so very hard.
    I am still living with my husband at this time, praying that God will answer my prayers and that my husband will put God at the center of his heart instead of his ego and his alcohol. I truly don’t believe that God wants me to stay silent in my suffering and that He wants me to reach out for help.

    • Hi Bonnie – like the other woman above, I can’t imagine your situation.It sounds like you are taking healthy steps to be whole. I have no idea what you should or shouldn’t do, and like I said, even in healthy marriages, people go through hard times. My article was directed at the millions of women who complain about their husbands and do nothing to change the situation. That’s not you.

      • Tona Cornelius says:

        Hi Kathi – new to this blog and understand what you are saying. It the same that I would hear and expect when confronting in love someone who is gossiping.

        When our husband is in sin with a hard heart (23 years and an almost completed divorce filed by him) – man, oh man it is impossible with the help of Christ by the Holy Spirit to not react in the flesh. it doesn’t help that the body of Christ does the Corinthian thing and tolerates instead of disciplining it.

        It hurts deeply (yes even to God) when your husband is in sin (and the same mirror if wives are in sin) – because guess what, the two became one flesh. Much as we try (and even if God does change us), the guy/gal in sin has to change also. To every action is an equal and opposite reaction (that is sin in the world, period – we reap what we sow). Do you have any words of wisdom to we ladies who are having to deal day after day with this (and the influence and example it leaves on our children)?

        Your note is and was a heart check. Prideful, malicious speech from our mouths tells us what is in our heart. So in a way, OUCH! In another, thank you for writing this note. My apologies for rambling.

    • All that negativity and striving can drive you to be this way. God does want us to reach out, but it has to be the right person or people. So be careful and take care who you reach out too.I have met some who thought they were telling me the right thing, but after looking at their lives, it was not right at all. All i got told was what they were doing about their situation and they were going in the wrong direction. It was obvious that after decades it was not changing anything for the better. But i have found some who got it right and it helped me to be as i needed to be. It can be a rocky road, but you will get there.

  28. Tmireland says:

    This is a beautiful declaration that I hope many women join!

    I know what you mean by not being the wife your husband needed. I was that way for most of the first 11 years of my marriage! I even thought he was the wrong one and I was doing things right… till God opened my eyes. Our marriage has gotten so much better since I allowed myself to see how rotten of a wife I really was! God changed me and my rotten attitude toward him. <3

  29. I agree wholeheartedly. I have gone 12-years of marriage only venting about my husband to one friend. She and I supported each other in our moments of venting. It’s been such a healthy thing… and my girlfriend helped me through some important moments; as I helped her through many critical ones as well. She pointed out many of situations where I was making a mountain out of a mole-hill… and helped me strategize moments when I needed to stand my ground, yet remain respectful of my husband. She and I were happy to allow each other to vent… as long as we ended the session by stating 3 things I appreciate most about my husband and our relationship. So, remember ladies… we ALL need to vent, and it’s okay. Just be very careful that you are NOT gossiping about your husband and only share these volatile moments with someone you can trust to handle the information appropriately.

  30. This was a lovely thing to get up this morning and read. Its so true. I have been married for 3 years and only 24. We were very young when we got married by todays standards but the foundation of our marriage is communication. We talk everyday without fail and we even have journals for when we need to get our feelings out and cant communicate them yet to our other half. I have numerous friends who back stab their husband but i remain quiet. I will not dishonour my husband just because others are. I would hate to think my husband could bash me to his friends so i would never do that to him.
    I read something once that works for me. When my husband does something to really annoy or upset me i go into another room and thank God for him in other areas. If he organises a computer job without consulting me for example, where i have organised something and it takes his time from me, i thank God for his heart to work for us, to provide for us and thank God that he tries every single day on his work.

    This is something everyone should read, also men! :)

  31. Beverly DUR says:

    Don and I have been married well over 50 yrs. I thank God for him…Still in LOVE years later, remember you get back what you put in a Marriage.Bev

  32. Sherry Neubauer says:

    Kathie,
    I met you along time ago through Saratoga Federated.(my mom’s Tina Roberts) . This article hits home as my soon to be ex dtr in law met some new “friends”. Their favorite pastime – husband bashing. I was disgusted when I was witness to this one afternoon, and saddened when I recognized one of the voices.
    I pray for these young ladies. I thank you cor your article.
    I look forward to seeing you in March, as I just heard you will be the speaker for our Women’s Retreat with Tunbridge Church in Temecula. (small world to hAve Keith & Sue Potter at my same church? Hoping myMomcan hometown for the retreat!
    God bless your writing and speaking!
    Sherry N.

  33. Sherry Neubauer says:

    Sorry, that should say Sunridge Church.

  34. This is great Kathi! It’s also tough when mom just dwell on the negatives of their kids…not necessarily bashing (although I’ve heard plenty from some moms…), but they just can’t seem to say anything positive… :(

  35. AMEN KATHI! This is a subject I feel VERY strongly about! When we make fun of ANYone, especially our husbands, we are making fun of the One Who created them! Stand your ground! Jesus did.

  36. Hi Kathi,
    I hope that I am never rejected like this for saying things about my husband that are not whole-heartedly supportive. I would hope that a friend would approach me with love and try to get to the bottom of the real issue with me.
    In fact, on the flip side, I often don’t trust women who only have good things to say about their marriage. In the least, it would be hard for me to be their friend because I would always feel like there was something wrong with me, since my marriage is not all sunshine.
    I think we need to be honest with one another as women and try to get through struggles together. Marriage is hard and sometimes you just don’t have the husband who will stay up with you and talk things out (according to Ephesians-Jim Meyer, you are an amazing husband). Who are you supposed to get help from when a husband isn’t willing to communicate, when you didn’t have a good example growing up? How are you supposed to learn…just from books. I personally prefer people.
    So, sorry, I do not like your letter. I think it is sad. I think it is not very loving. How are we supposed to share our burdens with one another and pray for one another if we can’t even talk about how our marriage is not going well. I would feel fake only talking about good things.

    • Hey Gigi –

      I don’t think you read the letter in it’s entirety. I said that if you want to talk, if you want to cry, and you want help, I’m here for you. But if you only want to complain (and try to take me down in the process,) then I’m out.

      I’ve hung in with many a friend who was going through a bad time – but when you choose to live there and only want to bash on your husband, I can’t be a part of that. I see loads of women who want to stay stuck, If you’re visiting that place, I get it, but if you want to stay there, I feel that it does a disservice to God, your husband, yourself, and if you have them, your kids.

      • Sarah Bomar says:

        Kathy,
        I’m glad to read this reply. I, like Gigi, took this letter and other things I’ve read to mean that we should not vent about the rough spots. It would make for a very lonely life if I couldn’t get some of the things that go on out to someone who will listen and be there when I’m upset over something in my marriage.
        I completely understand now where this letter is coming from and going. I’ve seen many marriages suffer or fall apart all due to negative emergy and husband bashing. During my time in cosmetology school I found myself suddenly angry at my husband for even the tiniest things and had a period where we fought constantly. It took some time for it to all become clear but one day it just hit me. At lunch, there were 2 tables we could sit at. The topic was always what the husbands were doing wrong. I was taking that negative energy home and to my marriage. I don’t mean everything was perfect before that but it seemed like the more they talked the more faults I found in him. It’s important to distance ourselves from those situations and I feel like that’s what you’re referring to in this letter.
        I look forward to reading more of your posts!

      • Hey Kathi! I replied to Gigi also. Can you tell me if I was right is saying allll that stuff or a little right or not at all.I love honesty….I wish some people could understand how well they poison the very thing they love with their own tongues….In Christ, Nicki

    • Also we are suppose to take our complaints to God not our unwise friends. God created us, he created marriage, he created relationships. He’s really the only person we need relationship advice from. I’m as guilty as the next person but male bashing always makes me feel “yucky” inside. When I bring it to God I’m not bashing I’m honestly looking for a solution to an issue we might have. God is really the only one who can fix it. :}

    • You should probably go to a Christian Marriage Counselor or just mention it to the preacher’s wife and ask for prayer and ask if their is anyone that she would know that could council .

      You are not supposed to just learn from someones books and I sure as heck would not chose people. If you are walking with Christ you will hear His direction. Thats what is needed for a strong marriage, NOT A PERFECT Marriage! If things were perfect we wouldnt have Jesus. And most of the time people don’t care,they will spread the problems, or act like they care just to get dirt and it makes their marriage seem better. People need to get a grip and stop running their mouths and pulling their husband down and build them up. I didn’t marry people, I married a man that i vowed to love and protect and i cant truly do that if Im asking “people” about a marriage that they are getting one sided story’s about. There are good things and bad things to everything in life…But if all someone wants to do is to complain “I ain’t got time for that”! A marriage is sooo hard enough by itself, if a person speaks negative against the marriage that they are in…Good Grief… That’s asking for more trouble than what the marriage is already in..We as loving wives should not talk about our husband’s negatively because we both are supposed to be One joined together. If all a women can do is gripe, Guess What I Can Almost Guarantee That He Was That Way When The Two Got Married. or if not someone is not doing their part as a loving, praying wife. Because if they are griping to a friend I feel sorry for that husband who has to hear griping from her all those yrs.
      And Yes there is not a person or a marriage that is perfect. But if the woman that one day said “I Do”, talks bad about her husband there is no telling what satan is doing behind the scenes.

      There is a huge difference in asking someone for advice and just running there mouths. I, myself cant take being around an “Igor” because guess what that spirit will “rub” off on me. And with a husband and 3 kids I cant afford to be pulled down. No one can! I Was Called To Be A Wife and Mother wayyy before I was Called to Give Advice.

      And I wonder how many wives have talked to their husbands about the issues they have with them…I bet not many. I bet at least half of the women that are so eager to ask others outside of the marriage what to do, have not even mentioned a word to their husbands. And How Many Women Asked People If They Should Marry That Man or Not…Or Asked People If They Should Have His Children?

      A marriage is just supposed to involve 3~ God, Husband then you…not people. And there is no way to justify that talking to people about your husband is being and doing what GOD tells us as wives to do~ Be Submissive!

  37. Joanna Branson says:

    A “test” I find useful when I’m talking about my husband is this: “would I say this if Rick were standing nearby and might hear it? How would he feel if he DID hear it?” If it is something that might hurt my husband to hear, if he would feel disrespected or ridiculed by it, if I would be hurt to hear him say the same thing about me, then it shouldn’t be said out loud. In our culture, man-bashing (and conversely, woman-bashing among men) has become an acceptable form of “joking” or “entertainment” or establishing “common ground.” But I don’t understand it. I wouldn’t want to be called “the ol’ ball and chain” or the “battle ax” as I’ve heard some of my husband’s friends call their wives; so I can say with a fair amount of certainty that my husband wouldn’t appreciate such ridicule, even in jest, either!

  38. I used to be guilty of doing this. Once I stopped, I realized how much better my marriage became. All the negativity brings the whole relationship down. I do have to make a conscious effort though not to do it. Like you said, you can get sucked in when others are doing it and expect you to throw your husband under the bus too. Thanks so much for sharing this!!

  39. Heather Massey says:

    wow… i just signed up for the Time-Warp Wife emails, and this was my email for the day. I LOVE IT!!! I am not a Hubby basher! He is my Special Gift from God. But i have a friend whos husband had a stroke 2 years ago, and her situation is VERY sticky! i have had to seperate myself from her because of the negativity she proclaims daily! even to the point of making not so nice comments when i post about my love for my man on Facebook. I do have a question…. her children are so affected by their mom’s attitude, that it is hard to have my children around her or them! this note was written so heartfelt that i must know, How can i approach the topic of her children in this same matter?

  40. Annie Aguirre says:

    I know a lady who yells at her husband in front of other people and calls him “stupid” to his face. She even refers to him as “stupid”, like a nickname. (Then she wonders why he doesn’t esteem her.) Women from my church make “men” jokes. You now, the ones about how dumb they are. I don’t agree. My husband is very wise and blessed by the Lord. Feminism stems from Wicca. So, when Christian women are not under the right authority, they are under the wrong one!

  41. Thanks so much for this. I have the best husband ever. I love him dearly and want to be the best wife and mother I can be. Its been amazing how God has changed me and my perspective. Unfortunately I hardly have any friends that have happy marriages. I guess I should say I have hardly any friends who have Godly marriages. I hear constant bad mouthing, name calling, degrading of their husbands. I hate it! The biggest problem I have is not being able to share how wonderful my husband is. I do to some extent but I really hold back. I don’t want to act as if I’m rubbing something in their face or trying to make them jealous. The only time I share is when I’m frustrated with something and I talk about it. Don’t get me wrong I don’t bad mouth my husband or call names. I might express something that bothered me but I always regret it. They don’t get to hear how wonderful he is but they are willing to hear if he does something wrong. I want to show other women that men are good. They are not lazy, idiot, doofus’s and women are to willing to bash men. I really hope wife’s start rethinking the way the treat their men and what they say about them when they are not there. You have inspired me to speak up more about my hubby and how awesome he is.

  42. Nichole says:

    Such a great reminder, also, that people become what we say they are.

Trackbacks

  1. […] started to feel icky. I lost interest in competing for winner of “Woe is Me” Wife contests (http://www.kathilipp.com/2012/10/an-open-letter-to-my-friends-who-talk-bad-about-their-husbands-why-&#8230;) and started hanging around women who spoke highly of their husbands. […]

  2. […] Lipp’s “An Open Letter to my Friends who Talk Bad About Their Husbands: Why I Love You, But Can’t Hang Out…” caused quite the flurry of responses when she posted it to her blog and an exponential number […]

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