By Lilit Marcus for HowAboutWe
Last night, the New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady, were narrowly edged out by the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Defeat is never easy, especially with half the world watching, but Tom's supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen has been taking a lot of heat for standing by her man. Last week, the New York Post printed an email that Gisele had sent to family and friends asking them to pray for "Tommy" and his team. Then, after the game, several fans heckled Gisele about her husband's performance, causing her to respond "My husband cannot f****ing throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time." The incident, of course, was caught on camera .
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When it comes to a woman sticking by her man, the jury's split on whether to admire. Last summer, Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng Murdoch was both praised and vilified for lunging at someone who tried to throw a pie at her husband. But now that Tammy Wynette's song "Stand By Your Man" is a relic instead of an anthem, what are the rules for sticking up for the one you love?
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- Be honest about your bias. No one expects you to criticize your partner, but you also can't be blind about his or her failings. Admit upfront that you're super biased about the situation because your partner is one of the people in it, and then excuse yourself from the discussion.
- Focus on the positive. Rather than shifting the blame onto someone else, just highlight what you are proud of. A diplomatic "My husband played a great game and I am proud of him" makes you look loyal, while "I blame the receivers for not doing their jobs" makes you look petty.
- Find nonverbal ways to show support. If you're too heated to say anything nice, you can indicate your support in other ways: holding hands, putting your arm around him, or showing physical closeness will make sure your body language says everything.
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- Don't insult the audience. You're entitled to your opinion - but so is everyone else. If someone asks you a question or makes a comment, don't lash out at them for daring to speak. If someone is hurtful or offensive, simply refuse to respond.
- Remember that time heals all wounds. The nice thing about controversy is that it can't last forever. In our fast-paced world, there's always another story to chase. If you don't give people any material to work with, they'll be forced to move along that much faster.