Marriage Humor: When Cracking Jokes Becomes Waving Weapons

woman pointing gun

I hate “married people jokes.” You know, those ones that go like, “Men, the right answer is always ‘Yes, dear,’ ” or “Marriage is the only war where you sleep with the enemy.”

When my husband and I were engaged, I remember occasionally hearing one of those silly jokes and despising the words from the bottom of my heart. I wanted to be with my man so badly, and here were all these other couples, totally taking their relationship for granted! It felt like a slap in the face.

But you know what? I have recently caught myself either on the verge of letting one of these wisecracks cross my lips, or even worse, tossing one out. How did this happen?

It’s simple. In that moment, I’m taking my relationship for granted.

Now, why is this a big deal? It’s because although there is definitely humor in marriage, most of these kinds of jokes seem to be aimed at the relationship itself. These supposedly harmless one-liners seem to spring from discontented hearts, or an attitude of giving up on understanding one’s spouse. Instead of seeking to appreciate each other’s differences or become better at understanding how the other thinks, these words subconsciously condition us to believe that there’s no hope in ever making heads or tails of our spouse’s mental processes.

All this is just another insidious tactic of the daily, silent spiritual warfare we’re in. It’s a powerful, subtle assault on the oneness and unity of a husband and wife. If Satan can convince us that any part of our marriage is “hopeless,” then he has an edge, a foot in the door, no matter how small. He will take that leverage and use it against you to grow hopelessness in any other part of your marriage that he can. {And if you think this kind of thing is blown way out of proportion…you may have already fallen prey to blindness.}

Often, these “innocent jokes” take a swing at Biblical masculinity {my husband wrote a fantastic piece on this recently}, or the responsibility of husbands to lead their wives and families. Undermining men and the way God designed them socially/mentally/emotionally seems to be a favorite pastime of entertainment in our culture, and you know what? It’s straight from hell. As for us women? Well, we know how to do it all so much better than our men. You listen, and that’s a big part of these little funnies. We should be doing everything in our power to combat these lies.

What does Proverbs say? A wise woman builds her house. She does her husband good all the time. He can trust safely in her. If I’m making jokes that don’t build my husband up, don’t promote my husband’s good, or cause him to feel “safe” with me, then not only am I potentially causing harm to my marriage…I really am disobeying God.

Sobering stuff.

So, I’ve been thinking about this. And I’ve come up with three things that I can do to fight back when one of these jokes cross my path. Because, really, this isn’t about comic strips and a giggle here and there…this life is a War, and words are one of our weapons. {Read James 3, some time.} The Enemy is a master saboteur. Allow him to sabotage my marriage through words, and that’s a victory for him. I don’t want any part of helping him. Here are the three tactics I’m using to fight back:


1. Speak Up

I want to draw attention to the fact that, no, this little joke that pokes fun at a husband’s intelligence or a wife’s bad attitude is not okay. Depending on the situation, it may not be appropriate to vocalize the truth right then. But when I’m alone with my husband, I can tell him, “Hey, I heard what was said by that person, and I don’t buy it. We’re different, we’re not going to become part of that culture, and I want you to know that I’m in our corner on this.”

This is also going to be so important as Jungle Baby gets older. He’s going to hear things about marriage, and wonder why people think it’s funny, and I’m going to strive to teach him that, actually, we’re not laughing and God says marriage is better than that.

2. Build up

I want to use my words to respect my husband and the man he is, as well as let him and others know that I appreciate our marriage. So when I hear a “married people joke” gun go off, I’m going to fire back. {Again, situational appropriateness is important. But don’t forget that your relationship with your husband is the MOST important.} So simple things like, “Babe, I appreciate the man you are. I see how you work hard to try to lead our family,” make a big impact.

Be forewarned. There will always be a million reasons to not say it, or even just to put it off​ till later. Don’t let yourself procrastinate. There is no “wrong way” to build your husband up! “Just do it!” {Seriously, why should Nike beat us out on having the answer?!} I literally made myself stop while I was writing this, and go tell my husband that I appreciate him and how he doesn’t give up on me. It was something he deserved to hear, believe me…but I had to make myself do it, and I believe that this is because building others up goes against our grain. It’s so much easier to tear down…hence why jokes are a lot easier to toss out than sincere compliments.  

3. ‘Fess up

{cringe} This might be the hard one. If I allow one of these jokes to come from my corner, well, I need to acknowledge that it wasn’t a good thing to say, and maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut. I need to say that I’m sorry and ask for forgiveness. So simple, but so important.

Ahem. Confession time. I had to do this with my husband, just recently. We were with some good friends, I was in a teasing mood, and I in essence “complimented” a wife on how well she had “taught” her husband to say the right things. I did this in front of both of our husbands. Ouch. As soon as I had said it, I realized that it was a dumb thing to say. Why? Even though it was in good-natured fun, I was, in essence, promoting a worldview that says “husbands are stupid, wives have all the answers, and women have to “train” their men.” Not my beliefs, thank you. So, after ruminating on the episode for a while, I asked my husband to forgive me, and explained to him that I didn’t want to foster that kind of attitude in our marriage, or with our friends. He had hardly noticed the incident, but agreed with the fact that our marriage is worth protecting, even in the little things, like silly jokes.


So, that’s my plan. Just for the record, this is not about attacking other Christians who make these jokes. Some people, of course, do it innocently. But I believe that our marriages are valuable enough to care for in the smallest details. They are important enough to fight for, on any level.

Your turn. How do you seek to protect and nurture your marriage, even in the little things? And honestly, nothing is “too little.” Share in the comments!

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