The Joke’s on You

Have you ever been in a circle of marrieds when the one-upping occurs? But not the good kind?

“This one wouldn’t know what a 2×4 was if it smacked her in the head!”

“You NEVER EVER do anything nice for me anymore. All of the husbands in here dote on their wives, but not you!”

“Oh yeah? Well, I once took my wife golfing, and she threw the wedge into the lake! She has the athleticism of a rhino!”

“Have another beer, Jason. Then I’ll have to listen to you snore all night.”

I have seen this break out in couples who are sitting right next to each other, and in rooms of just gals (and I’m assuming just guys).

Can I be straight-up and tell you that this is abuse!? Emotionally, you are downgrading your spouse. Even if you think it’s a joke – it’s not:

But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a person. (Matthew 15:18, NETBible)

And the noble Proverbs 31 woman?

She opens her mouth with wisdom,and loving instruction is on her tongue. (Proverbs 31:26, NETBible)


A noble wife is the crown of her husband,but the wife who acts shamefully is like rottenness in his bones. (Proverbs 12:4, NETBible)

Wives, are you treating your husband kindly with your words? Are you using them to build him up?

Men, your wife makes you a king! Are you treating your her as your crown?

I think it’s easiest to fall into this trap if you’re very newly married or have been married a long time. If you’re very newly married, you may start this cycle (or get on someone else’s), in a playful way – but beware. You are attacking your spouse with each jab. Making her/him feel inadequate and unworthy. If you’ve been married for quite a while, maybe your comfort has bred contempt? Perhaps you began this “game” years ago and never quite figured out how to quit.

Well it’s time. Sit down with your spouse and apologize. Tell them exactly what you have down and why it’s wrong and why you need grace. If you’re on the other side of this, let your spouse know (in private and when you have set aside some time) how this makes you feel. Emphasize that you know he/she is only joking, but that the words hurt you nonetheless. I pray that your spouse will offer that apology and that you can offer grace.

Have you ever encountered this in a group setting? I know I have! What would you do to – IN LOVE and WITH GRACE – redirect the conversation or build up your marriages instead?

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2 thoughts on “The Joke’s on You

  1. Mel

    This is so true and very common. I think we all can get caught in it from time to time. It starts off playful or just letting off steam, and then becomes a habit.

    Years ago my friend paid me a compliment, she said she appreciated that I wasn’t like so many of her married friends who always complained about their husbands. Instantly, the Holy Spirit hit me with this, because the truth was – I WAS like so many of her friends, she just hadn’t seen me “in action”. I knew then the value of NOT complaining about my husband and that it doesn’t go unnoticed and whether we admit it our not is not respectful to them.

    I STILL constantly have to guard my tongue, and I don’t always do this so well, but it is definitely something we must be diligent against.

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