Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

Stop Joking About Marriage

A few weeks ago, I was getting my hair cut. The barber asked what I did, and I told him that I’m a writer and that I write about Christian marriage. The resulting conversation was about his experience of the married life and the times when he really screwed up. I enjoyed our conversation, but I was a bit uncomfortable with the jokes that he was sharing. I love humor and use it in almost every situation, but, in my opinion, jokes about marriage tend to be more damaging than funny.

Humor is a good thing and it’s essential for a happy life. It’s important for us to be able to laugh at ourselves and to find the bright spots in any situation. Bringing levity to serious situations can help us make it through the day. At the same time, humor tends to influence beliefs. A large segment of the young adult demographic get their news solely from satire TV shows. While comedians can put a fun spin on the day's stories, if you only get your news from these types of programs, your view of the world is seriously distorted. Without any conflicting information, you might believe that the jokes made about politics, religion, or any other topic covered are fact. Jokes about marriage are potentially just as damaging.

It’s wrong to share jokes that falsely portray marriage. Consider the audience of these jokes; they're usually kids or unwed adults. Without perspective, like those who get their news solely from satire, these audiences will form poor opinions about the married life or how marriage works based on the lie of the joke. Even worse, marriage jokes tend to either make your wife look bad or make you look spineless. The hyperbole of these jokes is what's incredibly damaging. You aren't "always broke," your wife isn't "always right," and she isn't spending all of "your" money. These jokes aren't funny, they're thoughtless.

There's plenty to joke about in the married life that doesn't perpetuate false notions. We can laugh about mistakes, awkward situations, burnt dinners or any other number of things. However, when you cross the line into mocking relational dynamics or about aspects that are categorically false, especially to audiences with no alternative information, you do a real disservice to your marriage and to the institution.

Humor is a great thing, but like any other form of verbal communication, think before you speak.