“My wife and I were at my high school reunion,” George Crenshaw recalled, “when I noticed the other men in their expensive suits with their bellies hanging over their belts.” He said that he was proud of the fact that he only weighed five more pounds than when he was in high school.
“I’m the only guy here who can wear the suit he graduated in,” George told his wife.
She looked over the prosperous crowd and then back at him and responded, “You’re the only one who has to.”
We know that’s funny, and though we might make a “teachable moment” out of a joke like that, we know that some things can honestly be said and received in jest.
On the heels seeing Emerson Eggerich’s Love and Respect conference on DVD, though, a joke like that can at least give us some pause to think about the impact of our words. How often are jokes made in your relationship that are said with more sarcasm than playful teasing? Don’t many of us have a tendency to pick on our spouses concerning those things that we find less appealing? Do we sometimes dig a little with a joke hoping that our spouses might change because of the embarrassment?
Change may not be the result of our comments. Resentment might be the result. What we intend to be primarily joking with slight criticism can easily be received as primarily criticism in a bad joke. Be careful regarding the jokes you make about your husband’s income. Comment about his love-making interests might be funny to everybody but him. Though he may not be as sensitive about his appearance as you are about yours, he might still feel disrespected if you make a humorous jab about his weight gain.
“… a wife must respect her husband,” Paul said. Why? Because your husband needs your respect. Let your words to him and about him be designed to edify and build him up according to his needs (Eph. 4:29).
What does your husband love to hear from you that shows you respect him?