Almost everyone has witnessed someone making fun of their spouse. Although the person may do so in a joking or teasing manner, it can still be awkward to witness. Sometimes a person tends to pick on a spouse in public. Other times it happens behind closed doors.
Ask yourself if you are ever guilty of belittling or picking on your spouse. Ridiculing is more fun than teasing. Instead, it means picking your spouse apart. It may involve doing so in front of others, perhaps your spouse’s parents or other friends. Do you ever say something like, “guess how dumb Susie is? This is what she did the other day…” Or perhaps after hearing a story about a husband who completed a home improvement project, you chime in and say, “Matt doesn’t even know what a screwdriver is used for.” Such cutting remarks can be damaging.
Pointing out your spouse’s flaws can be embarrassing, especially when done in public. Although you may think it is funny and you may get a few laughs, it does nothing to help your relationship. How often do you tell others about how great your spouse is? Try offering a story about how well your spouse completed a project, took care of the kids, or did a good deed. This can help build your marriage by affirming them.
Picking on your spouse in private is not acceptable either if your spouse doesn’t find the joke to be funny. There’s definitely a difference between having fun and being hurtful. Perhaps your spouse made a mistake and you continue to harp on her about it. Or perhaps you think calling him names will motivate him to change. These sorts of behaviors can cause emotional pain that will damage the relationship.
If your spouse teases you and it hurts your feelings, have a conversation about it. Tell your spouse how much it bothers you and that you don’t find it funny. If it continues, make sure that you speak up each time. Be assertive and say something such as, “I don’t like it when you say that. I don’t find it funny and I don’t want you to do that anymore.” By speaking up, you can show that you are not willing to tolerate these behaviors.