Jan 142014 36 Responses

Stop Making Fun of Your Wife

“I don’t mean it.” Yes you do.

“She doesn’t care.” Yes she does.

“They think it’s funny.” No we don’t.

Husbands: a little piece of advice—stop making fun of your wives.

Even if she can’t cook, drive or add, don’t air her faults in public. While playfulness is a sign of a healthy marriage, being playful is different than being hateful. Making fun of your wife is often hateful.

Most husbands don’t mean it that way. A majority of comments meant in jest are just poorly thought through comments hoping for a cheap laugh. The intent is rarely evil, but we still need to stop it. The reward is not worth the risk.

We shouldn’t make fun of our wives because:

She could get the wrong impression. We might not mean a thing by it, but she might take it personally. Even if she says it doesn’t hurt her feelings, are you sure? Can you guarantee it never will?

Others could get the wrong impression. Even if our wife thinks the joke is funny, others could believe there is a lack of respect between you and your wife. Respect is a necessary ingredient for a successful marriage. It is also a necessary element to influence the lives of others. If others believe you do not respect your wife, they will lose respect for you.

We could start believing our jokes. They say behind every joke is a sliver of truth. By calling attention to the faults and failures of another, we can begin to fixate on those faults and failures. In dealing with couples in crisis, I have noticed a correlation between marital problems and a willingness to mock another for their mistakes. (See: 5 Keys to Saving Your Marriage)

When I hear a man make fun of his wife in public, I often wonder, “If he will say that about her in public, what will he say to her in private?”

It’s okay to laugh about a situation. It can be fun to remember a funny story. But it is never right to get a cheap laugh at the expense of our wives. Either be funnier or live without the laugh.

While this is true in every setting, it is especially true for those of us who spend a good amount of our time on stage. As communicators, we are always looking for a moment of levity. Taking a simple shot at our wives seems innocent and playful, but it’s neither. I spend a lot of my time on stage talking about my wife and laughing, yet the key to those stories is to only tell the ones in which the audience will join my wife in laughing at me. For example: On Faking Communion or On George Straight, a First Kiss, and Seminary Women or A Small Fire, a Can of Gasoline, and a Test of My Manhood.

And if I find a story funny (such as How Thanksgiving Killed My Dog) but I’m uncertain how she feels, I ask her. She proofreads the story and deletes what she doesn’t like. If we find a middle ground, I tell the story. If we don’t; I don’t. As for off-the-cuff jokes which she doesn’t know about before hand, they just aren’t worth the risk.

Everyone loves to laugh. Everyone loves to be funny. All humor is risky but that doesn’t mean we should stop. However, some humor is too risky because the risk involves something which is very important. If I make a joke which offends a stranger, I am sorry but life will go on. If I make a joke which deeply wounds the soul of my wife, it’s a mistake made with dire consequences.

So be funny, but leave the wife out of it. Besides, who needs to joke about a wife when we can joke about lawyers, politicians, and Texans?

Question: Do you think the same applies about wives making fun of their husbands?

36 Responses to Stop Making Fun of Your Wife
  1. stevebrawner Reply

    All true. And yes, the same applies for wives making fun of their husbands. My wife and I have had this discussion several times during the past year or so. Too often, the little digs we make in public and private aren’t just meant to get a laugh; they’re meant to make a subtle point. We’ve tried to stop.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      My wife and I had a debate of if it applies equally to men. She thinks it always does; I think it mostly does but I think she has more freedom. She thinks I’m wrong. When in doubt, believe Jenny more than me.

  2. Ruby Reply

    It definitely goes both ways! I have been guilty of poking fun at my husband and in return he thought I was calling him stupid. He’s made jokes about me as well and I have told him people are going to think he seriously hates me. Why not just lift each other up?

  3. Larry Solik Reply

    We had this very conversation this week, remembering how right from that get go we would use our words to build each other up. After 40 years we have seen that it is not only a precious gift we give each other, but also a blessing to other people in our lives. Married to the best!

  4. […] 1. She recognizes what is taking place in his life. Few things create a feeling of respect like be... kevinathompson.com/five-ways-wife-respects-husband
  5. Sankar Maharajan Reply

    I think it is an easy and quick vent. It becomes light and forgotten once you share it with others as humour. Honestly I see making fun of each other is a healthy way to nurture relationship as long as both the parties involved have the maturity to see a joke as joke, appreciate the creativity and not take personally. Simple test to find maturity levels is if somebody fights “how can you do that in front of others” means it will not work with this couple. It will work in relationships where there is no “others” involved. Healthy couples I am talking about see only 2 characters in any situations.

  6. Amy Reply

    It hurts. It teaches all children the wrong way to be toward Mom and their future wives. It’s a deal breaker if it doesn’t stop.

  7. Carly Reply

    I do think it goes the other way and I dont like to or try not to do it. My spouse has a bad habit of joshing with people I am not a conversation with- he likes to throw humor into his banter with them. Sometimes I know who they are but sometimes I dont, Sometimes I am there, sometimes he is only on the phone. – I dont want to be in the conversation unless its something I asked him to talk about or they ask how I am doing, if I am there they ask me about etc. . He says stuff which often is not true of me in a joking way like he just got set up for starting teaching. He said to my boss ” My wife cannot wait to get me out of the house.” Joking yes but I never said that and it did not make me feel good knowing he said that to my boss. I am am not eager for him to be gone. ( He and I work from home for a college) I dont like being thrown in a conversation for humors sake and he does it too much, its does not make em feel good and what you said could be the results in the article- yes are true here and I dont want people thinking that of me or us..

  8. Bri Reply

    How do you get someone who jokes about you to stop?

    • Ima Reply

      Bri, you can’t make them stop. If you have asked them politely to stop and they don’t, all you can do is change yourself. Start letting it roll off your back, laugh along with them (laughing with them or letting it roll off your back takes away the impetus for teasing), or never have contact them again if you can’t laugh along. Sorry you are going through this. If it is your spouse, tell them how to feel or be prepared to leave. No one should take delight in making you feel small.

  9. SoManyTears Reply

    I accidentally caught my husband, of 11 years, having an affair. It had been going on 15 months. She was an old girlfriend. We had never had any problems in our marriage before. He agrees. He made fun of me to this woman. He said he had to make me look bad so that she would have sex with him. He made fun of my music style, the way I blow my nose after I shower and who knows what else. Why did he do that? It really bothers me! This woman knew me very well. I feel very betrayed. She died recently. He says he’s very ashamed for what he did. I just don’t understand how he could speak about me like he did. I think he’s a very bad person.

  10. MovingOn Reply

    I am leaving my husband of over 30 years. Making fun of me in front of our adult children is only one of the many reasons (never apologizing, complaining that I’m too sensitive and/or needy, ignoring me are among the others). If you think it doesn’t damage a relationship, you’re wrong. I spent my adult life concerned about my family’s feelings and making sure that my kids and husband left the house emotionally prepared to take on the day… and then one day I woke up and realized I didn’t take the same care of myself. When I started standing up for myself, it was evident that it never really occurred to my husband that part of his job description was to be my biggest cheerleader, not my biggest heckler. He’ll have a lot of time to himself to ponder that now.

  11. Joyce Reply

    Thank you, Kevin! This is sound advice for husbands, and hopefully some will receive it. And us wives must tell our husbands that jokes at our expense are not acceptable. If they still continue this behavior, a serious evaluation of the marriage would be in order.

  12. CP Reply

    Wish my husband understood this. We’ve been married 32 years and I’ve had two children with him. Recently he made fun of my private area making reference that it was large. I told him that’s what happens when you have children and later told him that was unkind and disrespectful, to which he responded, laughingly, that he was just joking. How do I respect a husband who is disrespectful to me and how can I make him understand it is disrespectful?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Those are very fair questions. My first thought: make sure he understands you aren’t joking. Maybe say, “I know you would never intentionally hurt my feelings, but that did hurt. Please do not do it again.”

    • Glossy Cheeks Reply

      This is my first time on this site and I was reading what you wrote and all I have to say is that a real man does not talk bad about a women in any way. Drop that fool. If he will talk bad about u once he will do it again. I know what I’m telling u.

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  14. Wifefedup Reply

    I am very turned off by my husband. If he is not making jokes at my expenses, then he is acting like i cant do any house work right. He puts down my cooking and cleaning evrn though others love it.
    If he is not doing that he is ignoring me completely for hours even at parties.
    I remember the abuse began with the constant bad jokes about me.
    I have asked him to stop but he doesnt. Making jokes at spouse all the time can actually put up a wall between you both.

    If it doesnt stop i am leaving when my daughter goes to college in 2 years. It is just to much.

  15. connie rauch Reply

    I appreciate that you realize this is abuse. Not all spouse physically attack. If we have done something wtong how about explaining it to us. We are intelligent. I wonder if the spouses that constantly attack verbally are just unhappy in the marriage and not prepared to end it yet. I would be more humane than one of these people who walk in one night and exclaim ” I just don’t love you anymore” after meeting someone else in reality. I know a couple of people who have lived through that and had no clue. One verbally cut the spouse and the other just laugbed at the spouse all the time. If you are the abuser please take a good look at your true feelings. If you really love someone you don’t want to humiliate them. Banter between two loved ones is totalky different and every individual knows whether joking is done with love or cutting.

  16. Beverly Adams Reply

    I am happy I found this article. I don’t necessarily search the internet to justify how I feel by complete strangers, but this was needed. My husband humiliated me in front of my family the last get together we had, which brought to light all the other scenarios I felt uncomfortable in. He gets together with “the guys” and feeds into any sort of attention he is getting. I couldn’t even step into the living room without him starting to haggle me about something, or asking me questions loudly that he knew the answers to just to set up another “joke” about me. The thing is, my family barely knows him. At one point in the night, he was telling everyone about the worst fight we ever had and thought that’d be a good joke. I was so embarrassed. When we finally left home, my family messaged me about his behavior. I wish they would have shut him up on the spot, but that isn’t their job. Anyway, after that, all I can think of is how he has done this from the very beginning. I can’t stand it and I never want to go anywhere my friends will be with him. Also, my good friend just admitted what an ass he is to me. All of this is just piling up and I want out. I have talked to him about it and he thinks I am being “dramatic.” One more thing, he does not do this when we are alone. Being around people with him is like giving him an opportunity to make me feel small.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Beverly, I would print off the article, give it to him, and say it resonates with you. It’s time for this behavior to stop.

  17. Ahsan Rasheed Reply

    Truly a great piece of writing. I am sure life can be a lot easier and happier if half of the message of the article is understood. Thanks Kevin.

  18. Lisa Mothersead Reply

    My husband says things in public settings about me that I don’t appreciate. We’ve been married 37 years and have had multiple conversations about it. I think it has to do with his social anxiety. I am sociable and comfortable in these settings. He is not. I’m not accepting of it, but understand why it happens. He looks like the fool, and I wish he would understand that.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      As long as he is improving, I would keep moving forward. But if there isn’t any change, I would seek outside help.

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  20. […] Decreased trust. If trust is broken, laughter is often one of the first casualties. In nature, smili... kevinathompson.com/laughter-secret-sauce-healthy-couples
  21. RaNae Reply

    Thank you so much for validating my feelings that a spouse should protect the other from gossip and not make jokes at the other spouses expense for attention.

    Ive asked him not to make fun of me. Stop disrespecting me in front of friends becas it give them a bad impression it teaches them its ok to be disrespectful to me and they are. Ive never hear him stand up for me when they do. If he’s like that in front of me I wanted to know what happened when I wasnt around. He said he doesn’t do this. He says he takes up for me when they talk down or joke about me.to i have met people he knows who just dont like me. My husband says its my fault. I cook I am a good hostess to our guests. How is this possible they all dislike me up on meeting them. Now I know. I know becas I left my phone on to record sounds and have heard him talking when I’m gone.. Once he even told a girl about my spinal injury. Her reaction was shock to what I can only think were pics of the long scar & _ humps from hardware in my back. Then amother woman explained to the first how I cant have sex. Which is a lie. know it looks grotesque. I wont wear tops that show it. To hear him use this as a way to pick up women has shattered my love for him. Je even has another woman backing up his lies to help him cheat on me.

    I’m sorry to get so emotional with you here today. I want the ladies who have been suffering with the disrespect amd bad jokes as I have to know it can get much worse. We each teach others how to treat us. If you let it slide today the disrespect can intensify into downright emotional and verbal abuse. Your so much more than what he wants you to believe of yourself. I praise the author for standing up for those of us who have been affected by this bullying. We aren’t wrong. We arent oversensitive. We dont deserve it. And it’s not funny to anyone but the one seeking attention at another persons expense. Amd no one thinks highly of a person who openly disrespects their spouse. Finally someone else besides me believes this is wrong. Thank you Thank you for letting me know I’m not crazy for being hurt by his words. Like they say if ya dont like it change the way you think about it or leave becas you cant change them,you can only change yourself. Dont let a bully redefine who you think you are. Your so much more than he will ever know.

  22. Mr. foot in my mouth Reply

    My fiancé sent me this article. I crack jokes all the time and when she gets pissed I have a nervous uncontrollable laugh that always adds icing to the cake when you’re in that situation. I need to do a better job making sure she is not the butt of a cheap joke. She really is the greatest and after reading all of those comments I don’t want our marriage to end up like many of the people who left comments. I need to control my jokes and not “treat her like one of the guys”. Reading your struggles made me realize I need to tighten the hatch so I don’t go down a long road of hate and resentment towards my crappy jokes.

  23. Kanthi Reply

    My husband always tries to hurt me and teasing continuously and make fun of me and some tine physically also he hurts me

    And doesn’t spen time with and when ever hr finds tine he keeps in teasing me

    Can i know the reason behind this

  24. Fl Reply

    My husband and his friends insult each others wives. I found a text between my husband and his friend. Mu husband said, ” I can smell your yeast infection.” His friend replied that’s your girl in my jeep, stinking ass stinks up the whole block. Then his friend said “oh I forgot you like her to peel her scabs off for lube.” And all my husband said was ” hell yeah!”
    I feel like this is how they talk about me regularly and it seriously hurt me. I texted his friend and said ” I just wanted you to know that you guys are messed up.” The response from his friend was “were men what did you expect.”
    I feel so foolish and disgusting, even my husband turned it around on me, im the bad guy for being insulted and not protected or respected by my husband. My self worth definitely took a big hit and I’m debating on leaving my husband because of his lack of remorse and unwillingness to stand up for me. I deserve to be treated properly and not feel ashamed of myself for simply being myself and his wife. Did I overreact? Why would his friend say those things about me, I only met him a few times

  25. Disgruntled Husband Reply

    I’d say it goes both ways. I’m reading through this and wondering if I need to check my own “humour” about my wife. I’m going to start paying closer attention.

    But the reason I actually found this is I’m looking for what to do about my wife’s “innocently” abusive jokes of which the men in her family are always the butt. When I first met her, she would make pretty scathing jokes at her dad’s expense, in the presence of others. I could see the hurt in his uncomfortable laughter, but I wrote it off to the result of an unhealthy relationship when she was growing up. As time goes on, I see her do the same with her brother, my brothers, my dad, and sometimes myself.

    The women in the family are exempt, and the setting is always the same. There’s a man around who’s not from the family, and it’s someone she admires. (Besides just seeing it, I know they’re people she admires cause she tells me.) She’ll then make repeated jokes following the same pattern – they are “between” her and this other person; she’ll say them in such a way as to ensure this person laughs with her *at* her family member. They rarely bring laughter from the family member in question (except the uncomfortable, “I’m laughing because I don’t know what else to do but I really did not find that funny” kind of laughter I already mentioned.) Immediately after saying the joke, she’ll try to make eye contact with the other person looking for approval and for the person to laugh with her. Often, the “jokes” will point to somewhat sensitive issues that she has not resolved (or perhaps not even addressed) with the family member in question, or to something she knows will irk the person. For example, she’ll make jokes like this about her father being unemployed and leaving her mother to “maintain a grown man.” (A serious issue, I’ll admit, and just for that reason not one that is best dealt with by making jokes about it at her father’s expense in the presence of others.)

    When I’m the butt of joke, they’re often “smaller” things, but they follow the same pattern. If there’s a man visiting that she admires, I’ll help with someone household duty, and she’ll make jokes about her “bitch” doing the woman’s work, or make cat calls – always looking to the visitor to approve and laugh along with her. Basically, the kind of “joking” you’d expect from a chauvinistic husband.

    Two things about this; as I said above, I am wondering if I’ve gone wrong with some of my own joking, which has fed this habit. I know I didn’t cause it – it happened before I knew her. Also, it’s worth noting that chauvinistic is one thing I’ve never been – I’ve never made the kinds of comments she does, either about her or other women.

    The other thing is that it makes it awkward to look for or – even worse – ask for help on this. “I have a problem with my wife” – “What kind of problem?” “Well, she’s making what would otherwise be chauvinistic jokes, but with me, and the other men in the family, as the butt of those jokes.” Kind of embarrassing for men to admit, even if it shouldn’t be. All the blog posts I find about this topic are wive’s complaining about their verbally abusive, chauvinistic husbands, or – like this one – advice to men to stop doing this kind of joking.

    I’ve tried to her, but the same style of joking keeps happening. Not sure if it’s less or not, but definitely hasn’t stopped.

  26. Shania Reply

    I’m sick and tired of my husband always making jokes on me for others to laugh at. He entertains people by using me. He’s always saying silly stuff about me, my family, my dad. I honestly and sincerely hate him from the bottom of my heart. When we’re all gathered he’s the only person making fun of his wife i.e. me whereas other husbands don’t even go near joking about their wives. He makes me as a laughing stock. I feel he’s disrespectful, always saying that I’m ugly, I’m dark skinned, making me aware that his ex girlfriends were fair skin and beautiful but he loved me that’s why he’s with me, he always says this in front of people. I’ve told him so many times that I don’t like him to joke about me but he doesn’t listen.I feel trapped in this relationship but still with him because of the children who are still small and need a stable house. Please tell me how to deal with this man..

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I think you have every right to kindly say you will no longer accept it. Then when he chooses to make a joke, you respond (publicly) “that hurts me and I will not be around someone who does that to me” and then I would leave the setting.

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