This post is a little different to the things I typically write about (how to plan your wedding and how to be an epic wife), but it’s been on my heart for a while now. In the two short years I’ve been married, I’ve heard a lot of jokes about marriage. Most of these jokes were shared in the context of a wedding (crazy, right?).
If this is the first time you’ve thought about it, I’d like to share with you why I think we should take marriage more seriously and stop joking about it [and how we can start speaking about marriage in a better way].
Photo credit: Hayley Takes Photos
Weddings are a celebration of marriage
As a former wedding coordinator I’ve heard my fair share of marriage jokes shared in wedding speeches. Here’s one that really makes me cringe:
Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond, but in the end you’ll wish you had a club and a spade.
I see what you did there, but I really don’t think that’s funny. Jokes like this teach us that the happiest day of your life is your wedding day, and that afterwards it’s all downhill. We learn that spouses should come to resent each other to the point of wanting to hit each other over the head with a club. Sound pretty? Not really.
If you are tasked with the job of MCing a wedding or delivering a wedding speech, please do us all a favour and avoid tasteless wedding jokes. You are not speaking at a 21st, so don’t think of this as the perfect time to roast your best friend. Use this as an opportunity to honour your friend, to share lighthearted (and funny) stories that make him or her look great. If you are married, tell the bride and groom how much they have to look forward to. Encourage them that marriage is a beautiful thing.
Related: How To Choose Your Wedding MC
Mutual submission is beautiful
Hear me out. I consider myself to be a bit of a feminist. I believe household chores should be shared. I believe that women are strong and often shushed. My husband brings this out of me and encourages me to speak my mind, and its awesome. That said, I also believe in submission. Mutual submission.
This is my all time worst wedding joke and I’ve heard it many times:
New husband, put your hand on top of your new wife’s hand. Take this moment in and remember it forever, because this is the last time you’ll have the upper hand.
Essentially what you are saying is that your friend’s wife is going to boss him around and nag him all the time. Jokes like this feed the lie that we’ve been told by the media: wives run the household and tell their husbands what to do. In return, husbands resent their wives for taking control. Sound like a lovely picture of marriage? Nope. But this is what we’re constantly sold in movies and TV shows, and now in wedding speeches.
Mutual submission is about trusting each other. I trust my husband with my life, my finances, my heart and my future children. I don’t feel the need to nag him and boss him around, because I trust him to do a good job. He shouldn’t have to feel like I have the “upper hand”, because that is not what marriage is about.
Spouses should honour one another in private and in public
Friends, you will not hear me joking about my husband and moaning about him. You won’t hear stories about his embarrassing habits and you won’t hear me mocking him in any way. Why? Because he’s my husband and best friend and I simply won’t dishonour him.
To my unmarried friends: don’t encourage your married friend to complain about her husband. This is never okay.
Your husband should never be the butt of your jokes. Ever. Instead of joking about him, find ways to praise him in front of other people.
To help you out, here are a few ways you can speak of marriage and spouses in a way that honours and cherishes them:
- Tell your unmarried friends how beautiful marriage is. Married friends, share stories about the blessing of marriage.
- Be wise about who you confide in. Maybe a friend could provide a fresh perspective on something specific, but that can be discussed without publicly flogging your partner. Choose someone you trust before entering into a conversation like this.
- Spend time with people who already honour each other in marriage, and their habits will rub off on you.