Laughter is healthy for families. We ought to be able to joke with each other without having to worry about getting an angry overreaction in response. But some humor can be destructive. If your partner is sensitive in a certain area—weight, appearance, intelligence, a specific skill—avoid poking fun at that tender spot. If your child has an embarrassing characteristic, such as bed‐wetting or thumb‐sucking or stuttering, tread softly. Never ridicule.
We should also note that humor can be a classic response to feelings of low self‐esteem. Many of today’s most successful comedians got their training while growing up, when they used humor as a defense against childhood hurts. If you’re married to someone who’ll do anything for a laugh, you may discover that just under the surface he or she is plagued by painful memories or self‐doubt.
It’s great to laugh—but it’s also wise and loving to occasionally check what motivates your humor, where it’s aimed, and how it’s received. If the person you’re having fun with isn’t having fun, then it’s not real fun at all.
Just between us…
- Have I ever teased you in a way that hurt you?
- Do we need to apologize for any of our past comments to each other?
- Does either of us use humor to cover up feelings of inferiority?
- Do you think the Lord would approve of the way we use humor? If not, how can we be more careful?
From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.