May 29, 2008

Bad Marriages Aren't Funny

One of the things I hated to hear as a newlywed was, "One year, huh? So you guys still like each other!" Still like each other? Is marriage supposed to be one big practical joke on the unsuspecting couple? For sure my marriage has changed over the years, but I most definitely still "like" my wife.

This thought comes to me today because I saw a post over at the blog Husband Clothes that is nothing but funny quotes about Marriage, Sex, Men, and Women. Though I always enjoy humor that points out the unique differences between men and women, hearing negative jokes on marriage never really hits me the way it's supposed to. For example:

  • "My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met." Rodney Dangerfield

  • "I don’t think I’ll get married again. I think I’ll just find a woman I don’t like and give her a house." Lewis Grizzard

  • "The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy. The happy wish to be married, the married wish to be dead." Ann Landers

None of this is at all supposed to insult the writer over at Husband Clothes, it's just the fact that we have these jokes that really gets to me. Is marriage really that awful? Goodness I hope your answer isn't yes. And if it is, have you really ever mulled it over and asked yourself how to change it? I mean, wouldn't life be a lot more enjoyable if you could work on making it like it used to be instead of just complaining to your buddies about how it is now?

And coming back to those bright-eyed newlyweds: Why in the world do we even want to joke about how bad it will be? We may only be joking, but the power of suggestion is very real. Our joke today could be someone else's marriage five years from now.

And bad marriages just aren't funny.

More on this topic:


  1. Well put. I still love my wife and love my marriage. Negative jokes definitely come from real problems, but I also believe that there are a lot of happy marriages too. These happy couples also participate in these jokes to kind of 'fit in'. Because who wants to hear about your neighbor's 'perfect' marriage all the time.
    "Take my wife, please."-Henny Youngman.

  2. I'm in sales and am amazed at how many men and women complain about their marriages and how few really have positive and loving things to say about their spouses when they are not present.
    I for one don't think this pleases
    God or strenthens the marriage.

  3. I'd amend Ann Landers' joke to read, "the married wish to be divorced, which renders them poor." Makes it circular, therefore funnier.

    "Is marriage really that awful?"

    It can be, if one of the parties expects the other to do all the compromising. The other party spends a lot of time mulling and trying to change things, to no avail.

    I'm about of the opinion that no man should get married unless he and his fiancee both make known clearly ahead of time that they want the "full Catholic": a sacramental union with no possibility of divorce and no artificial contraception either. The two should be willing to affirm everything on this page. If one is unable to affirm each and every one of these things, our legal system and culture offers no compelling reason why marriage is better for both parties than mere cohabitation or friendship with benefits.

  4. Thank you so much. I have never found most marriage "jokes" to be funny and the idea that a bad marriage makes for good entertainment just saddens me. It's so refreshing to hear from some men who are happily married.
    -a woman who hopes to have a Happy Husband some day.

  5. I totally agree. It always really bothers me when people joke about the horrors of marriage. "...And your spouse has to live with this every day? No wonder things aren't working out for you guys!" "But what about that couple right over there? They've been married for decades and still adore each other! Why are you assuming everyone will be just like you?"

    ~Violet Black