This is a phrase used often. It is said when the person really is just kidding. Laughter erupts with everyone in the room.
However, there are times when this phrase is said and one person is the brunt of the “just kidding” words spoken. One person may try to laugh it off–the one who said the thing. But to the one who heard the words, it’s like a dagger to the heart. They aren’t laughing. Oh, they may laugh on the outside, but on the inside there are tears of pain, of humiliation, of all sorts of bad things.
When this happens in a marriage the pain is only more intense because the one who knows you best is betraying you by leaving you vulnerable and exposed in public.
This may sound harsh. But it isn’t our heart to be harsh, only to address a very real problem that can be a blind spot in many marriages.
Here’s a scenario:
A couple is at a dinner party with friends. The evening is full of laughter and fun when one wife comments, “The flowers on the table are gorgeous. Where did you get them?”
“Oh, my husband bought them for me last week and they’ve stayed fresh all this time. I just love them.”
Another wife chimes in putting her arm around her husband’s neck, “If my husband ever bought me flowers it would be at my funeral.” She laughs and everyone else joins in, yet there is a sting in the air.
When the wife sees the expression on her husband’s face she says, “I was just kidding.”
These types of situations happen in marriage because two sinners got married. We shouldn’t be surprised when we treat each other sinfully. What we do after a time like this determines if our marriage is on a healthy path or a slippery slope.
A marriage on a healthy path…
…would bring this scenario up later when the two are alone. The husband would say, “You know when you said that about the flowers tonight, I felt embarrassed. It wasn’t funny to me.”
A marriage on a slippery slope…
…would either not bring the situation up at all, letting the sting penetrate the heart. Or the husband may retaliate with a stinger back to her in front of their friends. Both responses only add to the damage done.
Saying anything in jest that has an ounce of truth to it is detrimental to a healthy marriage. We must purpose before getting in situations like these to never put each other in a bad light. If there are hurts or disappointments–which there will be–make sure you talk about these things in private. If you happen to be the one who said the hurtful words in front of others, humble yourself and repent. You should also go to your friends and repent to them for speaking ill of your spouse making the moment awkward for them.
These are growing moments in your relationship, but growth is stunted if we don’t learn from our mistakes.
The next time you use the words, I was just kidding, make sure you really are.
How have you handled moments like these? Has your marriage learned and grown stronger as a result? Or are you in need of making some things right?
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