Sarcasm is my love language
“Sarcasm is my love language.” You’ve seen the t-shirt. I live with the guy who should have created it.
As a teenager, I was the master of sarcasm. But I figured out (probably a little too late) that my friends liked me better when I wasn’t being a smart aleck. (For some reason, they didn’t like me always reminding them how stupid they were, and how smart I was. Go figure.) So I banished my sharp tongue to a prison behind zipped lips.
Enter Robbie McDonald. I had about two decades of practicing daily encouragement when we got married. I willingly obeyed all the marriage books that told me to build him up verbally, not tear down. I was familiar with the damage of sarcasm, so my mouth was rigorously trained.
But even my sincerest forms of verbal affirmation were always taken the wrong way. My encouragement made him feel awkward.
I felt rejected. And confused. What good were my compliments when they pushed my husband away?
It didn’t take long to discover that Robbie thought my “uplifting, encouraging” language was too sugary and gushy. It seemed phony, cheap, and sarcastic to him. (My non-sarcasm came across as sarcasm—how’s that for irony?) But intentional sarcasm he thought was funny and lighthearted, a way of flirting.
After some trial and lots of error, I found there is a happy medium. Life-giving words are true and kind. But they don’t have to be gushing, disingenuous, or too sweet.
None of us want to be that wife in Proverbs 21:9who is so sarcastic she makes her husband want to live on the roof. My words still need to fit the bill for giving grace, for not corrupting (Ephesians 4:29).
But I also shouldn’t be the woman who flatters so much that she works ruin (Proverbs 26:28).
In the end, I had to relearn to add some salty sarcasm to my sweet compliments. It seems to make my sincere, mushy compliments more palatable to Robbie. Turns out that for us, giving compliments is like baking chocolate chip cookies—a little salt in the recipe makes the sweet taste better.
Do you know what kind of words speak love and encouragement to your spouse?
Have trouble guarding your tongue in the heat of the moment? Here are “10 Verses to Help You Watch Your Words.”
The good stuff: Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person (Colossians 4:6).
Consider your words to your spouse. Are they too sweet? Are they too salty? Think of some ways you can encourage your spouse without words. What are some changes you can make to your speech to connect better with your love?
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