On a regular basis, I will hear from a parent, “My child is disrespectful to me or to my spouse and I don’t know what to do about it.”
Or I’ll hear this from someone, “I can’t seem to connect with my spouse. We don’t connect sexually. We don’t connect emotionally or relationally.”
What is going on? I’m about to pull my hair out. I don’t know what to do.
Your kids’ reaction to you is a mirror of how they see you react to your spouse.
Here’s an example.
I knew a couple who made fun of each other. It was how, they would say, they “joked with each other.”
The problem was, everything they said to the other person had a little bit of truth in it.
“We’re always late because of this one” (laughter).
“Wow, your husband does that, wish my husband wasn’t so lazy” (laughter).
“Sweetie, look at what Joe got for Sue. Remember when you got me a necklace five years ago” (laughter).
“So, you’re the couple that has sex five times a week. I’ve heard about couples like that. What’s that like?” (laughter).
Those are real lines that I’ve sat and heard a person say in front of their spouse and a group. Consequently, those aren’t even the worse ones.
Now, each time the whole group laughed (some nervously).
Each time, and don’t miss this: There was truth in each statement.
Couples use joking and making fun of their spouse as a way of communicating truth. Now, this is a destructive and unhealthy way to communicate truth, but nevertheless a powerful way.
The problem is that over time, it is disrespectful, it tears the other down and it does not build oneness in your marriage. Eventually, the only communication that happens in your marriage is nagging, nitpicking and making fun.