I do like sitcoms (situational comedies). I grew up watching them. You probably have your favorites. I’ve got mine (MASH, Newhart, Taxi, Cosby Show, and Home Improvement). The really good sitcoms take every day situations for the everyday person and makes them funny. It’s what keeps our attention and helps us to see the humor in own lives. Now that Netflix has “Everyone Loves Raymond,” I find myself finally watching the show right before I sleep just to let the comedy relax my mind before sleep.
But…it’s got me thinking.
At 30-minute intervals, we see situations revealed and the comedy unfold. While we watch, we, and especially our children, subliminally soak in messages and quotes. They sit in our minds and crowd up our memories. (Even now, you’re thinking of your own favorite sitcoms and/or the quotes and moments that stick out to you.) Unfortunately, over the years, there seems to be a steady vein running through most sitcoms. It was there from my earliest memories of seeing “The Honeymooners” and it lingers now into our modern-day shows.
The “Stupid Spouse.”
stu·pid/ˈst(y)o͞opid/ lacking intelligence or common sense.
Most of you reading this won’t have to think back very far to see the sitcom with the “Stupid Spouse.” You name the sitcom and you’ll have no problem naming off the spouse or the person in the relationship that has been chosen to be “stupid.” Not only is he/she the butt of the jokes, but the role that he/she plays becomes a laughing-stock of their family. Children are allowed to disregard dad because he’s an idiot. Don’t respect mom because she’s disconnected from reality. Husbands are spineless and weak leaders. Wives are selfish and conniving. There is very little respect for marriage as well as parenting.
My wondering: has what we have been viewing and enjoying been allowed to soak into our own families? Have we allowed our entertainment to actually shape our marriages? Have they become emotional pornography creating unrealistic ideals that ravage the reality of how the Lord has designed you both?
Do you have a culture of demeaning your spouse?
Our homes SHOULD be the place of safety. Our spouse SHOULD be our greatest supporter. Our marriage SHOULD be the source of our greatest encouragement.
But somewhere in this demeaning culture, we have become what we watch. We tear down our spouse. Now we don’t do it to their face all the time. Let them leave the room first before we give a comment to our kids about how you disagree with their father/mother. When our parents call us, we’ll start-up again on how “stupid” our spouse is. We’ll even go to church and sing of the love of God and put on the facade to our friends of how our family is. Somewhere this has to stop. Someone has to draw a line in the sand and make a stand for encouragement.
James deals this sensitive subject by saying, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
If you find yourself thinking about how stupid (lacking intelligence or common sense) your spouse is…
If you are constantly refusing to let your spouse be a helpmate…
If you cannot speak to them respectfully and lovingly…
If you cannot talk about your spouse without tearing them down to someone…
Husbands and wives…THESE THINGS OUGHT NOT TO BE SO!
Before you cancel your cable, Netflix, and Hulu accounts, take a step back. I’m not telling you to go all “pharisee” on me with your TV’s and computers. I’m asking for you to just pause and reflect. It’s time to turn the tide of the culture of your home.
1 – It starts with you. I’ve dealt with too many marriages where a husband and wife are acting like middle schoolers and not adults. Don’t wait for him/her to make the first move to having a culture of respect and honor. Thank the Lord that Jesus didn’t wait for us to make the first move back to him before he extended love toward us. “Drawing a line in the sand” ISN’T about “do this or I’m leaving.” It’s about saying, “It stops here and now.” STOP TRYING TO CHANGE YOUR SPOUSE! Let the change start in you.
2 – Ask for forgiveness. Admitting fault is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. Hiding your faults is what makes you weak. Humility is the antibiotic for a pride-filled marital culture. Proverbs 22:4 says, “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”
3 – Create culture. Embrace who your spouse is and how the Lord created them as an individual. Your differences are to be celebrated…not rejected. Create a culture where encouragement and praise becomes the norm. When there is a culture of edification, the constructive criticism that is needed for growth is received on furtive soil as opposed to calloused hearts that have been damaged by harsh remarks and disrespect. You may have been married 2 years, 20 years, or 40 years. It’s not too late to create a new culture of encouragement that will foster the atmosphere of healthy marital growth.
4 – Lastly, be dedicated to feeding the new culture. Occasionally, Anne ticks me off. I never make her mad (okay that’s a lie). But there needs to be a decision that, no matter how out of the norm it is for you, to feed the culture of encouragement and honor. Your kids cannot see and hear you demeaning their father/mother. Your parents cannot hear you tearing your spouse down. Before other and before the Lord, chose to be a spouse who builds instead of destroys. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” You will have moments that you will not feel like feeding the “new culture.” That’s where we come to grips with the fact that love is a decision and not just a feeling. Love your spouse to feed the culture of a healthy marriage.
If we were real here, we’d admit we ALL have moments where we are lacking intelligence or common sense. Be humble to see that in yourself and that humility will feed into how you deal with your spouse.
Encourage liberally. Laugh loudly. Love unconditionally.
Thanks for letting me ramble…