“Sarcasm can wound the person you love, tear down good communication
between the two of you, and can inflict long-term damage to your relationship.”
– Doug Fields, Sarcasm Could Be Ruining Your Relationship
If you and your fiancé or spouse are both Christians who realize that sin and selfishness are the root causes of relational difficulty, then Doug Fields practical article on managing sarcasm may help you. Otherwise, it treats the wound of relational hardship lightly.
Here are Fields’ 3 ways to dial back the damage your smart mouthing can render:
1) Don’t Say Everything You Think
2) Keep Your Body Language in Check
3) Schedule a Weekly Summit
I’ve been married for 19 years, which may deepen my perspective, but 19 years of marriage doesn’t make me the authority. I happen to know that there are lots of Christians in bad relationships—many of them in my own church. They are reading articles like Doug Fields’ that are filled with self-help tips but such articles never lead them to real life change since a self-help perspective pretty much eviscerates Scripture and the Holy Spirit from the discussion. (Both are noticeably absent from the "Relevant" article.)
Compare Fields’ self-help article with the ever-relevant, biblical counsel from a counselor like Paul Tripp:
I don't think we have taken the Bible seriously in understanding what it means when a sinner marries a sinner. Second Corinthians 5:15 says that Jesus came so that those who live would no longer live for themselves.
Here is what this means: The DNA of sin is selfishness. That means that sin in its fundamental form is antisocial because I care more about me than I do anyone else. I shrink my world down to my wants, my needs, and my feelings. That means that I will reduce the people in my life to vehicles or obstacles. If you help me get what I want, I love you cards and flowers. If you stand in the way of what I want, I am spontaneously irritated and angry.
Now, think about it. Who has that conversation with couples going into marriage? We talk a little bit about sex, a little bit about finances, a little bit about roles, a little bit about communication, but those aren't the cause of our problems. Those are the locations of the problems. The cause is this selfishness.
I believe this one tiny dose of biblical sanity could rescue struggling marriages everywhere. I don’t have to imagine it, actually. It was the dawning light that began the long process of saving and strengthening my own marriage 15 years ago. That was when I finally came to learn that self-help is no help. Only biblical truth applied in the power of the Holy Spirit can change a life from the inside out.
Your turn: Join the discussion in the comments below.
Alex Crain is the editor of Christianity.com