Sarcasm is a vital component to a healthy marriage. I contend that sarcasm is second only to arguing in terms of keeping your relationship fresh; indeed, a well-placed bit of snark can jump-start an argument almost as quickly as a call from your bank’s fraud prevention department.
ME: I mean, obviously I’m not saying you used the debit card to pay hookers-
ME: That’s all on me, because I never carry cash
HIM: Yeah, they always insist on cash from me.
Allow me to elaborate on my Sarc-theorem: when one uses sarcasm correctly, we are communicating on several levels. Observe this exchange, for example.
ME: Okay, FINE, I’ll do it your way.
HIM: Thank you.
ME: (sarcastic) Since you know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING
HIM: (bows) Thank you for finally admitting-
ME: Oh my GOD, that was SARCASM! You don’t even know SAR-
HIM: Nope, that’s what I heard! (fingers in ears) LALALALALA
See what I did there? On the surface, I agreed with my husband, gave his ego a little boost, and told him that he’s the strongest and most brilliant man on Earth. This makes him happy, even though he knows there’s more underlying the obvious in that statement.
On a deeper level, I communicated my actual feelings about the matter, which were that he was being an unreasonable prat who probably shouldn’t be trusted with a child’s pair of safety scissors. He heard this as well, and – even though he pretended to ignore it – the practice of listening to and absorbing my opinions helps him. Also, he now knows that he’s been just about as stupid as I’ll allow today, and needs to start making better choices and maybe not melting things accidentally.
Additionally – and this bit isn’t for amateurs – there’s the low-stakes dust up that we used in this case to diffuse* the tension of the day; not a proper fight, this, just a chance for us to flex our fighting muscles a bit and blow off steam. Dogs do this all the time: a quick tussle, then shake it off and go about your day feeling much more centered.
People could learn a lot by watching animals.
Now that we’ve covered the basics and a bit of more advanced material, let’s go over one more example of sarcasm in action. See if you can spot just how much love is exchanged and amplified here.
HIM: (does something stupid and dangerous)
ME: Oh, I’m sure that will be fine. That looks perfectly safe, and clearly won’t end in disaster.
HIM: I agree!
HIM: (indistinct mumble that sounds an awful lot like “I hope”)
ME: What was that?
HIM: … I said… I… agree?
ME: And then…
HIM: … I love you?
HIM: When you post this, be sure to note your sarcastic tone at the beginning.
So the next time you feel a sarcastic comment bubbling up around your significant other, go ahead and let it fly.
It’s literally the only way to save the relationship.
* Yes, that’s what I meant. No, I do not mean “defuse.” Think about it.