My wife has no sense of humor. She says I make fun of her in public, and gets all upset and insulted. Shouldn't she be able to take a joke?
Jokes are serious. The line between a friendly jibe and a humiliating stab is often a fine one. You have to question whether the laugh you may get is worth the pain you may inflict.
This is true regarding every humorous comment made about another person. But between husband and wife, humiliation is simply criminal. It goes against everything that a marriage is supposed to be: an exclusive oneness.
In the Jewish wedding ceremony, after standing under the chuppah (marriage canopy), the bride and groom are taken to a private room, known as the yichud room. Yichud means "oneness," "unity" and "exclusivity." By entering this room, a secluded place where no one is present but the couple, they create a sacred space that is theirs and theirs alone.
The newlyweds leave the yichud room after a few minutes, but in a way they should never leave it. The privacy and oneness of the yichud room should be taken with them in their marriage. The relationship between husband
and wife is a sacred and secluded place, and should stay that way. Any word or action that jeopardizes the privacy and unity of a marriage should be erased from our repertoire.
When you make fun of your wife in front of your friends, you have momentarily stepped out of the yichud room. You have abandoned your soul-partner, leaving her alone and isolated just for a few cheap laughs. To make a joke is fine, but never at the expense of your oneness.
The same thing happens when one spouses criticizes his or her partner in public. In doing so, s/he has allowed strangers into the yichud room. S/he is inviting others into a moment that should only be between the two of them. There is a time and a place for criticism in a relationship, but not in the presence of others.
These mistakes are so common that, to many couples, they have become acceptable. But it is these little things that can erode a good marriage. For a relationship to thrive it must always remain an exclusive oneness.
Once you get comfortable in the yichud room, you'll never want to leave.