I recently heard from a newlywed who was already experiencing some bumps in her marriage. Marnie and her husband Nate had gone on a ski weekend with her family that went far from smoothly. Marnie had grown up skiing, so she and her siblings couldn’t wait to get out on the advanced slopes. But Nate had never skied before. Marnie couldn’t help laughing at the sight of his unsteady legs, flailing arms and frequent wipe-outs. She told him skiing probably just wasn’t his thing and suggested that he hang out by the fire and relax with a cup of cocoa so he didn’t end up with a broken leg—or worse. At dinner that evening, she laughingly described to her family the comical sight of his bumbling efforts on the slope. Instead of laughing along, he seemed like he was really hurt.
Marnie couldn’t figure out what was wrong. When they got married they had promised to be totally honest with each other. She felt like she was just saving Nate from a lot of frustration trying to do something he clearly wasn’t gifted at. But she noticed that he was quiet and withdrawn for the rest of the weekend.
Have you ever been in a similar situation, where you teased your husband over something he tried that didn’t come easily—all in good fun, or so you thought—and it backfired, with him getting hurt or even angry?
Here’s why your husband might have gotten upset like Marnie’s did, and what you can learn from the example of highly happy couples to prevent it from happening again.