Are T-Shirts Bad for Marriage?

Recently Rita was exercising at the mall and noticed a new T-shirt shop had opened. The shirt that caught her attention was attached to the door with the likely intent of drawing people into the shop. The shirt said, “I don’t need Google, my wife knows everything. Needless to say she didn’t find it funny. It reminded us once again of an ongoing discussion we have had in recent years about what wer really should be doing to defend marriage. We have thought for some time that marriage is being destroyed by those who are married, by the media, by the drive for financial gain, as much as by anything else. It is attitudes and information that is subtly or not so subtly put out there for us to laugh at that might be as responsible for the marriage statistics as anything else. We decided to take a look at other T-shirts that are commonly marketed and worn.

Here is a list of some of the comments we found on T-shirts and posters.

“Marriage is a relationship in which one is always right, the other is the husband.”
“I’m the boss, my wife said I could be.”
A shirt with a wedding photo and the words, “Game over.”
“Marriages don’t fail, wives fail.”
“Happy Wife, Happy Life”
“The Doomed Groom”
“A man is not complete until marriage… then he’s finished”
“Friends don’t let friends get married.”
“My wife is giving me the silent treatment. She thinks she’s punishing me.”
“Marriage has three rings. Engagement ring, Wedding ring and Suffering” We actually heard a priest start a homily on the Wedding feast at Cana with this.
“Real men don’t ask for directions. They get lost over and over again until the wife finally asks”
“Marriage is a work shop. Husband works. Wife shops.”
“You have two choices in life. Stay single and be miserable. Get married and wish you were dead”

All of these things and others, the remarks people make when someone is getting married, even things said by priests in homilies, don’t make marriage desirable and subtly support getting out when the going gets tough.

In all honesty we saw a few that said
“My wife rocks”
“My husband is awesome.
“I Love My Wife”

We would have to say that marriage is a life sentence, not in the way it it is depicted on a T-shirt, but an opportunity to experience the greatest things life has to offer. Rita isn’t the boss nor is Bob. It is in working together that we have experienced the joy of marriage. Neither of us think that our lives were “finished” when we got married. It was the beginning of a wonderful journey with each other that took us places that we never thought or imagined we would go. We are certainly glad that our parents and friends encouraged and supported us when we were preparing for marriage and have continued to do so.

Don’t you think it is time that those of us who are joyfully married stand up against the crap that is out there and speak to the wonders that marriage provides?  We need to stop laughing at the bad jokes, certainly never wear one of the T-shirts that puts marriage down, and speak out to all about the joys and benefits of being married. It just might have a positive effect on the marriage/divorce statistics.

P.S. Just in case you think we have completely lost our sense of humor, we find this one funny. A refrigerator magnet contains a picture of a man and a woman on horse back riding past an old-style outhouse. She says: “Hank, there’s something I’ve always wanted to know:  Why is it a good thing for a girl to be built like one of those?”

We welcome your comments.

Today’s scripture readings, reflection and prayer:
Living Together in the Word

Bob & Rita’s book: Forever and Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime is available on or by contacting us. Also available for Kindle and Nook. Make a retreat with your spouse, at home, on your time. Readings, relationship tips, questions for discussion.


About Rita & Bob Boeke

Rita Boeke has experience teaching scripture and with her husband Bob has experience in enriching marriages through workshops and retreats. They post a weekly blog at and co-authored Forever and a Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage that Lasts a Lifetime.
This entry was posted in Catholic Marriage, Couple Relationships, Marriage, Marriage Enrichment, Marriage Help, Newlyweds and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.