Sarcasm as a Form of Communication?

I would hazard a guess that most police spouses can relate to the sarcasm that becomes a safety net in daily communication, at the very least it certainly is in our house. That, of course, can come with its own set of challenges; the biggest one being that children have a hard time deciphering sarcasm and if the sarcastic parent isn’t careful with what they say it can lead to miscommunication and tears (on the child’s part). I came across this article by Victoria Newman and immediately felt like she had nailed it so I will leave you with her words....

The Sixth Love Language

I didn’t think it could be done.

There are five love languages – Acts of Service, Physical Touch (Affection), Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Quality Time. About 98% of the population give and show love through these five practices. And nobody’s ever really come up with another. And I think everyone’s been okay with that.

Until a few weeks ago.

“I don’t think my husband shows or feels love in these ways. There is a sixth love language.”


So, I have a friend who keeps me on my toes. I’ll call her Sarah. Sarah will come up with some thought-provoking ideas and she will come at me with her armor on, smirky smile, her piercing eyes and poke my brain. What about this? I think you should… And she’ll say something very profound… and then I am speechless for a few moments while I process an idea that didn’t come from within. And suddenly, I see the wisdom in it.

“Okay, Sarah, what is the sixth love language?”

I don’t remember what she called it, but she went on to describe a sort of sarcasm that isn’t designed to wound. It’s a way of communicating with a smirk and a twinkle that is affectionate. It’s a challenge to step into the ring and let’s tease each other until we’re friends.

Sound like anyone you know?

My thoughts went to my father-in- law (former cop) who communicates this way. If you can’t handle the verbal spar, he doesn’t respect you. My thoughts went to several co-workers of my husband, and a Vietnam Vet whom I dabbled in the ring with at a book function, and especially my co-author of Selfish Prayer – he is the champion of Verbal Spar.

I thought of the time I spoke to about 30 middle management police officers in Oakland last fall. Most people would feel uncomfortable talking to a group who sat in a U-shape, dressed in their uniforms with bars and stripes gleaming from the fluorescent lights above. They sat stone-faced, wheels turning, some making a few notes as I spoke about what I offer police marriages. I spoke in my normal encouraging way, speaking passionately about my cause. And then, one asked the question: “Got anything in that book of yours that deals with cops that want to sleep with married cops? Cause that’s what I’m dealing with right now.”

Here we go.

I went on to mention that yes, I do mention this briefly in my book, and then said something like, “That’s why I do what I do. It may be kind of Pollyanna, but perhaps if we can strengthen marriages, you won’t have to deal with it on duty.”

They weren’t convinced. So I switched to Verbal Spar – what I recognize now to be the sixth love language.

“Look, we do what we can, but sometimes shit happens…”

The entire room erupted into laughter.

I was suddenly one of the club.

Believe it or not, I felt trusted. I’d made the connection.

Not by speaking my language, but theirs.

So, I’m declaring that there is a sixth love language. It is a language of love and trust spoken by men and women who deal with the painful realities of our world – cops, military, search and rescue, firemen, medical personnel. Probably others, too.

Verbal Sparring is a tough language to speak because it dances close to uncomfortable. And sometimes Verbal Sparring draws blood. I wondered for a few weeks if I should even write about this because I had to ask myself if it was actually a language of love. My conclusion is, absolutely. It is a different way of loving and communicating love that is safe within the life that demands we toughen up and deal with the crap flying around us.

So when I was apologizing for not giving appropriate heads up on something, I declared that I was “so lame!”. Sarah’s comment was, “You are lame!”

I felt so loved.

Victoria Newman - ''A CHiP on My Shoulder'' March 14th, 2014

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Follow Us
Search By Tags
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square


Canada Beyond The Blue, along with any of its chapters, does not provide legal or medical advice. The content of its websites is for general and educational information only and is not intended to be a substitute for, or component of, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Use of any information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.

Canada Beyond The Blue, along with any of its chapters, is not responsible in any manner for direct, indirect, special or consequential damages, however caused, arising out of your use of the website including any damages you may suffer if you transmit confidential or sensitive information to us or if we communicate such information to you at your request over the Internet. Links to other web sites from this website are for convenience only. No endorsement of any third-party products, services or information is expressed or implied by any information, material or content referred to or included on, or linked from or to the website.


Information found on Canada Beyond The Blue, along with any of its chapter’s websites is believed to be accurate and reliable but we cannot guarantee it is accurate or complete or current at all times. Information supplied on the blog site is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical or legal advice and should not be relied upon in that regard.