We just received an e-mail from the Romantic Vineyard ministry that reminded those who subscribe to their service, to “Laugh! That’s right …don’t forget to laugh. It can be a lifeline to your marriage relationship. How easy it is to forget that! Victor Hugo said, ‘Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.'” Isn’t that true?
We realize that many of you are living in difficult marriages and life situations and laughter doesn’t seem like much of an option right now. But even if your spouse gives you nothing to laugh about, and even though life may not seem so funny, we encourage you to FIND something that will bring a smile to your face and tickle your funny bone. It may be the best thing for you right now.
Don’t Forget to Laugh
I recently wrote an article for our web site titled “Warning Signs That a Marriage is in Crisis” —which we have posted in the Save My Marriage topic. And one of the many signs includes: IF THE LAUGHTER HAS GONE OUT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP, WARNING, WARNING, WARNING!
To that, I wrote:
“This might not seem to be as critical as some of the other signs that are listed. But don’t be fooled. If you see this happening, this is the time to infuse laughter back into the relationship again. The couple that doesn’t laugh together has lost a critical healing component to their relationship. The Bible says, ‘laughter (or a cheerful heart) is good medicine.’ (Proverbs 17:22) If you stop laughing together, your marriage can naturally slide into crisis mode.”
“Laughter bonds people. Any good friend will tell you that laughter is the shortest distance between two people —especially in marriage.” (Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott)
There are a host of different reasons why laughter is important in a marriage. The following are “5 reasons you should make your spouse laugh.” It comes from an article posted on the Internet titled, Love, Laughter and Marriage: Why Laughter is Vital to a Healthy Relationship. (You can read the “reasons” in full, plus other points of interest on this subject.) But, here are the reasons given:
Reasons to Laugh
1. Laughter fosters a sense of playfulness and shared abandon.
2. Laughter forges a positive bond.
3. Plus, laughter brings greater perspective.
4. Laughter reduces defensiveness and opens you up to new experiences.
5. Laughter acts as a buffer to stress.
Someone once said, “If you don’t have a sense of humor, you probably don’t have any sense at all.” This certainly can be true. There are many reasons why it makes sense to find things to laugh about both with your spouse.
In some cases, it can help to deflate an angry situation. In an article titled, Reasons to Laugh, Each Day (and how it beats anger), author, Ed Welch told of an occasion where he could have reacted to his wife in anger. But instead, he used humor. This became a marital “secret” he and his wife are learning to use more often.
Ed Welch wrote:
“Early in my marriage I would react poorly to my wife’s tone of voice. Sometimes, it seemed to me, she spoke with a hint of contempt and condescension. And, if I ever caught a whiff of that, I would not laugh.
“Well, her parents came to stay with us and the magical moment took place that very first evening they were at our house. My mother-in-law was saying something to my father-in-law that sounded strangely like my wife’s ‘Voice’ (we had a name for it) only exaggerated. Here was my opportunity to grow in wisdom. How would my father-in-law respond? If he said something helpful, I would have an entirely new template for how to respond to my wife. I was confident he would do something wise, which he did. He laughed, and that was the end of it.
“Later that evening the Voice made a brief appearance. I laughed. My wife hugged me, as if I had given her the best present ever.
“I had two options. My preference had been, ‘How could you say that to me?’ The second was, ‘If you think I am going to waver in my affection toward you because you sound a little testy, then you have another thing coming!’ That moment was probably the first time I had chosen option two —and laughed. And I have been trying to stick with option two ever since.
“…Here’s the funny thing. When I came home from that conference in which the presenter encouraged us to laugh with our spouse at least five days out of seven, my wife and I had a good laugh at a marital ‘secret’ that was so superficial and silly. And, indeed, it could have used some biblical rationale. But today I’m laughing with my wife about ironic events, our foibles, or even sins. …She loves it. So do I.”
Appropriate Reasons to Laugh
Great secret! Of course, laughter isn’t always appropriate to use all the time. But there are times when it can be just the right “medicine” to head off an argument.
The Bible tells us: “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam. So drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14) “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife. But every fool is quick to quarrel.” (Proverbs 20:3) So sometimes, when appropriate, you can add humor to the situation to avoid a “dispute” or “strife.”
As Dr Les Parrott points out in the Focus on the Family article titled, “Why Laughter is Good for Your Marriage”:
“Take it from the professionals. Legendary comedian Bob Hope says laughter is an ‘instant vacation.’ Jay Leno says, ‘You can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh.’ And Bill Cosby says, ‘If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.’ Researchers agree. Studies reveal that individuals who have a strong sense of humor are less likely to experience burnout and depression. And they are more likely to enjoy life in general —including their marriage.”
The point we hope you’ll walk away with today is: DON’T FORGET TO LAUGH. Look for the “funny” around you, even if you have to look far and wide. It could help you AND your marriage!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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Filed under: Marriage Messages