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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6 responses to “Don’t Forget to Laugh in Marriage – MM #109”
(USA) I married a man that I lived with first. I went through a divorce and starting dating and having a sexual relationship with this man when I had middle school aged children at home. I did everything wrong. I was (and am) a Christian, but when I went through my divorce and started dating this man, I was about as far away from the Lord as any non-Christian.
But after dating for a year or so, I started feeling convicted more and more and even broke up with this man a couple of times because I felt it would be wrong for me to be with or marry a non-Christian. I took him back because he pleaded with me that he loved me and I needed to give him a chance (to get to know about Christianity). I stupidly jumped back into things with him, but the more I witnessed to him, the closer and closer I was feeling to the Lord.
I went ahead and married him because we had been living together and I felt it was the right thing to do. I gave him many opportunities to get out of the relationship, telling him that Jesus was first in my life and as a Christian I would be going to church and my relationship with the Lord was the most important thing in my life. I told him that things were not going to change in that area, and if he felt this was the kind of woman he wanted to be married to then I would commit to the marriage.
We both have older children, he a daughter and I have 3 sons. The kids are all "good" kids, they accepted our relationship but it has been a very rocky road since our marriage 1 1/2 years ago. In fact, I would have to say that the kids, even though in their late teens and early twenties, are on the verge of causing our marriage to not work. We both have big communication problems with each other’s kids. I feel that he and his daughter are close in a way that I can never be close with them in the same way and I know that this is OK.
It’s just that he wants his daughter and I to be close and we just aren’t on the same page. She doesn’t understand me and I don’t understand her. I have tried to tell my husband that I am through trying to be something I’m not with her and he just argues back that he feels the same way about my family, which isn’t totally true. He definitely has a different and better relationship with my boys. He is just feeling defensive about his daughter.
I am at the point of wanting out of the marriage, but I know that would hurt too many people. So now I just pray that God will intercede and help things get better. There is a lot more going on that I could write about, but that is the main concern at the moment. I would like some comments from any one else who has wisdom in this matter. I read that it takes years for things to get better.
I am 44 years old, I went about everything the wrong way spiritually in the first place. I feel like I’m just reaping what I have sown. I want things to be better, I want to be in love with my husband and to at least have a slightly normal life. My husband still doesn’t trust or love the Lord and that is also very discouraging to me.
I know we probably need some counseling, but wouldn’t they just say that I need to keep praying and we need to work on our relationship with each other? I don’t know if I want to work on it anymore. I think that he just doesn’t want to "start over again" since this is his 3rd marriage and he is not thinking about eternity but what his work buddies will think, and he needs me to help pay for our house and the bills. What should I do? Any advice out there? I know this was a long email.
(CANADA) Hi Jenny, I can understand your feelings, as I too am in a similar situation. It is hard, and it hurts to be misunderstood and for your partner to think less of you for something you can’t change overnight, if ever. Obviously, you would love for things to work the way your husband envisions. Unfortunately, this usually isn’t possible for many years, if ever. But leaving your marriage is not going to solve your problems.
Understanding quite clearly the Christian belief, it is too bad that you feel like ending your relationship which was witnessed by God. “In good times and bad” really means that. You also can’t sit back and do nothing. God helps those who help themseves. It is hard work, and you’re right, how your husband views himself is important. However, men are notoriously famous for having strong feelings and not being able to understand them. I am sure he doesn’t want to look like a failure, and he needs help too, the least of it financial. But he probably does not know how to verbalise what he needs, and is insecure, to the point that he isn’t willing to acknowledge it.
Take some time for yourself evey day. In this way you can stay grounded. Make time for the two of you, at least once a week. You have joined as one before God, whether you share the same religion or not. Just because he hasn’t accepted Christianity as part of his life doesn’t mean that he is Godless. Remember, God is omnipresent. He is everywhere and in everything. God is in your marriage, and he will help, whether you are a Christian or not. He loves all his children. If you can love others as you want to be loved, you have found the answer. The rest will come someday.
I wish you all you hope for, and that all your hard work pays off for you, and your husband. You both have been joined as one. It won’t work if you behave as individuals. Hope this helps. Remember, I know it is hard, I am there too. You are not a wicked stepmother. You are feeling what we all do, and you are not alone.
Jenny, I have struggled with this same issue. No one ever told us how difficult it is to be a part of a blended family. But families aren’t supposed to be that way anyway. Yet so many people find themselves here and you are correct, we do reap what we sow. That doesn’t, however, mean that there is no hope. The Bible says that we are to praise the Lord and be thankful even when our situation seems bleak.
Try waking up everyday and telling God how grateful you are for your life as well as that of everyone in your family – that even though you don’t know what it is that He is working on in your life or trying to teach you, you trust in Him and His plan. Because God is in complete control (ALWAYS and in EVERY situation), you can always be at peace knowing that whatever He is allowing in your life is going to benefit you in the future (which you know is eternal)! The Bible also says that what God joins let no man separate. That the faith of a believing wife can save that of the husband. You and your husband are now one. :)
It seems that you are struggling not only with the issues you are writing about, but also feelings of loneliness. It’s common (and I’m so guilty of this) for us as wives to turn to our husbands to fulfill our need to be loved. But remember GOD doesn’t want that and didn’t create us for that purpose. That void that you feel and the anxiety that you experience from it is a natural response. That’s your cue to spend more time with the Lord and put your total faith in Him alone. It’s amazing what He will do when you devote yourself to Him.
Get on your knees and pray pray pray. Open your Bible. Make everything in your life about glorifying our amazing God. And He will bless you! Pray for good godly women in your life. Pray for a godly man in your husbands. Pray to be able to show the type of love to your step daughter that will lead her to Christ. If you can’t think of what to pray for just pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you and intercede for you in prayer. He will!! God will never leave you alone!!
I hope this has helped. I’ll say a prayer for you. Do us all a favor and pray for the rest of us struggling with the same situation. :)
(USA) I need help! I have fallen out of love with my wife and she knows this because I told her. I also told her that I have cheated on her and she is still here. She wants to work it out. But I wonder why. If she cheated on me, I would have left her a long time ago. I should feel sorry for what I did. I did at first, but after a while the feeling bad just went away. She is hurting and begging me to hug her and tell her that I love her, but I just don’t feel that way anymore. Is this my punishment from God, feeling empty? I want to love her like I used too. I expect the worst on comments, but how do ask God to save us and myself?
First, I want you to know I’m glad you found the web site and that you are reaching out trying to find some answers. I can assure you the answers are there if you are willing to “look” in the right place.
You are blessed that your wife “wants” to work things out. She is obviously a woman of great character and has a forgiving heart. I hope you will grow to see this and value her.
Marriage was never intended to be “easy.” Too many people think married love is based on feelings. That is so far from the truth. Marriage is supposed to be a commitment, or covenant, between you, God and your spouse. That makes it the strongest bond on earth. It has to be this way because feelings are fickle. Cindy and I have been married 36 years and we can both tell you there have been…and still are times…that we don’t “feel” love for the other person. But that doesn’t lessen our commitment to our marriage. It wasn’t always that way. But we praise God that He was patient with us (primarily, me) and taught us what “real” love is supposed to be.
Not knowing where you are spiritually right now makes it hard to know how to advise you. If you and your wife don’t know Christ as your personal Savior then I suggest you need to start there. It’s not that you can’t repair your marriage without Christ at the center, but I can tell you from personal experience, I sure wouldn’t want to try to do it without Him in my life. If you go back to our web site and click in to “Spiritual Matters” section, you should find a lot there to help you on your spiritual journey.
Because you said you want to “love her like you used to”, I’m going to offer you something even better…loving her the way God wants you to and the way she deserves. To do that you need to ask God to forgive you for the sin (adultery) you committed against Him and your wife, then you need to ask your wife’s forgiveness.
If you go into the section on our web site called, “Save My Marriage” you’ll find a lot of resources and articles that can get you started.
Tim, there is so much I could “tell” you to do that would all be great helps, but all I want you to know right now is that IF you’re serious about wanting to do what’s right, you just have to start by admitting to God that you BLEW IT BIG TIME! And that you are coming to Him asking/begging Him to give you His love for your wife.
Next, you have to start implementing changes in your life that will demonstrate to your wife that you’re serious about this.
I’d also strongly suggest that when the new movie, “Fireproof” comes to your city, take your wife to it. I believe it would help you both tremendously. After the movie, get your hands on the new book called, the “Love Dare”, (from the movie) and then actually DO IT for the next 40 days. I can almost guarantee if you do that, you will see your marriage renewed and revived beyond what you could even imagine possible right now.
You have a “seeking” heart. God will honor you for that. I look forward to the letter you write in the future that is your personal testimony of what God has done in your marriage.
Marriage Misisons International
(USA) I just sent this post to a bunch of my friends as I agree with most of what you’re saying here and the way you’ve presented it. It is awesome.