I posted something today on my facebook page about laughter and it got me thinking about marriage and laughter. There are many reasons why a marriage fails – even those that start out with good intentions. Oh sure, there are outside forces that hit you blindsided – we all know about those things – and finances (or lack of them) can also be a key contributor to failure. But more than these I believe that at the very root of the issue is this: Married couples forget to laugh. Now I’m not talking about the little chuckle you get from something funny one of your kids did today – or a funny email or status update on facebook from one of your friends – or even a great humorous story – I’m talking about laughing with each other – sharing a joke together – or a secret and poking fun at the other and finding it so funny! When was the last time your spouse made you REALLY LAUGH? When was the last time – YOU were funny and not so serious? Life is serious enough without adding to it – and sometimes you just need to take a ‘chill pill’ and just laugh. Laugh at the absurd – laugh at the ridiculousness of your situation – laugh at the irony of life – enjoy your spouse and find something together to laugh at! A healthy married couple smiles and laughs all the time.
Another reason marriages are in trouble is this: Married people forget how to listen. You’re so used to that person – after a while if they’re not saying anything worth listening to – we tune them out. It is an art form to learn how to listen well – but well worth it. We were a marriage that had forgotten how to do this – I didn’t feel I had my husband’s full attention anymore – he had forgotten how to listen to me and meet my emotional needs.
Develop a healthy sense of humor with your spouse and listen to them – really listen. If you listen long enough – believe me – you will bond with them again – you’ll be able to share secrets and find that laughter too. It will be there – decide that YOU will not wait for them – decide that you are going to turn your marriage around. Get your ‘mischievousness’ on! You will ignite something in your spouse – a passion that you forgot was ever there.
And finally – I think the reason that marriages are in trouble is this: Somewhere along the way – you forgot to like your spouse. You say, “Oh – but you don’t understand – I wouldn’t ever think of leaving them” – You may even say that you ‘love’ them – in the traditional Christian way (of course) and if push comes to shove and they really tick you off and you’re at the end of your rope you might consider murder – but NOT divorce – NEVER! You say, “Not me! This would never happen to us! But I don’t have to like them – I’m committed.” HOGWASH!! You are setting yourself up for a failure with this attitude. What if someone comes into your life that really likes you – admires you – and treats you like your spouse doesn’t? There’s a fine line between tolerance and indifference – don’t be foolish. It happens all the time.
I like my husband. I didn’t always feel this way. Oh I suppose I got used to him – he is an excellent man in every way – good father – wonderful friend to many – but for me – I had forgotten to like him. So like many of you out there – I had a choice to make. Do I want to start over and learn how to like him again – find the laughter and the reason that I picked him in the first place? Can it be done? We’re used to each other – but do I really like him? It took many months of talking and really listening to each other to discover that we were solid as good friends – even if we hadn’t been married to each other. We had to rediscover that again – we had to ‘date’ again to make that connection – and we DID! And you can too. I can honestly say now that I not only love Greg – and am committed – but I also like him.
I found this very cute and humorous video on marriage from the comedic and married team of Stiller and Meara – married over 50 years. It’s adorable and has some great truths in it – they use laughter in their relationship and they have also found that they actually like one another after all the years together.