by Dena Dyer @DenaJDyer
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 NLT
Carey, my husband of 25 years, is a comedian—in both the best and worst sense of the word. He makes me laugh so hard I snort; this is a good quality. However, he also has favorite jokes he has repeated—ad nauseum—for two decades.
For instance, if one of us is eating a Caesar salad, this man of mine can’t help himself from grinning and quipping, “This salad is so good, I could et tu” (as in “Et tu, Brute?”). See how funny that isn’t? I do appreciate a good joke, but not when it’s repeated hundreds (maybe even thousands!) of times.
That said, I am grateful for a mate with a sense of humor. Laughter keeps us bonded in fun ways. It has also provided us with countless, priceless memories. (Even doctors say laughter is good for your body. It increases blood and oxygen flow and even works your abdominal muscles. Score!)
While pondering this topic, my friends and I came up with some ideas about ways to keep the laughs coming in a relationship:
–Play miniature golf, arcade games, or bocce ball (or just do some old-fashioned bowling).
–Do a “Goodwill” date. Each of you takes $20 and finds the other person an outfit. Then you both must wear what the other picked out while you go to dinner.
–Send each other funny memes, texts, videos, or gifs.
–Play pranks on each other (but ONLY if you know the other person is okay with it. Some people hate to be pranked!)
–Buy your partner a funny gift. For Valentine’s Day last year, I got Carey chattering teeth. He loved them and keeps them in his office!
–Be spontaneous once in a while…and not just in the bedroom. Take a road trip with no map—just drive and see where you end up.
–Watch funny movies, comedy specials, or favorite sitcoms together.
–Try not to take yourselves too seriously.
–Tease one another…up to a point. Have a code word or “look” when things get to be too personal or annoying, so you don’t upset the other person.
–Buy “googly eyes” or other fun cheap items and put them in strange places. Jackson, my 15-year old, put a pair of stick-on eyes on our coffee maker, and it makes me smile every morning.
Truly, laughter lightens the heaviest load. In fact, Proverbs 17:22 (NLT) says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” God designed us to benefit from laughter! It’s like medicine to the soul. Both Carey and I are in ministry jobs, and we sometimes come home burdened. It’s a real blessing to have a fun atmosphere around the house.
Our sons are young adults now, but when we do sit around the dinner table, it’s a lively place, full of puns and wordplay. I hope the boys will continue to bring laughter into their own homes when they marry and have kids. I also think they’ve learned that it’s dangerous to go too far when you’re ribbing a family member. It’s all good fun, until someone gets hurt–so it’s wise to know when to quit.
And while it can be infuriating at times that Carey is young-at-heart, I wouldn’t trade his optimism and good humor for anything. I can tend towards negative thoughts and worrying. If left to my own devices, I’d probably drown my sorrows in tortilla chips and the latest sad movie too often, and he is good about pulling me out of my seriousness when I need it.
So I’ll quote him to end my encouragement to you about playing together: getting older is inevitable; growing up isn’t.
About the author: This article was adapted from Dena and Carey’s book, Love at First Fight: 52 Story-Based Meditations for Married Couples (Barbour). Dena Dyer is the author or co-author of ten books for women and hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and websites. She lives in Texas with Carey and their sons Jordan and Jackson. She loves bargain shopping, decorating, and traveling. Find her on Instagram and Facebook, or at her website.
Join the conversation: What do you do to keep humor in your relationships?