Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Laughing Matter (Marriage, That Is...)

Write about marriage, someone said.  I love it when you write about marriage.  

Hmmm...I don't actually write about marriage all that often.  I had to stop and think about it.  What advice or deep insightful thoughts do I have to offer about marriage?  Is there anything I can say that everyone else hasn't already said?  I mean, there's a whole world of marriage advice blogs, books, classes, seminars, etc.  out there.  You can learn your Love Languages, talk about being submissive, read about keeping the sex great in your marriage, find out how to love your spouse even when they drive you crazy.  Plenty of resources out there for all those issues that might come up.

So, I started trying to think: what is the one thing I see in strong marriages that are lacking in others?

Oh, once I started to think about it, the thoughts came quickly and easily.

Smiling.  Laughing.  Sitting close.  Joking.  Eyes sparkling, heads thrown back happiness.



Yep, that's right.  The secret to strong marriages: happiness.  

Now, you  might think, isn't that backwards? The secret to happiness is a strong marriage, right?   

Weeeelllllll....I think it goes both ways.

Think about Sunday mornings when you go to church.

There are the couples who sit with two feet of space between them, speak to everyone but each other, argue over what's for lunch, and gripe at their kids for every noise they make.

Then there are the couples who sit close together, holding hands.  They converse together with smiles on their faces, or they talk as one to the people around them.  They quietly discipline their children if they act up, working as a team on the same page.

Everywhere you go you can see the two kinds of couples.  The ones that turn a cold quiet shoulder to each other, or the ones who are always close.  The ones who speak in sharp, harsh tones, or the ones who look into each other's faces as they talk and laugh.  The ones who argue or undermine each other, and the ones who work seamlessly as one concerted effort to get things done.

Who do you think has a strong marriage?  The ones who are happy together.  Happy to be together.

I can tell you honestly that I'd rather be hanging out with my husband than with anyone else.  Given the choice of going somewhere with him or any other person I know, I'd choose him.  Why?  Because we're happy together.

A few months back, while I was still pregnant (hugely pregnant!), my mom had to go to the emergency room.  I was with her.  I was alone in the waiting room.  It was hot, the chair were uncomfortable.  I was about eight months along and sitting there was so not what I wanted to be doing.  The kids were home alone, and Tony was about to get off work.  I called him.  I asked if he could get someone to sit with the kids and he could come sit with me.  He did.

He showed up after ten hours at work and sat down next to me in those horrible chairs.  "Thanks for coming," I said, "I know it's not exactly fun sitting here."

Do you know what he said?
"Maybe not, but if I'm gonna be bored, I'd rather be bored with you than anyone else."

(insert oohs and aahs here)

Because that's true.  Even in the most boring and uncomfortable of places, we have fun together, simply because we enjoy being together.  

I don't understand couples who don't even act like they like each other.  I look at them and wonder, "Why did you get married in the first place?"

Before you say, "Years of marriage takes the fun out of it," I will tell you I know couples in their seventies who are still laughing and smiling together and blissfully in love.  So "time" is not an excuse.  

Husbands and wives should adore each other.  They should miss each other.  They should long for each other.  They should breathe a little sigh of relief when they're together after being apart, even for just a few hours.  They should look forward to time together.  They should know that together they can handle anything.  They should enjoy each other, each other's conversation, insight, passion, humor.  They should listen to each other talking to other people and think, "I'm so glad he (or she!) is mine."  They should feel honored and blessed just be in each other's presence.

They should laugh together.  Just like the Proverbs 31 woman, they can "laugh at the days to come."  As long as they are a united front (two become one, remember?) they can face anything.  And they can face it without getting angry or upset with each other.

Once upon a time we were all madly in love with our spouses.  We adored them, hung on their every word, got sick to our stomachs when their phone call was five minutes late.  We would do anything just to be with them, give anything to make them happy.  Years of marriage should not change that.  We should still be waiting at the door with ear to ear grins when our husbands come home.  We should still get a little thrill when he holds our hand.  We should still swell up with pride when he speaks with knowledge to those around us. We should still take great joy in doing little things for him (like I get a kick out of opening his bottle of Coke for him while he's driving!).

We should be laughing together, smiling together, looking down life's road knowing that together (with God!) we can do all things.

To truly be this happy all the time, you have to have something more than happiness: you have to have JOY. Joy comes only from a right relationship with God.  A marriage in which both spouses are following their God-given roles will be a happy one, and a strong one.  Always.  Every time.  Yes, no exceptions.  A man who loves his wife with his life and a woman who respects her husband will be happy together.  They will have the joy of the Lord, and nothing can bring them down.  They will laugh when others might cry, they will smile in the midst of trials.  They will stand in confidence in each other and in God.  They will work together in joy their entire lives, raising children, building a home, living, laughing, loving through all the years God gives them.  

1 comment:

  1. great article...my husband and I will be married 12years this May...When people ask me how we make it work..I always say " well if Newlyweds think they have a great love life...wait after about 10 years..it gets better and better" They think I'm joking..but it's true! ;)

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