When I was a kid, my younger brother unwrapped a bow and arrow set for his birthday present. Despite his eagerness to use his new weapon, my dad insisted on a lesson in archery safety first.
On a summer afternoon, our family gathered on our deck overlooking the woods in the backyard. My dad outlined some basic rules, and then proceeded to demonstrate his archery skills. He raised and drew the bow, aimed upward, and released the arrow. A few, long seconds later the arrow landed firmly embedded in my brother’s shoe, right between his toes. My dad hadn't accounted for the brisk afternoon breeze.
As if in slow motion, my dad turned sheepishly toward my mom. My mom never let my dad forget his lesson on arrow safety. It served as her ammunition for many years to come.
Incorporating laughter into marriage eases the stress and frustration of the hard times. Here are some ways to add humor to your wedded bliss.
Be a pest
Don’t be totally annoying, but do prank and tease your spouse every so often. Be playful. Hide his pillow or plate of food. Sneak up behind him and grab his shoulders. Poking and tickling each other can start classic wrestling wars or tickle fights that your kids will eagerly dive into.
My very manly and serious husband occasionally undergoes physical therapy for his back and hip problems. I find it amusing to watch him do his strength-training exercises in our family room. As he glides across the floor striking ballerina-like poses, I ask him if he needs a tutu. I tell him his performances are lovely.
Teasing each other is fun, and your kids get a kick out of observing your playing. They feel more secure knowing that you enjoy each other.
Create inside jokes
Quote lines from movies you watched together ages ago. Code words and nicknames turn into your own secret language. Rehashing an old joke or funny memory draws you closer together. Smiling together over your shared jokes strengthens your friendship and reminds you of your history together.
In your daily communication, throw in some of your inside lingo or jokes for humor and nostalgia.
Grin over your kids
No one appreciates the personalities and quirks of kids better than their parents. Little things, whether cute or annoying, may not seem like a big deal to anyone else, but you and your spouse should always share their shenanigans. Kids bring comic relief to the table.
Don’t take yourself too seriously
Life can be deadly serious. You don’t have to be.
If the arrow had killed my brother, that would be one thing. But, thankfully, no one was even scratched. My dad took the blame like a man and was a good sport through all the subsequent teasing.
Even when trials descend — and they do — sometimes it helps to lighten the mood. A hurting heart needs a break. It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine. Chuckle at yourself, your spouse, and your situation to bring some relief to whatever pain you may be enduring.
Megan Gladwell is an Indiana native and mother of four. She blogs at bookclub41.blogspot.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.