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The Funny Thing About Humor in Marriage (And 6 principles for more fun in your marriage)

Laughing couple

Humor and fun are critical to a great marriage.

The more humor you have in your marriage the more fun your marriage will become. Having fun together is seriously one of the best things for strengthening your connection in marriage.

See what I did there? Fun is serious. So poetic.

I wish I could say life is always fun and only awesome things happen when you are married. Life has served my wife Hollie and I a dose of serious in the last few months. We’ve struggled at times to find humor in life in the midst of worry and uncertainty. In seasons of stress and chaos humor seems far away. It may take time to trudge through the desert but always be on the lookout for the oasis of humor in your marriage.

oasis

2 benefits of humor in your marriage.

  1. Laughing is healthy. I’m not a doctor but humor is good for your body. I came across a great article on the 7 Health Benefits of Laughter If you clicked on the link you will notice they suggested one of the benefits of laughing is an ab workout. That’s probably a bit of a stretch, I doubt anyone has ever developed a six pack simply from laughing. The other 6 seem legit and having fun is clearly good for your body.
  2. Having fun is well…fun. Having fun is a benefit enough. If you don’t have humor in your marriage you likely think marriage sucks. When you make your marriage fun you will like it more. You don’t have the wrong partner, your marriage is not a doomed, you simply have a fun deficit.

2 common ways couples fail at humor

Just like honesty, you can do humor wrong in marriage.

  1. Refrain from the humor blame game. Saying “It’s your fault we never have any fun” isn’t funny and it kills the mood. Blaming your spouse for the lack of fun in your marriage is damaging to your connection. If your marriage is dull, come together and think of a solution, not an excuse.
  2. Using your spouse as an object of critical humor is the worst. Many comedians specialize in putting people down as their brand of dark humor. This is a terrible idea for marriage. There is nothing worse than using humor to criticize. “I was just kidding” doesn’t even start to undo all the hurt from the cutting remarks you made to others at the expense of your spouse.

2 ways to regain humor in your marriage

  1. Remember the fun times you’ve had together. Recalling time in the past when you laughed is a good way to rekindle fun. Think of inside jokes and crazy stories you share. A while back I got locked in a bathroom at a funeral. The little bathroom was right next to the seating area of the funeral chapel. The door knob was old fashioned, the type that wobble too much. The door knob wouldn’t open the door. I panicked and shook the door knob as vigorously as possible to avoid disturbing the somber funeral gathering only feet away. I ended up knocking on the door while inside. Thankfully my wife rescued me by opening the door from the outside. We looked at each other wide-eyed and shared a silent-as-appropriate-for-a-funeral laugh.door knob
  2. Do something fun with your spouse today. Recently Hollie and I went to see comedian Ken Davis. It was a great way to relax and enjoy good humor together. It’s true, delaying pleasure to meet long term goals is a sign of self control and wisdom, but all work and no play makes a dull and boring marriage. There is deep wisdom in joy. Enjoying time with your spouse is one of the best investments you can make in life. You have permission to have fun with your spouse. Go get ‘em and have some fun. Today.

BONUS tip:

Have fun with other couples. A few years ago Hollie and I went to see the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in person. It was a blast seeing behind the scenes of the show and getting to shake his hand when he walked out on stage. The thing I remember most is how much the audience laughed. I enjoy a good Jay Leno joke but when I was in the audience live, I laughed at everything. Laughing with others is powerful and more fun.


If you are serious about having fun I have a recommendation: Listen to my friend’s podcast “Shop Talk with Ken

ShoptalkheaderMy friend Ken Moore is funny. His podcast “Shop Talk with Ken” is pure random fun. Listening to Ken’s podcast is almost as fun as hanging out with Ken. He’s a natural humorist, umm the word humorist sounds way too formal, simply said he’s a funny guy. I especially enjoy his podcast because it’s clean humor without all the crude of some comedy shows.

From time to time I write a funny blog post about marriage. For more fun check out these other funny posts from MakeSomeWonderful.com

The Miracle Technology Every Marriage Needs

6 Terrible Dating Techniques of Taco Bell Guy and What to Do Instead

A Hot Valentine’s Day

4 Marriage Lessons from Sour Milk

milk


I never feel more apologetic than when I clean the back seat of the car. In those moments I apologize to my car for having children. Last summer our car smelled. Bad. Upon further investigation we discovered a long hidden sippy cup lodged under the seat. It had been filled with milk and given to one of our sons and at some point in the chaos of child transport it was forgotten. Until the smell. The first day the smell arrived it smelled like something had died along the road, like we passed roadkill along the way. The smell was disregarded as we got out of the car. By the second day of the smell it was clear the roadkill was somewhere in the car. We cleaned the car and found the cup. The sour smell was overwhelming and the sick feeling was made worse when we discovered the smell was not only from the cup of sour milk but that the milk had spilled onto the floor of the car. We scrubbed, we removed the seats, we scrubbed and washed and air freshened. Eventually the smell diminished but the smell still lingers in my memory.

The sour milk tragedy reminds me of the interaction cycle of some couples. In life and marriage not everything works out perfectly. Mistakes are made, miscommunication happens and hurtful words get flung around. For healthy couples these difficult times are no fun but they are quickly resolved and connection is restored. Unfortunately, some couples ignore the mess and conflict hoping it will go away. Their conflict continues and their connection suffers until the smell becomes unbearable.

To avoid a sour milk marriage:

  1. Risk making a mess. First of all it’s okay to really engage in your relationship. You must risk vulnerability to connect well in your marriage. We are okay with living in our car. We want to engage with our children in the car which means risking spills and crushed fish crackers in the car seats. Don’t be so scared of making a mistake in your relationship that you suffocate authenticity.
  2. Take care. Although we allow our kids to eat in the car we also teach them not to be careless. We don’t expect them to never spill but we do expect them to learn. Invest in your relationship. Learn how to avoid relationship injuries. Talk to your spouse about ways you can reduce conflict. Get expert help when you are not sure how to connect well without fighting.
  3. Stop criticizing. It would not have helped to yell at our kids for spilling the milk. In your relationship it doesn’t help to shame your spouse. No matter how much you know about your spouse of how careful you are arguments will happen. Criticism destroys the foundation of trust in relationships.
  4. Clean up quickly. The main problem in our car was not that milk was spilled but that we didn’t clean it up soon enough. The warm summer days took our neglect and punished our sense of smell. When fights and arguments result in hurt feelings don’t just let it sit. You can take time to cool off if your argument gets too hot but don’t let it go days without working to resolve the tension. The longer you keep unaddressed conflict in your marriage the nastier it gets. Healthy couples quickly clean up the spills of relationship injuries.

Mending Your Relationship with God and Your Spouse

mending heart

There once was a man who had two sons. The younger son said to his father “give me my inheritance now.” So the father gave him his inheritance early and he took off with the money to a distant land. He soon squandered all of his money and found himself destitute and desperate. He thought to himself “even my father’s hired men have food to eat and here I am starving. I will go to my father and tell him I am no longer worthy to be his son and beg him to be one of his hired men.” When he was still far away his father saw him and ran to him, embraced him, and welcomed him home. The father was overjoyed his son had returned and threw a royal party in his honor.

Jesus told this parable of a lost son (It’s recorded in the Bible in the book of Luke chapter 15). I love how his story illustrates a relationship injured then mended.

Grace offered, grace accepted. Party. It’s the winning method for mending and strengthening relationships.

Your relationship with God and your spouse are the two most important relationships in your life. Mending these relationships will benefit all other relationships.

[I’m co-authoring this post with my sister Joy Lindner. She is an ordained minister and the pastor at the Juliaetta Idaho Church of the Nazarene.]

Mending your relationship with God.

God has made us for relationship with him and desires an intimate connection with us as his dearly loved children. But our relationship with God is broken by sin, by the selfish choices we make, by our pride that says we can do just fine without God.

  1. We mess up. Our first step is to admit our sin and acknowledge how our choices have broken the relationship. Yet, by ourselves, we are not capable of healing this relationship.
  2. Grace offered. The Good News is God extends his grace and reaches out to us to heal the relationship. Long before we turn to God, God, out of his great love for the world, sent his son Jesus as the ultimate expression of that love. God offers us the free gift of his grace, wooing us to a life of reconciled relationship and deep connection. All we do is simply accept his gift of grace through faith in Jesus.
  3. Grace accepted. God’s gift of grace completely mends our relationship, and in response to this amazing love of God, we seek to live in ways that express our love in return. As recipients of grace and forgiveness, our lives reflect a change of direction, turning away from sin and toward God. God invites us to live in ways that increase connection and fosters closeness.
  4. Party. Connecting well with our Creator leads to life, life abundantly. Deep connection with God produces the fruit of his Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Connecting well with our Creator thus produces in us characteristics that foster deep connections in human relationships.

Mending your relationship with your spouse

The major difference between your relationship with God and your marriage is your relationship with your spouse contains two imperfect people. In human relationships, grace must be extended and accepted in both directions.

Our marriage relationship gets damaged in many ways, we are imperfect and we mess up. It could be through conflict, neglect, selfishness, eating all the chocolate, or simply not getting the toilet seat right. Marriage can sustain relational injuries from serious or petty conflicts.

  1. We mess up. Relationship mistakes will happen in marriage. Conflict gets messy and we damage our connection. When you mess up admit to your spouse how you were responsible for damaging the relationship. The critical aspect of apology is acknowledging the damage caused to your connection.
  2. Grace offered. When your spouse messes up extend grace. Communicate this grace gently in a way they can experience.
  3. Grace accepted. Recognize when grace is extended to you and accept the gift. Don’t remain in the pit of self imposed despair. In response to receiving grace, commit to reduce future damage and protect connection through a healthy pattern of interaction. Taking responsibility to change how you interact resulting in fewer mess ups will rebuild trust.
  4. Party. The best part of mending your relationship with your spouse is the celebration. Enjoy wonderful intimacy in your marriage. Celebrate your great connection. It can feel like bragging or showing off to celebrate a great marriage when so many are suffering, but go ahead and show others the wonderful benefits of committed connection. Your celebration can change the impression that struggle and divorce are a more common experience in marriage than happiness.

The older son in Jesus’ story grumbled about the extravagant grace the father extended to his younger brother. If you choose to ignore God’s offer of grace you will risk missing the party. If you choose to remain critical and hurtful to your spouse you will miss the party.

Will you accept the grace offered you? Get ready to party.

Photo credit: / 123RF Stock Photo

6 Terrible Dating Techniques of Taco Bell Guy and What To Do Instead

guy in white shirt

The other day our family went out to eat at Taco Bell.* We set up camp near a young couple who appeared to be on a date. (Setting up camp is what it’s like to take two young boys out to eat anywhere.) Between directing our kids to eat their food, getting more napkins, and re-explaining the various types of cheese, we casually observed the date at the next table.

We learned a lot from watching the young couple set sail upon the waters of relationship building. Married folk like us may think we are way more advanced in relationships than this young inexperienced couple, but the lessons are for us too.

  1. Be the star of the show. This guy in Taco Bell talked non stop. He didn’t even pause while chewing his food. If your date wanted a show, they would have simply gone to a movie. For a real relationship to grow you must interact. When you spend time with your spouse, let them talk. Shut up enough to have a real conversation. Show your interest in your date by really listening to what they have to say.
  2. Talking and eating go well together. Occasionally we have to remind our three year old to use his manners, your spouse shouldn’t have to remind you. Simple manners like eating with your mouth closed, are important for all relationships. Manners display a level of maturity and respect.
  3. As long as you are funny it’s fine to insult your date. The guy in Taco Bell was not complimentary of his friend. I don’t get that. She was spending her time eating with him, at least he could be nice, it’s not too much for her to expect. The same goes for your spouse, they agreed to marry you, at least use nice words, it’s a reasonable expectation. Humor is awesome but using humor to excuse criticism is a connection killer.
  4. Guard your stuff. The guy in Taco Bell was well past kindergarten; he should have known the concept of sharing. But when she reached for a nibble of his food he told her he was not sharing. Umm, it’s just one or two mexi-fries dude, you will survive without them. Married people can become overly possessive of their stuff too. If your spouse reaches for your phone or drives your car to work, don’t get upset. Healthy couples know how to share, willingly.
  5. Make your point clear by hitting. The guy at Taco Bell swatted her hand away when she jokingly reached for his food. This dating technique is a major problem. Never hit your date. Touching is an important way to communicate closeness, care, and connection in relationships. Hurtful touches, no matter the intention, damage relationship and destroy trust needed for building good relationships.
  6. Be stingy. From what I could tell, the guy in Taco Bell didn’t pay for her food. I know it may be old fashioned for the guy to always buy on a date, but it was Taco Bell, it wouldn’t have broke the bank. Married folk, avoid getting into a lifetime of deciding if it is his or her bill to pay. Combine your finances and live on a budget. Above all else, always be on the lookout for how you can be more generous toward your spouse.

What have you learned by observing other couples?

*This post was developed after observing real interactions while in a Taco Bell. In no way do I intend to disparage Taco Bell or anyone for eating at Taco Bell. Taco Bell is awesome. In this post I refer to the young man on his date as “Taco Bell Guy” because he was a guy in Taco Bell; he was not an employee of Taco Bell. While I observed individuals at Taco Bell I did not talk to them, I do not know them, what they were discussing, or the nature of their relationship. If you believe, through my descriptions of this couple, it was you, then I hope you learned something. You never know when you may be on a date next to a marriage counselor.

Photo credit:Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

5 Refreshing Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Marriage

spring cleaning

Winter has left my lawn scraggly and brown; its cold winds piled leaves on the front step. The only green is the one struggling daffodil yet to bloom and the small weeds coming up around it. Spring is here and it’s time for a good spring cleaning.

I actually enjoy working in my yard in the springtime. I like seeing the grass turn green and the the small buds on the trees transform into leaves. Small weeds poke up but they are easily plucked out in the moist spring mornings. The smell of the first lawn mowing reminds me of warm summer fun.

Marriage has seasons too. Marriages can go through winters where connection is cold and stormy disagreements prevail.

Spring is the breeze of hope that nudges away the chill and grime of winter. Springtime can bring dramatic transformation to your marriage.

You can experience new growth and excitement in your marriage this spring.

Time for your spring cleaning.

Tend to your marriage; let some sun in and water it.

  1. Clear out the garbage from winter. Apologize for your role in the disconnection and conflict in your marriage. Acknowledging the dirt including your mistakes and neglect must come before forgiveness. Then when you commit to forgive you can begin to reestablish trust and intimate connection.
  2. Dust off your poor selfish attitude. Find ways to serve your spouse. Give them a break from the responsibilities of their day. Intentionally surprise them with a small gift or do something they enjoy, even if it’s not your favorite.
  3. Get out in the sunshine again. Have fun together. Smile. Move. Take a walk. Seek adventure again. Laugh together. Get her some flowers. It won’t take long before you start to notice the warmth of connection return.
  4. Listen for the sweet sounds of spring. Tell your spouse what you love about them every day. Start an affirmation habit. Nothing will revive a cold marriage as fast as sincere words of affirmation.
  5. Take in the fresh air. Stop avoiding and really ask how your spouse feels. Transform stale talking into meaningful conversation. Dream together. It may feel risky to deepen your communication but when you do your marriage will burst with new life.

What is your favorite part of Spring?