One tough year left my husband, Roger, and me with a stress-filled marriage. We were trying to handle it by doing the right things: praying through troubles and showing each other love every day. But when I asked Roger what he thought was missing, his reply took me aback: “We’ve forgotten how to laugh.”
He was right. Laughter was so natural when we were dating and newly married. But in recent years we’ve discovered this truth: We have to work harder at laughing together. If you’re like us and want to put the laughter back in your marriage, the following ideas may be a good place to start:
Share inside jokes. The funny moments and sayings understood between only you and your spouse are a special part of what makes you a couple.
For the first six months of our marriage, every time my husband left the house he yelled, “Shut the door!” Strange. After all, he was the one leaving. So one day I followed him and asked why he was reminding me to shut the door. He looked puzzled, and then it dawned on him: He was actually saying, “Je t’adore” — a French expression meaning “I love you.” Now when we sign a card or leave a note for each other, we write, “Shut the door!” It’s our inside joke.
Surprise your spouse. Some of the best laughs come when least expected. Slip your spouse a fun note, or declare your love in a creative way.
Recently, Roger found a unique way to make us both smile. He knew I was facing a tough day, but he had to leave for work before I got up. Still, he made me laugh. How? It was the “I Love You, Baby!” note leaned up against the coffee maker. I couldn’t help but whoop with laughter when I saw it — because it was written on a banana!
Make time to laugh. Activities that involve letting your guard down and playing together are a great way to infuse laughter into your marriage. But be warned: It’s easy to lose sight of laughter when everything is a competition.
So mix it up! The goal isn’t to be a professional mini-golfer or set the record at Nintendo Wii Hula Hooping. The object is to laugh together in a nonthreatening environment, one without winners or losers. Maybe try a cooking class or take dance lessons. (The only loser will be the one who gets her toes stepped on the most.)