04 Oct Humor Your Spouse
By Susan Vogt
Susan Vogt is a freelance speaker and writer on marriage, parenting and spirituality www.SusanVogt.net. She and her husband of 35+ years, Jim, live in Kentucky. They have four adult children. She is author of Raising Kids Who Will Make a Difference and Just Family Nights and has given permission for this article.
Humor adds to our marriage emotional bank account and allows us to tolerate or overlook offenses that might otherwise irritate. Well, OK, they still might annoy us but we’re willing to overlook minor things because of the overall fun and positive experiences we’ve had together. Cultivating humor in marriage is not the same thing as being able to tell a joke. Following are some kinds of humor you might nurture in your marriage. Think of ways that you “humor each other.” If you have any additional ways, let me know and I’ll share the best on this website.
KINDS OF HUMOR:
1. Engaging in fun, lighthearted past-times together.
Examples: playing games or sports together, watching funny movies or TV shows
Question: What are our favorite ways to relax together and have fun?
2. Inside or “running” jokes:
Often these have to do with personal foibles that we can turn into jokes rather than continuing to complain.
Example: When finding something I’ve lost, I’ll often say to Jim something like, “How clever of you to hide my credit card back in my wallet.”
Question: What silly thing does my spouse do that I complain about? How can I change this into a lighthearted joke?
Often exaggeration of a problem or fault can turn it into humor.
Example: Well, it could have been worse. You could have broken your arm, never found your way back, lost your purse AND wrecked the car.
or “Could you walk a little faster. I’m not getting enough exercise trying to keep up.”
Question: What trait or quality do you or your spouse have in excess? Play with ridiculous exaggerations of how that could be a boon for your marriage or society if it were multiplied 10 times.
4. Hindsight stories (laughing at yourselves)
Example: Once Jim and I had to wake our 13 year old at midnight to help us take our bedroom door off the hinges because we had locked ourselves INSIDE our bedroom.
Question: What’s your favorite story of a marriage or family mishap that, looking back, you can now laugh at?
5. Pranks/Surprises: These can backfire. Be careful.
Example: “Honey, the babysitter just called and said she had to cancel for tonight. I’m afraid we’ll have to cancel our dinner reservations for our anniversary. Maybe we could just put the baby in the car and take a leisurely drive in the country. He’ll fall asleep and we can talk.” You then drive to a relative’s house who agreed to watch the baby for the weekend while you have a get-away at a resort (or even at home).
Question: Have you ever tried a prank or surprise that backfired? Now you have a hindsight story to laugh about.
WHEN HUMOR HURTS:
Not all humor is funny to a spouse. Be careful about making fun of your spouse’s weight, haircut, pregnancy, or making fun of your spouse in front of others or behind his/her back.
Example: It’s tempting when out with the guys or gals to join in a round of “Can you believe that “x” tried to put air in the car tires by blowing into the tire valve!”
Question: What topic is my spouse sensitive about and I should avoid? Check it out.