It’s the end of the week and time for a “marriage situation” post. We’ll post the situation today and its biblical solution tomorrow. As always my comments will be normal shading and Paul’s will be bolded.
I have a secret to tell you. When I was dating Liz, she didn’t make me laugh. In fact, her humor was somewhat exasperating at times. I remember actually telling her on occassion to stop making jokes because they were getting on my nerves (seriously). A man can only take so many Jane Austen quotes and references.
And since my humor did run more along the “Austenian” line, Paul’s constant references to “The Tick” left me less than amused (a man who dresses like a bug? or is a bug?). I honestly didn’t understand his sense of humor at all. I thought it was weird and a little too sarcastic. When I laughed it was born more from politeness than anything else. And if I said something that I thought was hilarious, he’d just get this slightly condescending smile on his face and wait patiently until I stopped chuckling. That kind of annoyed me.
To be fair, we did laugh when we were together. Every once in a while one of us said something the other thought was humorous, but that was the exception rather than the rule. As a rule, our personal attempts to make the other one laugh fell flat. Normally we would find ourselves laughing about the situations around us or something someone else had said or done. Shrug. No big deal right?
It didn’t occur to us right away to think of this humor issue as a significant indicator of the success of our relationship. But then we started hearing other couples talk about “falling in love” and inevitably they would end up says something like “I knew it was love because he/she made me laugh.” At that point, we started to get nervous. Maybe a shared sense of humor was a necessity for true love and a happy marriage! Or maybe it’s a compatibility issue: If I couldn’t make her laugh then our relationship was just a ticking time bomb, ready to implode at any second. Like many issues, we figured that this problem would solve itself once we were married. (Right, isn’t marriage the key to fixing life’s problems? : ) But naturally, it didn’t get better when we got married. We discovered that our respective families were very different in many ways, humor being one of them. Thus as hard as we tried, during that first year we just kept running into those cultural differences (and I can guarantee those cultural differences weren’t funny:-). In fact, when we would hear people repeat the “he/she makes me laugh” trope, we would feel that our relationship really was inferior. That we were missing out on a key element in a successful marriage.
Paul and I have some scriptural and practical musings about this. But that’s for tomorrow’s post. For now, we would love to hear what you think. Does your spouse make you laugh? Did they make you laugh while you were dating? What place does humor have in your marriage?