Laughter Truly Is The Best Medicine
We still laugh about it - 28 years later!
It was one of mine and Vanessa’s early dates and somehow, we found ourselves in unfamiliar territory - a nightclub.
There we were, on the dance floor, twirling the night away.
And then it happened.
Doing my best Prince imitation, I dropped to the floor in a split. It was a surprise to her, to everyone around us, and to me too.
I still remember the expression on her face when that happened. But she eventually married me anyway, and as much as I loved Prince, I never mimicked that particular move again. At least not in public! That was not my best moment, but it made for a great and unforgettable memory! We still reminisce and laugh about it today.
As our marriage continues to make those revolutions around the sun, I’m so grateful for one of our saving graces - we haven’t forgotten how fun it is to laugh together.
Laughter makes everything lighter!
When we lived in Dallas, we were on a leisurely walk one day when a neighbor’s dog was snarling and growling and baring its teeth in menacing fashion. The neighbor told the dog Cállate! Silencio! (“be quiet” in Spanish).
Vanessa then excitedly reprimanded the neighbor “What if he doesn’t speak Spanish - tell him in English! TELL HIM IN ENGLISH!”
We all howled in laughter at that one, even the neighbor. I think the dog might have laughed too! Maybe he was bilingual.
We have learned through life and marriage that laughter is a beautiful - and underappreciated - gift from God. Couples should laugh together as often as they can. Hardships and tough times will come - and they will bring their share of sadness and tears.
We love laughing together. Some of our early laugh-inducing moments were the magic of several movies we watched more times than we care to remember. We can quote lines ad nauseum from the original Coming To America, as well as Little Shop Of Horrors.
We also try and not take ourselves too seriously - it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself! As human beings, the very best of us will have an occasional off day or moment we wish we could take back. We should learn from some of those days and moments. And it is okay to laugh at some of those times.
I came home one day from work and Vanessa pointed out to me that my nice starched shirt had brown skin peeking through the elbows. It was one of my favorite shirts and I guess I had worn it out. After my initial horror from knowing I walked around the office that day with naked elbows, I shrugged it off with a laugh. It was dropped into the trash later that evening. We laugh at the absurdities of life.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow hair under my armpits. For me, that marked becoming a full-grown M-A-N. I was so hyped when that peach fuzz first started appearing.
Nowadays, my inclination is to glue that underarm hair onto the top of my head, because it needs all the help it can get.
We just have to laugh. . .
If you are in the midst of a stress-filled season of marriage, don’t run from it or pretend it will go away. It won’t. Talk about it with your dearly beloved, reach out to a us as Christian Counselors/Life Coaches, make steps toward resolution, but most importantly, make it a habit to pray together. Show your spouse love ALL the time, and moreso during the tough times. Laughter doesn't fix the stresses, it gives us a break from the stress.
Studies have shown that laughter boosts the immune system and triggers the release of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain. In the Central Nervous System, the brain releases powerful endorphins as a result of laughing. Endorphins raise the pain threshold and can induce a euphoria that is commonly called a “natural high.”
Laughter relaxes the whole body, and can lower the tension and stress in any room. Following a good belly laugh, muscles in the body are relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterward. We literally feel better when we laugh.
The writer of Ecclesiastes told us that “For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…” - Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 (ESV).
I know Jesus was described as a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and most of the images of Him that we see show a solemn, stoic Jesus. But those images are manmade. The picture framed in my mind portrays a happy, winsome Savior. When He took children in His arms, laid His holy hands on them, and blessed them (Mark 10), I just cannot fathom a grumpy Savior doing that. People were drawn to Jesus - would you be drawn to a grump?
A marriage that endures will go through hard seasons. Debt, sickness, aging parents, troubles in the workplace, wayward children, clashing personalities, even the testing of one’s faith - these can all be debilitating.
Will you allow this blog to be a reminder to take advantage of laughter? It’s the infectious gift we should treasure. Much like love - there’s never too much laughter.