Photo Compliments of Jessica Lorren Photography
One of my favorite things about being married to my husband, Steve, is how much fun we have together. It seems whether we are watching TV, taking a walk, running errands, or enjoying a date night, there is laughter involved. We really enjoy one another, which is something I knew I needed and greatly appreciate in my spouse. Laughter is truly medicinal.
Enjoying life has always been a priority to me, but in recent years, I have noticed that I have gotten a little more uptight. It seems the weight of life’s responsibilities is beginning to encroach on my lighter side. Recently, as I found myself rolling in laughter with my husband over something silly we were joking about, I realized how important it is to maintain that laughter and joy in marriage as well as life in general.
“Laughter is the best medicine.” Most of you have probably heard this saying numerous times. It’s been the subject of many studies showing that there is indeed a plethora of actual health benefits to laughter. A study by the University of Maryland Medical Center found that it played a significant role in minimizing and preventing heart disease. From a boost to your immune system to increased relaxation to lowered risk of mental illness, the physical, mental, and social benefits of a good chuckle are impossible to deny.
Personally, I have decided that I need to take measures to ensure more laughter in my life. Despite having a playful relationship with my spouse, there are things I need to do on my own to create space for that fun to develop. Part of that effort entails me developing a means of de-stressing. Recently, that has been exercising, particularly running. Three times a week I go for a 5K run, and I have found that beyond the physical benefits, it has been a great time for me to work out the stress and concerns of the day. With each stride hitting the ground, I release the pressures and worries bogging me down. It’s also a great time to pray, which also greatly minimizes those fears and anxieties that try to overtake me.
Beyond exercising, I try to take time, whether it is five or fifteen minutes, each day to just do “nothing.” By nothing, I mean nothing stressful or taxing. Usually this means doing something that I find enjoyable and relaxing. Oftentimes when my husband is getting cleaned up for the evening, I take that time to read, play a mindless game on my phone, or just sit on the couch staring off into space (kind of creepy, I know.). Creating these moments to just allow the worries of the day to melt away has really helped me to make room for more laughter.
When you are able to allow yourself to let go of life’s heaviness individually, it then flows over into your relationships. In an article by Helpguide.org, the benefits of laughter in relationships are expressed:
“Playful communication is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships exciting, fresh, and vital. Laughter and play enrich your interactions and give your relationships that extra zing that keeps them interesting, light, and enjoyable. This shared pleasure creates a sense of intimacy and connection—qualities that define solid, lasting relationships.”
Take time to enjoy having fun with your spouse. This is true for all relationships, but it is especially important in reference to maintaining a healthy, successful, and thriving marriage. Sometimes it can be as simple as watching a show or movie you both find funny, or it can be planning an outing that you both enjoy. Get creative and find activities that you know are exciting and amusing. Carnivals, ice skating, a walk in the park, or a late-night ice cream run can all be quality time that evoke a smile. Whatever you choose to do together, make your mind up to enjoy it to the fullest.
Another aspect of this lighter side to life is not taking things too seriously. When we are already stressed out, it can be easy to allow conflict to rear its ugly head at unnecessary moments. If you find yourself in a sticky situation with your spouse, take time to pause and ask yourself if this is something worth taking up arms over. It is very likely you are allowing the worries on your mind to permeate into this situation making it much more volatile than necessary. Gain perspective on the situation and then choose a less confrontational approach.
There are times when I get all flustered and upset at my husband, Steve, over something so little. I can hear my mother’s voice telling me not to make a mountain out of a mole hill, but I get caught up in the emotions of the moment. On second thought, I realize that I am being so silly. An eruption of laughter results, as I realize how ridiculous I am being. A confession ensues that I really wasn’t upset at him or the situation but was allowing pent-up stress to surface inappropriately. We both find ourselves laughing at the whole thing and move along without the evening or day being destroyed unnecessarily.
We all know that life is short. Sure there are realistic concerns we give our attention to, but we can’t allow those concerns to develop into relational and personal cancer. Negativity is like a disease that steals the joys of life. It is crucial to take time to deal with the things that need dealt with, and then make the effort to just enjoy your spouse, relationships, and life. It’s the sure way to live happily ever laughter.
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