7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages part 6: Lack of Laughter

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A month ago, we started a new series of seven blogs designed to recognize unhealthy habits. If you missed the last four weeks check out our first FIVE Highly Defective Habits:

Habit #1: Spiritual Continuity.

Habit #2: The Single Life

Habit #3: The Fun-less Couple

Habit #4: Criticism Floods

Habit #5: Inconsistent Sex

Here we go…#6 on the list of my 7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages:

Defective Marriage

Habit #6: Lack of Laughter

laugh·ter/laftər
noun: the action or sound of laughing
Synonyms: chuckling, chortling, guffawing, cackling, sniggering

I feel I can’t blog on this topic enough.  There are too many people who take themselves WAY TOO seriously.  A great quote from Agnes Repplier says,

We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.

Such truth about a sorely forgotten VITAL aspect of marriage.  We do not realize how necessary laughter is in marriage. Anne and I always talk (and blog) about our two essential ingredients to marriage: Jesus and laughter.

Psalm 126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

I remember it was almost four years ago, I was in the salon waiting for Anne to finish getting her hair cut.  We were playful arguing back and forth about something silly.  We were not just laughing, we were egging on each other causing a bit of a scene which drew in the rest of the people in the salon.  We found out later (from Lisa…Anne’s stylist) that after we left, the people in the salon (workers and customers) were talking about us.  They assumed we had just gotten married because we were playful as well as willing to laugh so much together.  Lisa blew them away when she told them married we had been married 10+ years.  Why were they shocked at that? Because, for some reason, couples with any vintage, are NOT supposed to laugh that much.

Why do we see laughter as an option in marriage? Why do we not strive for more of it?  We wait for it to happen like a desperate person holding their lotto ticket listening to the numbers being read on the TV.  We yearn to laugh with our spouse again.  We hope it’ll happen. Maybe today we’ll hit the jackpot and enjoy a time of fun together.

Laughter isn’t something that happens randomly like a lightning strike.  Laughter is fostered and cultivated. It has to be seen as an essential piece of the marriage puzzle. Take it from professionals.  Comedian Bob Hope said laughter is an “instant vacation.” Jay Leno says, “You can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh.” And Bill Cosby says, “If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.” These men made a living on the understanding that laughing brings an astronomic affect to people.  Crowds would gather around them to get “medicated” with humor (Prov. 17:22).

When it comes to laughter, it produces a number of benefits: 

  • Reduces stress and tension.
  • Stimulates your immune system.
  • An increase of natural painkillers in your blood.
  • Reduces blood pressure.
  • Raises your spirits.
  • Laughter relieves tension and brings closeness.
  • Having a sense of humor refreshes your relationship.

As you can see, laughter is not to be taken lightly. Laughter is to be indulged in.  It’s the dessert of life that should be enjoyed every day…as much as possible!!! You need this.  Your spouse needs this. I want to help you increase the laughter and in your marriage.  I challenge you to…

  • Look for the “funny” in your day. Be aware of the humorous moments around you.
  • Laugh when you don’t feel like laughing.
  • Make it a habit to share funny moments with your spouse. Don’t wait to tell them later.  Bring them into the moment.
  • Become of student of your spouse. Study what makes them laugh.
  • Reflect on funny times in your past together.

When it comes to laughing, psychologists and scientists agree. Their studies reveal that individuals who have a strong sense of humor are less likely to experience burnout and depression and they are more likely to enjoy life in general — including their marriage. Do you want a marriage that is set up for success? Do you want to bring health and vitality to your marriage? Do you want a marriage that is HIGHLY EFFECTIVE?

Create a culture of laughter.

Thanks for letting me ramble…

 

7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages: Part 2 Staying Single

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Last week we started a new series of seven MINI-blogs designed to recognize unhealthy habits. If you missed last week check out our first Highly Defective Habit: Habit #1: Spiritual Continuity

Here we go…#2 on the list of my 7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages:

Defective Marriage

Habit #2: The Single Life

sin·gle, siNGgəl
only one; not one of several
Synonym: one (only), sole, lone, solitary, by itself/oneself, unaccompanied, alone
Mark 10:9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.
The synonym’s of the word single say it all.  People, who are married, living by and for oneself.  Daily life exists as if the marriage covenant didn’t even happen.  “My spouse is an inconvenience.” “I have a life outside of my spouse.” “My private life has nothing to do with my married life.”
Alone.
Single-mindedness in marriage causes corrosion to the integrity of the marriage.
As said in so many sermons, blogs, books, etc., the design from the beginning was “two becoming one.” I’m not talking about the much-needed time that men need to be with men and women need to be with women.  We all need time with friends.  I enjoy time with the guys to eat wings and watch football.  Anne likes running and shopping with her friends. I am talking about the intentional actions that individuals chase after to maintain a “single” life while being married.  To claim to have a private life outside of the “two becoming one” means, quite simple, the two are NOT one.  
To be single means to provide for one person.
To be single means there’s no one to report
To be single means I’m responsible to myself and no one else.
In prison, there may be no worse punishment for prisoners (other than capital punishment).  Solitary confinement causes an individual to breakdown on every level. One study (psychiatryonline.org) about solitary confinement says it can cause “hallucinations, and other changes in perception, as well as cognitive problems including memory loss, difficulty thinking, and impulsiveness.”  The more you isolate yourself away from your spouse, the more you abandon you spouse to “solitary confinement.” By living single, you’re inviting problems in marital perception, thinking, and impulsiveness that will break your unity down.  Don’t be surprised  when you see this lifestyle cause jealousy, frustration, hurt, distrust, and resentment.
How else is your spouse supposed to act?  You’ve put them in solitary confinement.
The relationship we have with God helps provide keys to starting, repairing, and maintaining a highly effective marriage. Why? I believe the image of God is shown in the covenant of marriage. There are so many parallels to take. One scriptures I’d like to speak into you:
James 4:8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.
When we draw near to God, there is a reciprocal movement on his behalf.  He comes near to us.  The response we have to that closeness: humility and repentance so that our loyalty to our life outside of Him is severed.
It should be no different in our marriage. If you’ve been living single, draw near to your spouse.  The only way to do that is to step away from being single.  Approach your husband/wife in humility and repentance.  If you’ve put them in “solitary confinement”, there’s gonna need to be some healing needed.  But you step away and draw near so that the loyalty to your “singleness” can be severed and your marriage healed.
Stop living single.  Stop leaving your spouse in “solitary confinement.”
Draw close to your spouse.
Next week, #3…
Thanks for letting me ramble…

New Marriage Series: 7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages

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Some years back, I had come across the famous book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  It, to this day, is one of the most sold self-help books ever on the market. Since then there have been so many “spin-off” books that have spawned from the original.  My personal favorite was the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens: The Miniature Edition.”  Maybe it was because my life, at the time, was centered around reaching teenagers.  I think it was more so about the size of the book.  Reading hasn’t always been my strong-point and I loved that it was short and to the point.

Today starts a new series of seven MINI-blogs designed to recognize unhealthy habits.  If you’re like me, I can get into read marriage blogs and think, “Communication, I communicate all the time” and I don’t realize that my communication, even thought it is being done, isn’t being effective.

Here we go…7 Habits of Highly Defective Marriages.

Habit #1: Spiritual Continuity

con·ti·nu·i·ty ˌkäntnˈ(y)o͞oətē/
The unbroken and consistent existence or operation of something over a period of time.
Synonyms: continuousness, uninterruptedness, flow, progression
Matthew 7:24-27 24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
There could be no other #1 on this list.
This is that place where couples get things backwards.  You don’t get everything else in order and then, and only then, do you bring Christ into the picture.  You don’t build the house and THEN install the foundation.  The foundation is first.
Highly defective marriages refuse to put Christ first.
“Well, my wife is the spiritual one.  She’s the one to bring God into the home.” Struggling marriages have one of many things in common: one spouse is working at something that BOTH should be working together on.  Are you the only one trying to bring Jesus into your marriage? If you are in a marriage like that, you are probably frustrated and fatigued. I don’t have any easy answers for you other than “DON’T GIVE UP”!!!!  I want to speak Galatians 6:9 into your life.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
There’s no better time than now to tend to the foundation of your marriage. Here in Michigan, we’ve had an obscene amount of snow storms. Case in point…My mailbox:
1003224_10152167308888537_734357989_n
The trouble is when the storm hits, people come to grips with how well they’ve built the home.  Storms are not the time to build, they’re time to rest in the comfort of what’s established.
Build now.  Set Christ as your foundation now.  Help your marriage to keep from becoming defective.
Next week, #2…
Thanks for letting me ramble…