The first time I laid eyes on my husband, he was making a large group of people laugh in the student center of our University. Months later, when we began to see each other, we quickly found out that we were pretty compatible, and our senses of humor happened to be, too. Although we’re quite different, we have always had a penchant for making one another laugh… him with his love of the wild and outrageous, and me with my more understated, slightly off-color humor.
After almost a decade of being together, we often talk about how it’s more important than ever for us to hold laughter in high regard. It continues our friendship that began so long ago. It hearkens back to those early years of discovery and becoming endeared to each other, day by day. When Colin does or says something that is meant specifically and only for me, in order to make me smile (and vice versa!), it’s a real manner in which we conjure up togetherness in the midst of busyness and the normative family, money, and work stresses. It’s a safe place and a haven. We’ve laughed our way through so many different stages of life, whether it be a relief from pain, in moments of intimacy, after (or even during) a disagreement. It is truly a sign of health in us and our marriage.
We say often that if we stop laughing together, we’ll know something is seriously wrong.
If you are able to freely laugh with someone, it’s pretty easy to become close. It’s not often you laugh with people you don’t like, is it? It requires the breaking down of barriers; it requires vulnerability. To try to make someone laugh takes effort and care.
On top of that very bond that my husband and I have been working on, we now have two little ones who are a constant source of giggles. Kids have a way of reminding you to not take yourself too seriously– am I right? Oh, how many times Colin and I have had to dive behind a wall or around a corner because we couldn’t contain our snickers, usually over something slightly sassy or naughty our daughter said. Or how many times our resolve has been broken by a hilarious dance or face or joke, or even an inadvertent funny: like the time our two-year-old daughter (who was potty training at the time) sat down and read the book Everyone Poops with me, closed it, and loudly exclaimed, “Aaaaaaaaa-men!”.
It’s the soundtrack to our home life, truly. There have been, and will continue to be, seasons of life where our laughter may get stuck in our throats; it may not flow as freely, or it may hurt. But we’ve seen it heal wounds and bring joy in painful circumstances.
The thing that strikes me is that it’s a universal language. Don’t we all remember our baby’s first belly laughs? It erupts out of them from somewhere deep down. Even at a very young age, for our kids to see mom and dad laughing, just like they laugh, is important. We want them to know that not only are we married, are we a family, but we like each other. Laughter is not just for the young. My hope is that, when they reflect upon the general atmosphere of our home, they remember one that was full of silliness and the sound of my husband’s signature guffaw and my cackles. There is no melody more beautiful than my house full of laughter.
Colin and I often joke about how absolutely ridiculous we are, and wonder if other people and couples are quite as weird. We can almost guarantee that if anyone ever heard us when we get going, or knew about our inside jokes, they would probably disown us. I know that every couple, every family, is unique, and because of that, everyone’s ‘glue’ will be different. What I do want to encourage us (and myself) to continue to do is get back to the basics. What were the things that first brought your relationship together? Let’s celebrate them by giving them a place in our relationships now, where we are.
What is the glue that holds your marriage and your family together? I’d love to know! Feel free to share below.
Rachel is a wife and mother living in Raleigh, North Carolina. She’s a fan of good coffee, wearer of gray t-shirts, and is constantly starting books she will never finish. Her family is her joy, and she loves to engage with other moms and dads on matters of parenting. Her blog posts have also been featured on the Today Show Parenting Blog and Scary Mommy.