Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Mr. & Mrs. // Learning to Laugh

Awwww... look at engaged us up there. So stinking cute. And so oblivious to all that is lying ahead: all the ups and downs and laughs and cries and general crazy wonderfulness that is marriage. I know, I know. We haven't even been married three whole years yet. There's an old-timer out there somewhere scoffing and saying "honey, you ain't seen nothing yet." I'm not totally naive. I'm aware that there's plenty more challenges and adventures ahead that we can't even begin to imagine. What do we know?

Well, I feel like we do know a little bit. Today, I want to share one of the biggest lessons I've learned since getting married on that mild October day in 2012. It's a lesson I often forget to live by, but it's also a lesson that I have been actively trying to remember.

That lesson is simple: be willing to laugh.

Before our wedding, a family friend imparted this nugget of wisdom: learn to laugh at yourself, at your circumstances, and at each other. Of course, you have to time that last one right. I don't mean crack up at your partner when they're genuinely upset. That would just compound your issues. Let me explain,

Life is full of setbacks, failures, difficulties, and just downright bad days. Recently, there was a time when I let these various obstacles and difficulties truly weigh my spirits. I walked around grumpy, irritable, and taking everything way too seriously. Every joke felt like an intended slight. Every little disagreement had the potential to turn into an explosive argument. Everyday, I was genuinely upset and out-of-sorts, allowing too many things to burden and rob me of the simple joy of everyday life.

But then, one day, I just started laughing. My husband and I were in the middle of a mild disagreement, but one that had the potential to turn into a real, genuine argument. To be honest, I can't even recall the topic of the fuss. I do remember that I was being intentionally difficult and obstinate, despite knowing that my position was the wrong one. But then, something Mark said or did in frustration just struck me as funny. I started to laugh and just like that, my anger was gone. I realized how stupid I was being, how unfair. At first, my husband's expression was surprised--what was wrong with this crazy woman?-- and then he too began to laugh. And just like that--the fuss was over. Instead, we were sitting in the living room laughing our heads off. Once our cackling subsided, we were able to talk civilly, solve the issue, and move on.

While the incident may sound silly, it taught me that laughter is so vitally important not only in a marriage, but just in everyday life. Since then, I've learned (and am still learning) how being willing to laugh can make seemingly insurmountable problems seem trivial and doable. When I have a bad day and then get cut off by an angry driver on my way home, I could either rant and rave about it...or laugh to myself. When I destroy supper (which doesn't happen often, but has occurred at least once in my cooking life), I could either bang pots around in frustration or throw my hands up and laugh oh well.

Life is much too short to stomp through, unhappy and irritable. When you go that route, you not only upset yourself but everyone around you. Instead, just give in and laugh about it. You may be surprised--like me--to realize how much better it makes you feel.

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