A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength (Proverbs 17:22, NLT)
Laughter is truly a gift from our Heavenly Father. And it’s actually medicinal. According to Hara Estroff Marano, in his article in Psychology Today, “In addition to the domino effect of joy and amusement, laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress.”
I have a book that I purchased decades ago called, Children’s Letters to God, compiled by Stuart Hample and Eric Marshall. Whenever I need a good laugh, I will pick up that little book as it describes some of the amusing letters children have written to God. Here’s an example: “God did you mean for giraffes to look like that, or was it an accident?” Another favorite is, “Dear God, thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.” One more, “Dear God, if you give me a lamp like Alladin (the child’s spelling), I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set.”
Laughter is such an important component in the lives of married folk. Some of the most intimate moments shared between couples, other than sexually, are when you can laugh at each other’s silly jokes or anecdotes. Have you ever begun an argument that ended in laughter? It dispelled all the anger and hurt feelings. It’s a remarkable thing.
The Good News Translation of the above verse says, “Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.” A marriage that is full of gloom is dying a slow death. When the only thing you can focus on is problems, the strength of your earlier relationship is slowly fading away. It may be necessary to do a reboot, and that’s not an easy thing to do if you’ve developed bad habits throughout your relationship.
So, how do you reboot? Well, first of all, someone has to be the bigger person and decide to address it. Perhaps you, the reader of this post, should be the one. You will want to start by asking God to give you the wisdom for the right timing. Once that has been established, simply let your mate know that you would like to chat about how you both can help your love for each other blossom anew by finding some new joy in your relationship. Explain that you need to laugh more, then suggest that you both brainstorm ways you can do that. Then, of course, pray together for God’s guidance. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be worth it if you can rediscover each other.
If you have had very serious issues in the marriage beyond just gloominess, counseling is probably needed. But for the relationship that has simply gone a bit stale, a reboot is all that’s needed. Establishing or re-establishing a date night is so important. It is during those set-aside times that you can see each other again and re-ignite the passion you once had for each other.
Nehemiah 8:10c reminds us that, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Keeping joy in the midst of your marriage helps make it strong.