A Time to Speak — Laughter in marriage is the best medicine

Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes

Mistianna: One of the qualities I love most about Derrick, besides his big baby blues, is his sense of humor. He is always giving me some type of cheesy compliment, declaring his love for me. For example, now that he’s working from home, he might come downstairs for a coffee break and say, “girl, you must be exhausted because you’ve been running through my mind all day long.” When he makes ridiculous comments like that, I shake my head and laugh. Even though I think he’s totally outrageous, those cheesy pickup lines have made some really tough times in our marriage more bearable.

Deacon Derrick: Laughter is important because life can get stressful and even good marriages face tragic and turbulent times. There have been more times than I can count where I had to choose to laugh or to cry in my life with Mistianna. I found laughter to be the better medicine. I crack jokes all the time, but that’s how I deal with sadness and stress. Humor has been an invaluable tool in helping us deal with difficult situations in our marriage, like the deaths of our mothers, miscarriages, sickness and financial stresses. If couples can approach difficult marital issues with a positive attitude and look at the glass half full, rather than half-empty, they will have a healthier and happier marriage. Laughter can lighten the load and help couples deal with the chaos and stress of life when they rear their ugly head.

Mistianna: I heard Jay Leno once say, “you can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh,” and that has never been so true, as it is in our marriage. Laughter has been our make-up song. There have been hundreds of times in our almost 26 years of marriage when Derrick has made me madder than a wet hen. But I can’t stay angry at him for long, especially when he snuggles up close to me, looks at me with his baby blues and starts singing, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling.” His humor pierces my anger every time and I can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous and funny he is.

Deacon Derrick: The first time I ever sang “You’ve lost that Loving Feeling” to Mistianna was in the middle of a crowded bowling alley in Bowling Green, Ky. While it was a cheesy display of romantic humor, my actions showcased an important aspect of Christian marriage: the willingness to do anything to make your spouse’s life better. Mistianna was having a really bad day and I wanted to cheer her up. I grabbed the microphone from the desk, walked out to the lane where we were bowling and started singing. The smile on her face was worth the stares, snickers and teasing I received. And let me tell you, they were well deserved because I CAN’T SING! As Mistianna’s life partner and lover, the “we” is more important than the “me,” and that means being willing to do anything to make her life better, even if it makes me look foolish. Even though Mistianna will never admit it, she loved being serenaded at the bowling alley.

Mistianna: Derrick serenading me at the bowling alley, while a bit embarrassing, really did make me laugh and feel valued and loved. Learning how to love your spouse through humor can enhance your connection as a couple. Derrick understands my style of humor and knows how to lighten the mood and make me burst out laughing. He is always texting me a hilarious meme or hysterical video because he knows I find those things funny. It’s important to understand your spouse’s style of humor so you can enjoy your marriage and each other more fully. Figuring out your spouse’s funny bone may take a little work, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Whether they like slapstick, improv, witty wordplay, satire or spoofs, learning how to laugh with your spouse is the best medicine on the market. It’s a mating ritual all couples should employ to keep their marriage lasting a lifetime.

Deacon Derrick and Mistianna Barnes are assigned to St. Margaret Mary Church.

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