Good Medicine for Your Marriage

Posted: 12/27/2014 in Life lessons
Tags: , , ,

My wife, Tina, and I have frequently been asked, “What’s the secret to your strong marriage and relationship?”  Most people are taken a bit by surprise when they hear our answer.

Faith in God? Of course.

Prayer? Yes.

Communication? Most of the time. More so now than when we first started.

Patience?  Her, indubitably! Me, not so much.

Understanding? Sometimes.

All of these and many more are certainly a part of what makes our marriage strong and durable. However, these essential elements are seldom our first answer. The people who know us are already aware of our faith, so, that’s not where we start. In the event of our being asked by someone unaware of our faith, we begin there then move on to our secret.  In either case, we generally move on to the other essentials…eventually.

Before I share our secret let me give you a little background.

Tina and I are fifteen years into our respective second marriage.  I have three children from my first marriage and she has two.  Emotionally overwhelmed from a bitter divorce, I was very insecure and unsure of myself.  I second guessed myself for the first few years of our lives together. She had been a single mom for seven years and had become quite independent and self reliant. An ominous statistic at the time of our nuptials (November 24, 1999) affirmed that 72% of all second marriages fail. The odds were certainly stacked against us from the get go. In truth, I have to admit that, a few times during the first five years, we came excruciatingly close to proving the accuracy of that statistic.

Needless to say, we have been through our fair share of ups and downs. There were times in the early part of our marriage when we yelled at each other. There were times when we didn’t speak to each other…for several days. There were times when she drove off mad and times when I did.  We certainly have had our share of late night, heated discussions, well into the wee hours of the morning. And, of course, the headaches and swollen eyes accompanying sleeplessness the next day. The stress of blending a family, hurt and angry step children, ex-spouses, different discipline methods and values, your kids versus my kids arguments, and many other road blocks to success the second time around, can all be too much to overcome. Many don’t make it and that’s unfortunate. Figure in economics and “my debt, your debt, our debt” and you have a veritable powder keg…and a short fuse.  And how can I dismiss the emotional baggage brought in from two individuals (and their children) having experienced failure the first time around which, incidentally, was supposed to be “till death do us part?”  Oh, and did I mention that I was in full time ministry at the time of our marriage?  On top of everything else, my wife married into ministry and all the pressures and expectations that come with being a pastor’s wife. Real or perceived, the pressure was there. Add to the mix of all this the simple reality that sometimes life is just hard and you have a volatile cocktail, to say the least.

After re-reading the above paragraph, I wonder myself how we have endured and found happiness. Well, actually, we didn’t find happiness. The truth is, by God’s grace, we have created it. And, truly, His grace is sufficient.  So what’s our secret? How have we endured and how do we continue to do so?  Ready?  Here it is…

          …Laughter…

IMG_2034

Laughing it up. (Christmas, 2014)

That’s right, laughter. Funny as it may sound (pun intended), that’s our secret.  Tina and I have quite simply learned to laugh.  At ourselves…at each other…at random things…at the situations life brings our way, we have learned to find humor and have a good laugh.  We don’t necessarily laugh at the situations at hand but we do choose to laugh in spite of them.  Laughter is good medicine.  Don’t believe me? Here is some evidence from none other than the Mayo Clinic.  You can read about it here. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456

Laughter has so many medical benefits and stress relief is definitely among them. Not a single day goes by where my wife and I don’t share several laughs together. In fact, we purposely do silly little things to provoke laughter. Our kids are well aware of this and actually enjoy spending time with us because of it. We make them laugh, too!  (c:]  And, Tina and I are quite alright with them laughing at us.  Few people have ever left our home sad…even though they may have arrived that way. I’m proud of that.

Just to be clear, here, I think it is necessary to inform you that God’s Word prescribed this medical wisdom about laughter long before the prominent and distinguished Mayo Clinic did (or any other clinic for that matter). Doctor…err…ummm…King Solomon, under Divine inspiration had something to say about the benefits of laughter.  Take a look.

Proverbs 15:13 (AMP)

“A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.”

Proverbs 15:15 (AMP)

“All the days of the desponding and afflicted are made evil [by anxious thoughts and forebodings], but he who has a glad heart has a continual feast [regardless of circumstances].”

Proverbs 17:22 (AMP)

“A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

We have discovered that laughter paves the way for all the other essentials in relationship to work to their potential. It certainly changes the way we communicate. When we are both stressed about a situation we have an unwritten rule that we don’t talk much about it until we can laugh a little. We often remind ourselves of the various hardships throughout our lives together that we have had to laugh our way through. It has worked wonders for us. Maybe it will for you, as well.

As we approach the year 2015 and our sixteenth year together, I can’t tell you for sure what obstacles and adversities we will face. There is one thing I can be absolutely sure of, though.

…we will laugh…

…and beat the odds!


…Peace and blessings…

~ joe

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Brother Dave says:

    Excellent words of wisdom.
    Sad to say….I was one of the 72%.
    In the event that God allows me to find a wife…I will remember the laughter that you created and the joy it has brought to you and your wife.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s