March 4, 2019

One my favorite things about my husband is his ability to make me laugh.  He is really funny and goofy.  (This actually may surprise some people who know him professionally.)  One of our best-loved memories goes back to our pre-children years (those special pre-children memories are their own blog) when we took a trip to Disney World.

Disney World exit signWhile visiting Canada in Epcot’s World Showcase area, we watched a beautiful film exhibiting the sweeping landscapes, beautiful people, and world cities that make their country so special.  The song includes one line that says “Planet Earth.” But what we heard rhymed with Canada with a make-up word, “planet-a.”  We exploded in fits of laughter.

Now this may not seem particularly funny, but even as I sit here and type it, I am laughing all over again. I actually found the clip on the internet, and sent the link to my husband at work.

At the time we first heard it, we barely made it out of the theater before we were doubled over in hysterics. You know . . . the sort of laughter where you cannot breath, tears are streaming down your face, and people are staring at you like you have three heads? I recall park guards walking by – I am sure they were about to haul us off as drunk or disruptive or a general nuisance.  But it’s just the best kind of laughter. And now, it’s a shared joke and a family phrase.

There is something about this sort of laughter that fuels companionship. It feeds a relationship. Lucky for me, this is not a rare moment for us, nor for our family. We can be pretty silly, and we laugh often. The jokes don’t always translate well, as they are in some ways the private language of our marriage and our family. And frankly, that’s ok, if not wildly appropriate. It speaks to an intimacy that we have both birthed and then nurtured.

And while the jokes may not be the same from marriage to marriage or family to family, laughter is, indeed, a medicine. It’s a balm for the sticky parts of life. It’s a release for the stress we all manage. It cuts anxiety off at its knees. Laughter is a way to renegotiate or reposition us when we are stuck in certain habits or perspectives.  It can literally rework breath and thus, inject oxygen into stagnant space.

Now, I don’t think laughter has to be at the center of every marriage. There are other elements and dimensions to marriage that can certainly be strong anchors:  companionship, study, safe space, kindness, shared dreams, and even sex all come to mind. But oh, what a good thing laughter can be for any marriage.  What have you laughed about lately?

And Canada?  Well, I do love you and I thank you . . . even with your silly lyrics, you unknowingly made us better.