If you had asked me before I married what I wanted in a husband, “a good sense of humor” would not have been the first thing that sprang to mind. No, I was looking for a smart, solid Christian who loved kids, wanted a bunch of them, and was open to homeschooling. Being “tall, dark, and handsome” was not essential, but would be a much-appreciated bonus (especially the “tall” part, as I’m 5’11” myself). That I should try to find “an animated storyteller with an infectious laugh” never even occurred to me.
Fortunately, God ignored that oversight and gave me a man who was not only everything I dreamed of, but was witty, playful, and spontaneous, too. My husband knows how to make me laugh! A slight tilt of his head or a knowing wink can instantly bring an amused smile to my face. A cleverly turned phrase or droll observation will get me to giggling. But when Doug tells a story, he uses his whole body to act it out, sending our entire family into hysterics with deep, uproarious laughter that leaves our sides aching afterwards. How dull and dreary my life might have been without all that!
It is with good reason the Bible tells us to “rejoice always.” (1 Thess. 5:16, Phil. 4:4). Science has demonstrated time and again that our attitudes and dispositions have a profound effect upon our immune function. Joyous, mirthful laughter really is good medicine. (see Prov. 17:22) Here are just a few of the many great things a good belly-laugh does for you:
- Improves Health – laughter boosts your immunity and wards off disease by increasing killer cell activity
- Brightens Mood – laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals in our brains
- Relieves Tension – laughter reduces stress, fear, and anxiety while relaxing muscles throughout the body
- Increases Energy – laughter helps us to recharge and refocus, to work harder and accomplish more
- Defuses Conflict – laughter keeps disagreements and disputes from becoming dirty or divisive
- Provides Perspective – laughter makes both minor inconveniences and major adversities more bearable
- Promotes Humility – the ability and willingness to laugh at oneself is an invaluable character trait
I’m convinced that all the laughing my husband and I have done over the past 25 years has not only helped our bodies stay healthy, but has kept our marriage healthy, as well. We laugh at silly songs and corny poems we’ve been making up since we first met. We laugh at funny movies, like Princess Bride and Dan in Real Life. We laugh about our children’s antics, like the toddler who decided just before party guests arrived to completely re-paper our bathroom in maxi-pads. We laugh over embarrassing mistakes, like the time my husband used his cell phone to video our baby toddling around the bathroom, then showed it to a couple dozen coworkers before realizing he’d inadvertently captured me in the background, sitting on the toilet with my pants around my knees. (At least he hadn’t posted it on YouTube!)
What has gotten the biggest laugh out of you recently? We’d love for you to share it, so the rest of us can laugh along :-)
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If you’d like to read further on this fascinating topic, check out the following articles and resources: