Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"Don't Worry, Be Happy" -- Why Goofiness is Important to Marriage and Relationships

Marisa's commentary on the last post she wrote about how serious and deep my thoughts and posts are got me thinking that I need to write some more uplifting and "light" posts. Marriage (and commitment to marriage) are two subjects that are difficult to think about in a "light" way. Both require work, planning, and the execution of steps on the path to becoming selfless. Being truly selfless is one of the most difficult things a person can ever do, but something God has called us all to do.

Today's post from me on my lunch break will be about why goofiness is important to marriage and relationships. This is a radical departure from my posts about dying to self or defending the principle of young marriage, and it is a much needed one. The seriousness of marriage (or even a commitment of wanting to get married) can be so serious at times that it can leave us frustrated, confused, or concerned. We can worry about the past and the future all we want, and there is definitely a benefit to "worrying" in a positive way by sorting out the past with your spouse and planning the future. However, too much worry can kill an otherwise healthy and beautiful relationship. We see it all the time. The Huffington Post comments on how too much worry in the form of repeated arguments about finances can lead to divorce. A score of other things can cause marriages to fall apart when there is too much "worry" in the relationship and not enough joy.

It's healthy to revisit the past and learn the lessons you need to learn from your mistakes. It's also important to plan with your spouse for the future. However, the only moment you have for certain with your spouse or significant other is the present. Stop worrying all the time and be happy. Let goofiness be a routine in your marriage or relationship and you'll find that you not only worry less, but that you are happier and more fulfilled with your spouse or significant other.

You might not be goofy or may have a dry sense of humor, I get that. Despite that, you really need to let happiness be a habit in your life and in your marriage. Even eHarmony notes that happiness and a playful nature in a couple can something that makes or breaks relationships:

Having a lighthearted approach to life and love makes for happy individuals—and of course happy individuals make happy romantic couples. It’s no wonder the Old Testament book of Proverbs includes this wisdom: “A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”

So make happiness and playfulness a priority in your relationship! You might be thinking "How on earth do I do that, Josh?" Well, I am a pretty goofy person, and my laugh has been described by Marisa and many others as being "contagious." I have a few tips on how to be goofy and how to let you and your spouse or significant others be light-hearted instead of constantly worrying by fretting about the past or future.

Me being goofy in Galveston!
  1. Don't be afraid to be weird. I know a lot of people are afraid they will come off as "weird" to their significant other, especially on the first date or important occasions. There's nothing worse than acting goofy and being your playful self only to be duped and realize that the person you are with really does not like your goofiness. Take it as a blessing though if you are dating someone and you realize you cannot be yourself around them. You aren't meant to be if you feel that you have to hide your humor or change the way you act around your significant other. However, if you are already married, I suggest you talk about your humor if it really is a divisive issue between the two of you. Something that is meant to be uplifting shouldn't tear you apart. You should definitely change bad habits like cursing, being vulgar, etc., but good things like your sense of humor and personality need not change. They are an integral part of you and will not change. I'm not suggesting you do something really weird on the first date with your potential spouse, but after getting to know him or her, start letting your goofiness take control sometimes and don't always be so up-tight. Goofiness can diffuse arguments. I know that one time I diffused an argument with Marisa by telling her I was hungry and saying in the most God-awful, strange, high-pitched, squeaky voice, "I want to eat Whataburger. Whataburger, Whataburger, Whataburger." You probably have no idea what I am talking about without an audio recording or something like that, but I know Marisa does and it will make her smile and laugh when she reads this. You need to have these sorts of inside jokes with your spouse. I can just say "Whataburger" in my voice now and Marisa will instantly smile. *I also posted the picture of me trying to balance the giant chess piece on my head to show you that you can be goofy with your spouse in public, too. Marisa took that photo when we were in Galveston, TX, shortly after we had a pretty large trial hit our lives and shake our relationship. Our goofiness and happiness made that day the happiest day of both of our lives in a time when things were still settling down from the storm that blew through in our lives.
  2. Learn your spouse's since of humor, and tailor your jokes to them. Yes, I know I just said that you shouldn't change your since of humor for your significant other. What I meant by that was more don't change your personality. If you are funny and your significant other is uptight, you can't really change to be more like the other. However, usually the biggest issue between spouses regarding humor is the type of humor they enjoy. For instance, I grew up with the very bad habit of sarcasm being one of my main humor tools. Some people think it's funny, others do not. Marisa really, really, really does not like sarcasm, especially sarcasm directed at her. I've grown to change and make my humor not directed at her whatsoever. Instead I focus my humor at other funny things, including funny things I do. She likes mocking me when I say "Oh" abruptly whenever I drop something. She also likes poking fun at how I've had a really bad track record with dropping food on myself while eating out. The average person would get irritated at humor being directed at them, but I've learned to tailor my humor to make her happy and make her laugh. Seeing her laugh makes me laugh and puts me on top of the world. I don't really even care if the humor is directed at me or not. If you can laugh at yourself, you're doing good!
  3. Be spontaneous! Don't plan a joke waiting for the right time to use it. See an opportunity arise and use it. The best humor is the jokes and things that are spur-of-the-moment. After all, you won't tell a joke and forget a punch line if you are making it up on the spot. I think the best jokes I have ever told Marisa were based off of things that happened in the moment I told them. Take a random and funny selfie with your phone. Speak randomly in a foreign accent. Give your significant other a random peck. If variety is the spice of life, spontaneity is the seasoning.
  4. BE YOURSELF! I capitalized this because I think it is the most important advice I could give anyone in general with relationships. If you are not genuine, sincere, and yourself, you are doing your significant other a disservice. Use your personality, humor, and style to win someone's affection and not a pseudo-persona. You'll be surprised to find that someone in the world enjoys your humor and style just as much as you do.
I hope these tips help! Happiness is key to the success of any marriage, and I believe goofiness is a principle ingredient in the recipe for happiness and a fulfilled life with your spouse.

I'll close with a final thought. Goofiness and humor IS NOT the key to a successful, happy marriage. Proverbs 14:13 speaks to this common misconception: "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief." Humor can never be used as an alternative to addressing issues within the marriage. It must only be used to diffuse tough and serious situations, but not forget them entirely. Success in marriage is determined by a variety of things, such as maturity and selflessness. Humor, however, can help grown and deepen the love and the bond between you and your spouse and I encourage you to embrace laughter, joy, and goofiness as a daily habit in your life!

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