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The secret to a strong marriage? Someone who makes you laugh

My husband and I are both passionate yet sensitive people. So it’s been interesting navigating topics that pop up we don’t agree on, or parenting decisions we don’t see eye-to-eye on through the course of our relationship.


We have definitely realized that it can be hard.

I mean, raising three children—four and under—is just hard in general. It’s complicated and exhausting and tricky and requires a decent amount of patience that we sometimes have, sometimes don’t. It depends on the day and how much caffeine is pumping through our veins.

But it’s not ‘hard’ like not worth it ‘hard.’ Like give up ‘hard.’ Just ‘hard’ like dang! We need to work on this. We need to continue to put the work in to make each and every day a success. We love our family and we love each other and it’s worth it to do that work.

One day recently when we were...let’s call it, “passionately discussing” how we should talk to our children when they do something wrong, my husband threw out one of our favorite inside jokes from when we binged watched How I Met Your Mother when we were newlyweds. It’s a solid joke that—no matter how mad we are when we throw it out—if it’s timed right, it kills.

“That would be a major pain to do it that way,” I said.

Pause.

My husband salutes and at the same time repeats, “Major Pain.”

See—the joke takes what someone says and turns it into a military ranking. (It’s a thing, seriously. And it’s really only funny if you’ve watched the show. ?)

It somehow instantly brings me back to that time when we sat in our bed together for hours, pre-children, and we watched and watched and watched HIMYM to our heart's content. No requests for water or to watch Curious George instead. No crying or diaper changes. Just us and our friends Robin, Ted, Barney, Lily and Marshall.

That day, and many days since, I’ve realized how much laughter is a true blessing in our marriage. Whether we’re funny to other people or not, we really are funny to each other. And that does a marriage good, if you ask me.

I’m glad I married the man who can make me belly laugh over the most ridiculous things. And vice versa. (Usually me more because I’m funnier, but don’t tell him that…)

I’m glad we can turn to laughter when tensions are running high. Cracking a funny joke can break the ice and get us back in each other’s good graces 99% of the time. (And it’s actually a lot easier than staying mad at each other.)

I’m glad we can turn to laughter when we’ve messed up and want to apologize but don’t want it to be super serious—we want to say sorry and just see their smile again and not make a huge deal over it. (So, just to reiterate, the formula is apologize quick + crack joke immediately = move on. Works pretty well.)

I’m glad we can turn to laughter in the middle of a fight. We’ve literally started cracking up during some arguments and then we’re basically too tired to go back to the fight so we just get over it.

I’m glad we can turn to laughter in the middle of a seemingly impossible parenting situation—like a code brown or a 3 a.m. puke fest—and find some sort of humor in the situation. It honestly makes me feel like we’re really playing as a team. That we’re really in this together. Because if you can’t laugh together while covered in someone else’s vomit, when CAN you laugh? Amirite?

I’m glad we can turn to laughter when we’re trying to...have some time to ourselves (?), but one child starts crying, so we go to them and help them and calm them. Then, we get back to...what we were doing, but then another child cries...so we go help them and calm them. Then, we try to get back to it but laugh because—sure, that seemed fun an hour ago, but we’re really tired and have to be up in five hours and no, we’re going to go to sleep instead. Rain check!

I’m glad we can turn to laughter when we’re so tired we accidentally throw our phone out in the garbage or take the wrong train line home and end up in a totally different town than the one we live in. Sure they were kind of inconvenient situations, but they were also pretty hilarious, so...worth the laugh.

I’m glad we can turn to laughter when there’s lot of whining going on. Whining is not fun and you need something to counter balance all the whining in order to stay sane. Like a “stop the whining” song to the tune of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” that you made up and sends everyone into fits of laughter (okay, okay, just me and my husband) right away. But, actually, it doesn’t really work for the whiner...the whiner typically keeps whining.

(Guys, really—sing it, it's fun. “All I do is whine, whine, whine no matter what...got Bubble Guppies on my mind, I can never get enough. And every time I step up from my crib my demands go up! And they stay there…”)

Marriage and love and parenting and living together and life in general isn’t always easy. So, we laugh. We lighten things up. We try not to take ourselves too seriously.

Because as the writer Rose Franken once said, “Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly.”

So, it’s important be with someone who will be silly with you. Who will make you laugh.

Be with someone who’s not afraid to pretend to be the royal princess at your daughter’s tea party.

Be with someone who will think the accidental-baby-poop-explosion-on-the-couch situation—while very, very unfortunate—is also pretty funny. (And fixable, thank goodness.)

Be with someone who will laugh at themselves when they’ve realized they somehow got their 2-year-old in their babies’ 6 month onesie. (It did look a little tight…)

Be with someone who will sit with you at the end of a long day and laugh at the wild and crazy events that went on because only you two really get it and that is a pretty special feeling.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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