A few years ago after finishing our dinner at Seasons 52, we requested a dessert menu. Instead, the waiter brought out a tray of desserts. Usually this isn’t the norm at restaurants we frequent. Aneta’s eyes danced from dish to dish. A light illuminated each dessert as the waiter sought to entice us with details about each luscious dish.
I wasn’t tempted.
“No thanks,” I replied. “I’ll wait till later.”
Aneta peppered the waiter with questions as he showcased each dessert. Suddenly Aneta’s hand lurched forward where the tray resided on the table.
Then laughter ensued. Her trademark laughter that brightens the most heartless of hearts. A laughter that invigorates the joyless. A laughter that sweeps away the cares of life for a moment of bountiful bliss.
I smiled, still unsure why she was laughing so hard. My eyes squinted in the dark room to make out what was transpiring across the table.
It turned out that Aneta intended to make a comment about a particular dessert. To her horror, the opulent desserts were real—not plastic, as she wrongly assumed. Her finger burrowed into the dessert as she spoke to the waiter. The immediate sensations on her fingertip clued her in: It was indeed a real dessert!
As her hand shrank back, a shriek of laughter cascaded forth. Even the waiter chuckled a bit. Thankfully he didn’t charge us for desecrating a dish on the dessert tray. We did sweeten the tip a bit more that night.
Most importantly though, laughter prevailed.
A study showed that women laughed about 126% more than their male counterparts, while men seem to instigate laughter the most—and there’s an interesting application of those results to how relationships form and are maintained. Women typically rate a sense of humor as a top-three trait for a potential mate. Men tend to rate women who laugh a lot (i.e. laugh at their jokes) higher than those who don’t. It’s no surprise, then, that couples who laugh together report having higher-quality relationships. Laughter is a nonnegotiable for all involved.
I would add that laughter is essential for married couples to foster a long lasting bond that provides connectivity even in the face of adversity. Do you need an uptick in your laughter quotient within your marriage? Proverbs 17:22 reads, A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 15:13 states, A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. Most could use a healthy infusion of laughter to help cultivate a cheerful and glad heart within the context of their marital relationship.
In 2003 during a very difficult stage early in our marriage, the Lord sent us to the backside of the desert. A place on the map called Hobbs, New Mexico. We spent six months living with a precious couple, Jerry and Shara Phillips. They helped us navigate a tumultuous, rocky season in our marriage. I was a dealing with deep rooted sin in my life. But in the midst of the difficult time, we laughed continually as we spent quality time with them. Jerry had a way of making Aneta laugh, which in turn egged him on to make her laugh even more. Though it was a painful journey, we recall with fondness the memories forged in laughter around the table. Seventeen years later we are not marred by the pain of the desert; rather, we are marked by the joyful moments of laughter with loved ones.
Take time to laugh. Couples must willingly learn to laugh together. The dessert fiasco was a time not to mourn over a mishap, but to laugh instead. Laughter in the midst of such moments will transcend the challenges at hand, etching the memory into our hearts as we age together.