There is a choice little verse in the Bible that says, “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest . . .” (Eccl. 9:9). Finding the humor in everyday situations is a great way to live joyfully with your mate.  Victor Borge made a profound statement when he said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”  When you laugh with your spouse it draws you close and makes you love each other all the more, and it works the same magic with your children.  President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “In all of living have much of fun and laughter.  Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.” (Ensign May 1996, p.91)

Humor doesn’t usually jump out and say, “Here I am.  Time for a laugh.”  If you don’t look for the humor in the day-to-day situations they may pass you by. We are reminded of the time our mentally impaired daughter — six years old at the time — was caught hitting her brother over the head. (She was quite normal in that regard!) In the midst of the parental reprimand she looked up and innocently said, “I can’t help it. I’m brain bandaged.” After a simple reply to her, “Well, don’t do it again,” we hurried to our room, shut the door and laughed right out loud. Laughing relieved the stress, and we also realized that this little girl was a lot smarter than we thought.

Humor can serve you well to stop an argument, as in the case of these two couples. Realizing that their discussion was turning into an argument the wife said to her husband, “We’ve got to stop arguing in front of each other.” He had to laugh and so did she when she realized the ridiculousness of it.

The wife of another couple, after one of their less desirable days when they had a rather heated discussion, found the perfect card to give her husband. On the outside it said, “You’re the answer to my prayers . . . “ Then inside: “not quite what I prayed for, but nevertheless, the answer.” It broke the ice and they laughed. And they have continued the practice of giving humorous greeting cards to each other ever since.

Lydia and Tyler had an experience that shows how humor can stop an argument, though theirs was a delayed reaction. Lydia told us: “Tyler and I had a heated argument and I was so mad at him I said, ‘I’ve had it with you! I’m going out!’ And with that I slammed the door and left. I got in my car and decided to go to a movie and get him off my mind. When I came out of the movie I realized that I had left the car lights on and the battery was dead. I had to call Tyler to come and get me. How humiliating. When I climbed in the car beside him I knew he was silently laughing in the dark. I said, ‘Are you laughing?’ At that point he could no longer hold it back . . . and neither could I. We laughed all the way home.”

Something wonderful happens when couples have their own little “inside humor” moments. These moments are based on funny past experiences that you both relate to in a fun way. These are the experiences that, whenever you’re in a group and you see anything akin to it, cause you to look at each other and give a little knowing smile, nudge, or a wink, and you both know that you’re remembering that old event. Sharing and enjoying such a moment again and again becomes almost more fun than the actual event. Lydia and Tyler have had many a laugh through the years over their little “movie” incident. Take advantage of every opportunity to laugh about your life’s happenings over and over again. Let the fun memory have a full life and enjoy these moment to the hilt.

Couples need to keep in mind that when humor hurts, it’s not funny. Sometimes couples get caught in the sarcasm trap. If you are trying to be funny and clever at the expense of your mate, it will backfire. This kind of humor carries deep hurt. It’s okay to have a little fun by making yourself the brunt of the joke, but never your spouse. If your husband wants to say at a party, after stuffing himself, that he is the veritable Pillsbury doughboy, fine. Just don’t you ever say it, even if the thought occurs to you. It will crush him, even if he were to laugh. His laugh will only be to save face in the crowd. Keep in mind that love doesn’t cause hurt.  Bring into your relationship the kind of laughter than heals instead of hurts.

Start today to laugh and have more fun in your marriage. You might start by looking in the newspaper at the comics and sharing a funny cartoon, or going out today and buying a funny “thinking of you” card — do something right now that could put some humor into your marriage.  Share to funny anecdotes at the end of Reader’s Digest article.  Share funny happenings or favorite jokes at the dinner table.  Make being together fun.   Be creative and lighten up your life, your home, and have a good old-fashioned hearty laugh together . . . today. Remember “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22)

[From the book Married for Better, Not Worse: The 14 Secrets to a Happy Marriage, published by Penguin Books, NY, available at discount price at . Also at that site check out information on the LundbergsOctober 14-15, 2005 Overnight Marriage Retreat.  Join them for the fun and laughter.]