The Best Gift: Laughter!

When you’ve been married a year or two like I have you’ll start to realize that one of the most important things about your spouse is not always the romance or the steamy lovemaking…but that your spouse is your best friend, who knows you more intimately than anyone else on the planet and oddly they still decide to stay with you!

At this time of year, when so many people are talking about giving this gift and that gift to your spouse for the holidays–everything from this possession to that sexual act :0 –may I suggest one gift that will last you a lifetime, lower your blood pressure and be better than any medicine over the long run? LAUGH! Laugh together; laugh with each other; laugh AT each other (in a lighthearted way); and be silly! Come on people, life just is not all that serious.

This morning my dear hubby was just waking up and came over by me to give me a good morning kiss. He tried to pick up his coffee cup, but being half asleep, it leapt from his hands and clattered all over my desk. After two seconds of “that horrified face” we realized it was empty and no harm was done… and we feel into each other and burst out laughing. That has lead to a whole day of joking, kidding around, and sneaking up on each other–not to mention unending comments about “dropsy”! ๐Ÿ˜›

My point is that in life we are often faced with a moment that is a turning point. Maybe our spouse did something surprising, or made a mistake, or outright did something wrong–and we have the chance to choose to be a critic and make them feel worse -OR- to laugh, make life fun and easy, don’t be so serious, have a sense of humor, and let them know that they’re safe. Sometimes it’s not a mistake at all…they meant to surprise us or they said something really funny. LAUGH!! Don’t lightly giggle and blush–roll on the floor and double over, laughing until your sides hurt and your mouth aches.

Likewise, don’t be a stick in the mud. Be funny. Play little practical jokes that might make your spouse laugh. Tease each other. Run around the house chasing each other and squeeling with laughter–and yes even if you’re in your fifties RUN (in that slower William Shatner jog-run). Tickle each other or find a new ticklish spot…that’s always a fun hunt! Tell jokes. Be light hearted

Especially at this time, when there seems to be so much pressure to get to the mall, get the perfect gift, get to all the school plays, get the presents in the mail, get the tree up, get the house decorated, get the menu planned, get the family invitations, get to the Nutcracker or Messiah, and all those other holiday stresses…stop. Laugh. Smear your lipstick? Laugh about it. Mess up your hair? Mess his or hers back! It is the best gift you can give yourself and your spouse–a fun marriage.

The MOST IMPORTANT Gift to Give Your Spouse

I’ve noticed a lot of blogs in the marriage-blogosphere right now along this line: “Christmas Gifts for Your Spouse”, “Get a Gift for Your Marriage”, “How to Strengthen Your Marriage During the Holidays”, “How to Get More Holiday Spirit in Your Marriage” and many of the blogs are neat little romantic things you can do together as a couple–things to bring back the magic and joy of the season. But one MAJOR gift is always missing, and without this gift, the romantic gestures will not be accepted by your spouse and they will not rekindle the love in your marriage.

What is this MOST IMPORTANT gift?
You need to stop being the one who extinguishes love (brings pain to their life) before your spouse will be open to receiving your romantic gestures and loving gifts.

Let me explain a little further. Relationships are a little like a fire. You see each other or meet each other and something catches our interest–sometimes we’ll even say that “sparks flew!” But the relationship is started with a spark. Then there are things done that kindle the fire: she dresses up, wears makeup and perfume, compliments him, and spends all kinds of time with him…and he buys her affectionate little things or flowers, tells her she’s pretty, writes her poems, and spends hours talking with her and getting to know her. Those actions are Love Kindlers and they make the fire grow hotter and hotter. But as time goes by, bills pile up and kids arrive and they both stop doing the kindlers and starts doing things that hurt each other. He works more hours than he spends with her, and when he is home, he doesn’t talk or act interested. If she tries to talk, he yells at her to be quiet. She nags him about the bills and money so he works longer–then she yells about never being home! He plays on the computer and watches football with his buddies, and since she’s not into that, she hangs with her girlfriends and spends money. He tells her she “has to” be submissive and forces her to move and leave her family. She stops respecting him and withdraws, and when he wants sex, she thinks “Are you KIDDING?” Those behaviors are the Love Extinguishers. They are like dumping a bucket of water on the fire of love.

Too often we try to do Love Kindlers while we are still doing Love Extinguishers–and then we feel all justified and say to ourselves, “Well I tried and they just dismissed all my attempts!” But as Christians we are called to love our spouse as Christ loved the Church. We have made a covenant with our spouse to put them and their needs ahead of our own and in all things consider them. So we have a responsibility to look at ourselves and be honest: “What Love Extinguishers am I doing that dump cold water on the love in my marriage?” Until you stop the Love Extinguishers, trying to do Love Kindlers will be like putting water in a bucket with holes…they will just flow out and the bucket stays empty.

So if you really want to give your marriage a gift this Christmas, the little romantic things are nice and will bring back some of the fun and joy–but not if you are still the one causing your spouse pain. The MOST IMPORTANT gift you can give this season is to look at yourself or ask your spouse to tell you, take responsibility for those Love Extinguishers, and then stop them…and make a plan to change!

December is a great month to rekindle love!

It’s the Christmas season, and at this time of year it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of events, parties, presents, cards, and family that sometimes we forget that December is a GREAT month to rekindle love with your spouse. When we’re under stress it can be really a blessing to have a spouse that is like a safe haven, and nothing can make home seem warm and wonderful like slowing down and simplifying the holidays. So take the time this month do so some of these simple things with your spouse (just the two of you!) and rekindle the smoldering ember of love between you.

1) Put up Christmas lights together.
2) Drink some hot cocoa or eggnog together.
3) Watch silly Holiday movies together (like “The Santa Clause” or “Polar Express“)–it will bring out the childhood wonder.
4) Read a Christmas book or story together–even “T’was the Night Before Christmas” or Luke 2 can be very special!
5) Start or keep a Christmas scrapbook with the things you do, photos, etc.
6) Bake some holiday treats together that you keep and eat! My dear hubby and I make pumpkin pie and eat it with plenty of whipped cream.
7) Make a modern version of “The 12 Days of Christmas” and give your spouse little gifts for 12 days.
8) Put together a Gingerbread House. You can buy a kit, use graham crackers, or go crazy and bake the gingerbread!
9) Pick one charitable thing and do it together: volunteer at the local nursing home or homeless shelter, buy an extra toy for a less fortunate child, or send cards to soldiers who are far from home. You’ll feel GREAT!
10) Make one ornament…don’t care how! ๐Ÿ˜€
11) Remember strings of popcorn on the tree? Yeah, do that again..or construction paper chain. You’ll feel young.
12) Have one night where you light up your whole bedroom with CANDLES! Those beautiful Christmas ones are the best!
13) Have a “bubble bath night”–each one of you prepare a bubble bath for the other!
14) Do something adventurous that you’ve never done (or haven’t done for a long time) like sledding or ice skating.
15) Listen to some classic Christmas carols–sing along if you want!
16) Go hear Handel‘s Messiah or go to the Nutcracker.
17) Remember mistletoe? Use it.
18) Go for a drive and see the Christmas lights on the houses.
19) Plan a naughty holiday celebration. ๐Ÿ˜‰
20) If your stuck for ideas go to Loving You at www.lovingyou.com because they have literally thousands of romantic ideas and suggestions. You can borrow liberally!

It only takes a little time every day that you give to your spouse during this Christmas season to rekindle the love.