This month, I celebrated my 15-year wedding anniversary, and I know it sounds cliché, but I cannot believe we’ve been married that many years. Perhaps it would be better to measure the years in all the different hairstyles I’ve had.
I believe the traditional gift for 15 years is crystal, but with two rowdy boys in our house that is probably not gonna happen. Instead, I was thinking today about the first piece of dating advice that I want to pass on to all three of our kids:
Find yourself a funny one.
The beauty of this advice is that funny is totally subjective. Some people love sarcastic or dark humor; some are drawn to silly or slapstick humor; others appreciate nothing more than a good-natured ribbing. When you find a person who makes you genuinely laugh, it makes almost every situation better. Being funny usually means that person is wicked smart too, finding ways to cleverly turn a phrase or bring up a joke from earlier at just the right moment. No matter what they look like, young or old, being funny is something that everybody can agree is attractive!
The first night I met my future husband, he teased me when I mentioned that I really wanted to go get a new ear piercing but that my mom had to accompany me since I was still under 18. He definitely had dreamy blue eyes, but the main reason I wanted to hang out with him again was just so I could get him back and turn the tables with some jabs of my own. He seemed like the kind of person who could turn a simple evening into a funny memory that you want to look back on (and all these years later, I still think it is true!).
Over the years, we have had many seasons of laughter and happiness together. Watching our babies grow up has been one of the most wondrous things to witness, and I have loved seeing how tender and affectionate he is with them. He is calm and patient, but one of the things I love most is that he is silly. Each of my kids has stories about ridiculous nicknames he has given them, tricks he has played on them, and times they have laughed until their sides hurt. Now that they are getting older, they are starting to mirror his sense of humor and give it right back to us (Lord help us!). I may not have teenagers who are dipping their toes into the dating pool just yet, but I can already hear myself expounding on the virtues of a humorous partner. Here are three simple reasons why someone funny to love is THE BEST:
Laughter makes love feel easy.
Yes, all good relationships take effort. Communication, forgiveness, and thoughtfulness are all ingredients to love that is going to last. But it shouldn’t be exhausting to love your person. Being with them should make you happy and feel like your emotional tank is being filled up rather than drained. When your partner is funny, it makes the days sweeter. It makes your heart lighter. It also makes you get more wrinkles around your eyes from all the smiling and laughing, so wear those like a prize—they have been well-earned by a select few! When our kids are at the beginning stages of their search for their future spouse, I want to be sure that they choose to spend their time with someone who brings happiness and humor to the table. (Silly accents and celebrity impressions are always welcome at our house—just putting that out there!)
Humor can be a life raft of kindness we extend to others.
When you find someone to love, it is also important to watch and see how they treat others in their orbit besides you. It is not acceptable to use a great sense of humor as a free pass to make other people feel smaller and less valued. Keep the one who uses laughter as an ice breaker, a bridge, an invitation to let our collective guards down and be ourselves. A good joke can even cut through tension or diffuse stress when we need it. Being able to laugh at ourselves and help others laugh too is a great quality to seek out in future spouses. An extra bonus is that you may just develop some incredible friendships with people that get your humor too—ones that can uplift and support your relationship along the way.
You can laugh through the tears.
While we have had seasons of happiness, we have also had to endure some seasons of grief. We have grown into different people than we were as newlyweds, but we’ve still found a way for each of us to keep loving the new people we’ve become. When we have found ourselves in those valley seasons, it refreshed my soul to spend time with him, apart from the day-to-day hustle, and to be reminded of how much fun we still have together. Even when life feels like it is sitting on top of your chest, a tiny laugh over a shared joke can feel like a breath of fresh air. I want my kids to understand that we don’t always get to choose the path that we walk together in marriage. You can’t have the rainbow if you won’t endure a little rain, but being able to laugh (sometimes in the midst of my tears) has made every kind of weather more bearable, at least for me. As the author Madeleine L’Engle said, “A good laugh heals a lot of hurts.”
If your spouse knows how to brighten your day with humor, remind them today how much you love that about them! Look back at some of the best moments where they knew just how to get a big laugh out of you. Treasure it while you can. And if your kids are old enough to be pursing someone to love, give them a little motherly advice. Tell them to find themselves a funny one!