Discover more from Empty Mess
And Other Marriage Secrets
After you’ve been married for a certain number of years, inevitably someone asks, “What is your secret?” I don’t think there is a secret. Well, maybe separate bathrooms, but that’s no secret or even a big surprise. Let’s face it: relationships are hard. And that includes all kinds of relationships—husbands, friendships, co-workers, in-laws . . . the list goes on.
Maybe there’s no secret to a lasting marriage, but for me I will say that there are some requirements. One necessity is the ability to make each other laugh. You have to be willing to let your inner dork come out to play.
We laugh a lot. Sometimes at each other, sometimes together, but not always at the same thing. Neither one of us is very good at telling a joke. We both get to laughing so much during the telling that the punch line lands with a big THUD.
Physical humor may be the best kind. I’m not talking about YouTube videos of epic skateboarding or bicycling accidents. Those videos hit a little too close to home. We ended up racing to the emergency room a time or two when the kids were trying out new tricks. Even so, I can’t help laughing when someone trips, bumps into something, or walks out of the bathroom with toilet paper stuck on their shoe.
My husband loves to tell the story about the day we decided to have a family day at the beach so we could fly our new kites. Flying a kite at the beach should be simple enough; after all, the wind is always blowing. Even at that, I was having a little trouble, so I tossed my kite into the air and began running backwards, letting the string out as I watched the kite climb higher and higher. And then—wham!—I fell smack dab into a big hole. Who digs a grave-sized hole on the beach and just leaves it there?? I don’t know who did it, but I fell in, and my family laughed and laughed. It was funny!
Sometimes, even the way people walk is funny. When I was in middle school, my friend Mary Kate said she could always tell when I was walking down the hall because she could see my head bobbing up and down over the other kids in the crowd. Of course, I was mortified . . . remember, this was middle school . . . and I immediately began to slouch and shuffle my feet, trying to walk like everybody else. Over the years, I have lost the bounce in my step. My dad and brothers still have that signature bounce, so it must be genetic. And it still makes me smile.
My husband has a different kind of humor. The best word for it would be—you guessed it—juvenile. While I was bouncing down the hall in middle school, he was laughing at bathroom jokes and fart noises. And that hasn’t changed much. Remember those old prank calls: The bartender calling out “Telephone call for Mr. Butts! Is there a Seymore Butts here?” Recently, we re-watched an episode of Saturday Night Live (one of the old shows, back when the show was still funny) and laughed so hard we cried at a skit about a man named Schweddy, who sold balls.
It’s possible we all enjoy a little juvenile humor. The other day, I was at my monthly book club, a gathering that my husband calls an excuse to drink wine and eat $20 salads, which is all too true. We also laugh and enjoy each other’s company. Anyway, the waitress was going around the table taking the orders. It was then my turn, and without hesitation I shouted, “I’ll take the Dragon Balls.”