Learn to laugh—They say laughter is the best medicine. And it is, to be sure, but it is also a good habit to form, ill or not. The first few years of my marriage (ok, so far all of my marriage) has been overshadowed by a clash between my husband’s light heartedness and my (much) more serious attitude toward life. My husband takes almost nothing seriously, and I overcompensate by taking everything seriously.This is one of those beautiful examples where we were brought together to bring balance to each other’s lives. There are definitely times when my husband should be more serious, but there are also times when I really need to lighten up. I am learning that there are many things that really aren’t that important, definitely not worth getting upset about (I love the meme going around that says “in a year you won’t even remember what you were upset about”). And learning to laugh in those moments, whether it’s a botched date because you got a flat tire, or a messed up dinner because you used vinegar instead of oil, or just a misunderstanding that really is kind of funny if you look at it from the outside, will not only keep damage from being done by hurt or harsh words but also bring you closer together with that memory of a good time when you laughed together (see #5).
Part of this is not taking offense, something I have been learning a lot about lately. Jesus said that offenses will come. What is important is how we respond to them, whether we will act in love or react with our emotions. By offense I am referring to hurt feelings, times when people upset us, not when someone actually sins against us. If there is an issue of sin it needs to be addressed promptly and Biblically. Hopefully, though, there are not many or even a few instances of your spouse sinning against you. However, there will probably be several instances of your spouse offending you. When we are offended we need to pause first, so that we do not react out of our emotions and rather give the Spirit of God a chance to lead us. We need to give that offense up to God and allow Him to deal with the person. We need to forgive and remember the very great “offense” that we have been forgiven by God. Compared to that, what our spouse has done will pale and we can see the situation correctly. We have the freedom to demand our rights and carry that offense, but that is immature, ungodly and detrimental to our relationships and our hearts. We need to follow God, put off our selfish desire to be injured, and rather move on in love. Realize that your spouse probably did not intend it the way that you took it, but even if they did, choose to let God handle it and let go. Don’t take it personally. It’s not a direct attack against you. In time you may even be able to laugh about it.
Choose laughter, not anger.