When I was twenty-two my husband was the funniest man on earth. My cheeks hurt every time I was with him. We would have dance parties on the living room floor, talk until 3am, and I’d giggle like he was Kevin Hart and I had a backstage pass.
I am not sure when exactly his jokes stopped being prime-time comedy, but at some point between dirty laundry and a pile of dishes, I stopped laughing.
My sister-in-law was in town visiting last weekend. Every joke my husband tossed she caught with enthusiasm. He looked alive. His eyes were wide and his mouth was in a permanent grin. For hours I watched him take out the old comedy routine I had put out of business. He was back on stage and people were buying tickets. As I took in the scene I realized 2 things:
1) My husband is actually funny, and
2) I am a total wench.
Why do we do this? I can’t be the only woman in the world to sprain my neck from how hard I roll my eyes in my husband’s direction. I am supposed to be his biggest fan, and here I had pulled the plug on his tour. Suddenly as I watched my husband come alive under the appreciation of another woman, (THANK YOU JESUS it was only his sister) I realized that this is probably how men end up cheating. People don’t set out to have affairs. These things probably happen gradually, and I would assume that the first step is as simple as someone making him feel funny.
Btw, if I told a joke and my husband didn’t laugh I would be pissed. Are you deaf dude? I am so funny. Laugh like you mean it. Look alive!
Studies show that men are more likely to view their wives and their relationships as perfect. Women on the other hand use many words to describe their partners, and “perfect” is never one of them. I think these trends are actually passed down to us from childhood. In a healthy family home, little boys grow up being told by dad that their mothers are beautiful, and graceful, and perfect. Little girls grow up watching mother roll her eyes every time dad hits the punchline. And when boys try to describe their mothers, they use similar language as their fathers used. If your husband has a healthy relationship with his mother, ask him to describe her personality. He will use language that makes you want to tear up. She is an angel on earth. She is strong and kind. She is perfect. Happy Mother’s Day.
When you ask little girls about dad, they say that he is great, and loving, but he always gets the wrong items at the grocery store. Mommy makes sure we know how many faults he has. Dad doesn’t wipe the counters down, he leaves the toilet seat up, he watches dumb television shows, the list goes on. Girls learn early that dads are lovable, but never perfect. I guarantee if you were to ask my children right now if mom is perfect, they would say yes without missing a beat. I don’t credit that to me. I credit that to the way they see their father treat me. I am the queen and he is the goon. Except he’s not, and I have to make sure they know that.
Today, I am going to remind myself to make my husband feel like a man. I am going to try and see him through my 22-year-old eyes. I am going to acknowledge everything he does right, rather than pinpoint the one thing he did wrong. And dangit, I am going to laugh at his jokes. I’m going to buy a front row ticket to the pun-show and let him pull out the old routine.
Your husband is funny. Don’t forget to notice.
Heather Thompson Day is a Lecturer, and author of 5 Christian books including Life After Eden, available now.
You can follow Heather on IG at HeatherThompsonDay
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