My husband likes to be chased. He teases me, then runs away … and like a little boy, he looks back to make sure I’m running after him. If I am, he picks up his speed, and we squeal and laugh until I catch him, hurling both of us to the floor.
It used to surprise me when people put sense of humor so high on the list of what they wanted in a partner. Given how little I had nurtured my own sense of humor, I didn’t want to think it was terribly important.
Humor struck me as a tool people used to dodge the issue, an excuse not to analyze the facts and the feelings, make a distinction between them and have a serious conversation. And, as you might imagine, I was determined to have one.
But a sense of humor can also be a willingness to let go, a willingness to accept what is, without analyzing it. You can analyze somebody’s behavior to understand him, without making analysis a prerequisite to acceptance!
When my sweetie and I land in that pile on the floor, we eventually stop laughing and start talking or kissing, or we get up and go back to work. We are always better for it. And it doesn’t take long, doesn’t cost anything.
It feels good to be chased — sometimes I take a turn. It feels good to be silly and keep the child alive.
You don’t have to be skilled at telling jokes or have a quick wit to bring a sense of humor to your relationship. You can simply be willing to let the child loose.
This is what a standup comedian does. He lets the child say what would normally be inappropriate or embarrassing. He says what most of us are afraid to say out loud; then he stands there, vulnerable, until we recognize ourselves in his humor. He lets us laugh at him until we can laugh at ourselves.
Of course, comedians and people in general come with myriad senses of humor. Yours can be as sophisticated or as frivolous as you like. All you really have to do is laugh.
You don’t have to offer a clever reason to laugh. Laughter loosens you up enough to find the humor in what’s there, enough to run and play and want to be caught.
In “Anatomy of an Illness,” Norman Cousins tells us how he checked out of the hospital and opted for happier surroundings. He replaced his medication for a grave form of rheumatoid arthritis with vitamin C and a steady diet of laughter, spurred by old “Candid Camera” tapes and favorite comedies. He survived and reversed many of his symptoms, concluding that laughter helps renew the adrenal glands, which can become exhausted from fighting disease.
Laughter is good for the weary mind and spirit, and the body. And it is good for your relationship! Our adrenal glands are not the only things to be exhausted from fighting against what is unhealthy.
Sometimes we need a break. We need to let the child and our heart out to play. We need to know we have a friend and not just a partner.
You and your sweetheart can be playmates, the kind who tell each other exactly what they think, tackle each other for fun and always wake up friends.
Go ahead — laugh with your partner about something or nothing. Chase each other silly, fall down in a heap. And see if you don’t get up with renewed vigor and a more grateful perspective.