Life works hard at stripping away our fairy tale illusions. Some gains and losses are just part of the cyclical nature of Life. And while some dreams turn into realities, others die—whether with a whimper of disappointment or a howl of life-changing anguish or even with indifference. Yet with the right person at our side, we have a helpmate who can help us to find gain or acceptance or even what’s next in our losses. We are not so alone in facing the inevitable difficulties that will come our way.
But if marriage were just a way to get through the tough times, it would not be enough. Though love itself is a verb—as in I choose to act because I love—without the spontaneous feelings of unexplained warmth for someone, love as a verb would be reduced to a cheerless act of obligation.
In the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Roger was the goofy guy married to the cartoon siren Jessica. When Jessica was asked why a babe such as she would love a guy like him, she answered, “He makes me laugh.” Jessica had her priorities right. My husband still makes me laugh—in good times, bad times, and often at very inappropriate times!
We didn’t honeymoon in a very typical location for 20-somethings, but spent our first days in foggy northern California. We’re not about flash, but about quiet times together—we had plenty of noisy fun with family and friends leading up to and during our ceremony. When I wasn’t feeling carsick from all the smurvy-curvy (a “Shermanism”) twists on Highway 1, we had great times discussing anything ranging from seriously DEEP THOUGHTS to how well cow tipping might work 200 feet above the crashing surf. (Disclaimer: no cows were hurt in this little discussion—this was merely a cartoonish imagining.)
In the same way, we opted for driving to Taos, New Mexico to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Though we bring our iPod these days, we rarely turn it on—after all, we still like to hear what the other person has to say. Road trips through wide open spaces with big skies fuel our always lively conversations, even if we didn’t talk about cow tipping this time and even if we couldn’t resolve the current debacle in Washington.
Of course, sunny, blue-skied Taos was the opposite of foggy Mendocino, CA, but the sense of quiet was similar. We watched the sun set from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, hiked along the rim of the gorge, drank red wine, stared at stars from a hot tub, visited the Taos Pueblo, enjoyed tasty meals, and walked through shops and studios.But we weren’t always quiet. No, that’s because we are still laughing together all these years later. I couldn’t have picked a better helpmate for getting through this crazy thing called Life, but I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t keep walking this journey side by side if he didn’t still make me laugh—in good times and bad times—and during those occasional inappropriate times.
May I never forget that love is a verb—and that laughing is one of the best ways to show that love to my love. Jessica Rabbit had it right—part of keeping that honeymoon spirit is remembering to laugh together, so here’s to laughing through the next twenty-five years with my grinning groom!