Cry Now, Laugh Later …posted on September 27th, 2010 / by Rebecca Gates / 57 Comments
Laughter is sometimes the best medicine. I LOVE to laugh, which is a very positive thing when life throws the unexpected and undesirable at me. It presents me with a choice to either cry and hold a grudge or to enjoy telling all my friends a new story about my crazy life while enjoying a good laugh at my own expense. I find marriage to be full of … how shall I say this … opportunities to choose laughter.
For me it seems obvious that God enjoys a good time too. It seems like He is always pairing opposites together, like my husband and me. Over the years we have begun to blend. There was a time when he was the biggest homebody, and I couldn’t sit still in our apartment unless it was full of people. I wanted to be where the party was. Talk about friction in marriage! I remember in our first year looking forward to some super fun event happening at our church one night. I was thinking that surely Trav couldn’t get out of this one, but we ended up in a HUGE “discussion” about how we needed to meet with some couple having marriage trouble to minister to them. As ironic as it was for us in that moment with me yelling (I discuss loudly when pushed too far) that we could meet with the couple any other night, he wouldn’t budge. In fact, my young and passionate husband told me I was allowing myself to be used by the devil to steal from this poor family. Then he proceeded to try to cast demons out of me. (I can’t even finish this without chuckling.) That didn’t work out too well for him. Later, I found out that he talked to his super godly Dad whom I ADORE about the whole incident and my father in law consoled him with, “Oh yeah, I had to do that with your Mom once.” Laugh out loud!!
Most of my stories take place in the first few years of marriage. It’s only fair that I tell on myself now. Trav and I were living on a Bible school campus, and I was driving my super cute, perfectly red convertible with rims and race wheels. I loved that car, but Trav has always been very particular about cars. He doesn’t like them tarnished in any way. He used to be a little obsessive about it, but I am supposed to be telling on myself in this story. Trav was sitting in the passenger’s seat as I pulled up to our curb and gently ran into it. He responded just as I expected him to, “Why did you DO that!?” And what came out of my mouth next probably shocked myself more than my new spouse. Not, my proudest moment, but I turned and glared at him and hissed back, “ I didn’t F#@%ing do it on purpose!!”
His jaw dropped, and he looked at me as if I had just tarnished his Christianity by subjecting him to such filth. And then he asked, “Are you even SAVED??!!” (Here I go chuckling again.)
Some of our problems were solved after our first child came, since I now felt like I couldn’t leave the house with our new temperamental baby. But other problems soon arose. Now I had more responsibility, and my most precious need was not being fulfilled … sleep. I had to do all this stuff to take care of Isaac, and now that I was a housewife, I was expected to cook and clean too. At my request, we had never had his/her jobs before when I was working, mostly because I didn’t want to be domestic. But now my husband was taking off his shoes and leaving them all over our apartment for me to fume about all day. So one night after he was asleep, and I was up with the baby, I decided that instead of putting them away again I would hide them ALL somewhere he would never find them. I would teach him a valuable lesson.
Sure enough, I heard him searching all of his favorite drop spots in the morning while I pretended not to notice. I can’t tell you how gratifying it was when he came to me and asked if I knew where they were. I smugly asked, “Where do they belong?”
“Where did you leave them?” I asked.
Still not catching on he says,” I don’t know.”
“Why aren’t they in the closet where they belong?” I asked again.
“Come on, I am late for work! What did you do with them?”
After I felt like he had suffered enough, I decided to get up and show him my hiding spot.
Did all that work? Nope. A few weeks later I was declaring a strike, and I refused to do anything until he promised to pick up after himself. Then God gave me a couple more boys to pick up after and showed me how easy I had it back then. But He also gave me many more opportunities to laugh. Which, by the way, is the reason I started writing. I needed to turn the rough days of spills and icky messes into medicine to strengthen my joy. I could still be angry and tell these stories with a completely different twist that would make me look like someone to feel sorry for instead of someone who has made precious memories with my family. The words “good” and “easy” don’t exist TOGETHER in marriage. There are opportunities to grow, to overcome, and to laugh. We all just have to decide how we will tell our story.
None of these stories were funny at the time. Sometimes I wondered how our marriage was ever going to survive. And I wondered if we would even be able to find happiness IN our marriage. Haven’t we all had thoughts like this at times? Sometimes just holding onto hope and the fear of the Lord is all that gets us through lying emotions and hurt feelings. But pretty soon, if we haven’t given up on hope, have held tight to our faith in God’s ability to make beauty for ashes, and have practiced forgiveness seventy times seven AND MORE, we get a chance to sit with our spouse, laugh, and say “Remember the time…?”
Maybe you’re in the middle of a memory in the making. Nothing about what you’re going through right now feels funny and you can’t imagine how things are going to get better. The Lord wants to encourage you today that He is faithful! HE wants to comfort you and restore your marriage. He has a plan and a purpose for you and your husband, and He just asks you to trust Him as you continue to lay down your life to demonstrate godly, unconditional love to your spouse. Allow God to write out your story. Don’t give up before you get to the good part. It is coming.
I would love to see some comments with YOUR story. If you can laugh and honor your spouse with it, then share it. Sometimes the best encouragement is just in knowing that we aren’t alone in our struggles and that people do actually survive and overcome.
I want to encourage anyone who is reading this and has suffered a divorce that God’s grace is so big! It’s big enough to cover anything we have been through. Please don’t read this and let the enemy shame you. I pray that His love wraps around you like a warm, fuzzy blanket today.