HUMOR & HUMILITY: The foundation of a great marriage with Kirk & Lanie
One of the things that I've recognized in my own relationship is the dance we do between taking things seriously, and not taking ourselves too seriously. It's swallowing the pride and saying "I love you" or "I'm sorry" first, especially because both of those can leave us feeling extremely vulnerable.
Today, on The Love Series, Kirk and Lanie get to share some insight into their marriage. And, as a relationship I truly admire, I'm so honored they are on the blog today! An underlying relational aspect of their marriage is humor. Humor has been shown to bring couples closer together, conquer tough times, and communicate on a deeper level. And they also balance humor with humility, so today, we're gonna chat a bit about these things, but first...
THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND HUMOR
In multiple studies I've read, like the one by E. De Koning and R.L. Weiss (2002), states that humor literally has the power to ease tension, increase positivity. Oh, and partners who have a sense of humor are also considered more attractive and are more intimate more often, if ya know what I mean, wink, wink, nudge, nudge (Butzer & Kuiper, 2008). I mean, hello! Why are we all not telling more jokes as a conflict resolution tactic? (I'm not sure about you, but I'm on board!)
As far as intimate relationships go, humor has been rated one of the most important qualities for a mate. But, specifics matter. Ya see, there's all sorta of types of humor, and after reading dozens of studies (that just refer to it in different terms, but have the same meaning), I'm going to keep it simple. When referring to relational humor, I'll be referring to two kinds: positive and negative.
POSITIVE HUMOR has healthy effects on our relationships. Typically this looks like "friendly teasing" towards each other, one's self, or the relationship. Positive humor, again, increases closeness, de-escalates conflict, and at large increases marital satisfaction. And the more satisified a couple is in their marriage, the more likely they are to use positive humor (Butzer & Kuiper, 2008). How 'bout dem apples?
NEGATIVE HUMOR on the other hand is used more often when couples are less satisfied with each other, and is detrimental to the relationship. It can be used to express hostility or create distance. Sarcasm, put down's, blunders, and highlighting your partner's faults can be considered negative humor. Here's the other thing: couple's who aren't satisfied with each other don't actually realize whether or not they are engaging in a conflict situation or a pleasant situation at first, and still used negative humor! Ah!
On the contrary, healthy and happy couples can tell when things are escalating, can distinguish the difference between a happy scenario and a not-so-happy scenario, and redirect the tide.
Speaking of happy and healthy couples, let's talk to Kirk & Lanie. They Rock!
HOW THEY MET
Lanie and I knew each other..or at least I knew of her, in 8th grade, we didn’t go to the same middle school, but we had mutual friends. We started hanging around each other because of those friends our Junior year of high school. We both liked each other but didn’t say anything because one of Lanie’s good friends liked me (Kirk).. It wasn’t until she told my best friend she really liked me and I called her. We talked on the phone for a couple hours and I drove over to her house to give her a goodnight kiss. It still gives us butterflies after 20 years talking about it.
HUMOR AS THE FOUNDATION OF MARRIAGE
Humor is a big part of our family dynamic. It’s what helps us laugh through tough times and always bring us together again, to not take everything so seriously. Kirk is always acting crazy/ funny to keep all of us laughing, it helps to let our guard down and be able to talk about anything that may be bothering us. There is nothing off limits. Humor brings hope and joy to our family dynamic.
HOW THEY TACKLE CONFLICT
Yes, humor is a big part but one thing everyone needs to have is humility. Humility that keeps both in check of their own emotions. It gives the other opportunity to share when they felt hurt and the other can validate their feelings. Owning when we make mistakes and having a sincerity of heart to apologize, as well as changing our ways.
SIMPLE, YET MEANINGFUL WAY THEY SHOW LOVE
Sometimes it's as easy as just communicating. We usually talk every morning after Kirk starts his day at work. We also talk several times throughout the day, whether we're texting, snap chatting, or calling each other to encourage one another. Leaving a note, cleaning up the house, laundry, dinner, etc. are always encouraging. Trying to always have a weekly date night is important to us. It’s fun to get ready for each other, looking good, and going out to spend time each week. It really gives us something to look forward to.
HOW THEY FEEL MOST LOVED
I (Lanie ) feel loved by the little things, acts of service, but also holding hands, my leg or back being rubbed, while sitting next to each other in a conversation. A text of encouragement in the middle of the day. Kirk’s leadership, when he makes plans for us, spending time together.
I (Kirk) feel loved by the way my wife works part time to help out and still manages to find time to take care of all the kids needs, keep the house clean, and still finds time to love up on me when I get home work, she’s a superwoman! She’s always saying nice things about me and believes in me, but also is not afraid to tell me like it is! :)
THEIR EVERYDAY LOVE
We love praying and reading our bible together. Having coffee in the morning or wine in the evening on our front porch, and of course our date nights. Spending time together as a family with our kids will always be cherished!
HOW THEY CHOOSE EACH OTHER
We try and make an effort to share all the things we enjoy about each other. Showing gratitude keeps us moving forward, it reminds us why we continue to do what we do everyday. Denying yourself and putting them first. You may not always feel like doing something the other wants to do, but it encourages them. Truly being each other’s best friend.
THEIR COUPLE'S "BUCKET LIST"
Starting a family so young has occupied most of our time. Now that our kids are getting older, we are looking forward to traveling and taking vacations. Walking around butt booty naked is also a plus, not easy when the kids are home. LOL
(1 Corinthians 13: 4-8) This scripture that is read at most weddings is timeless. God is Love, and we love, because He first loved us. Our foundation in Christ has been the biggest part of who we are now and why we are still madly in love today. Love is a choice, and bettering ourselves everyday and fighting to live out this scripture for one another has been a an adventure. Stay open and transparent with each other, nothing hidden. Paul says in Romans 5: 1-5, “we have joy in our troubles, because we know that troubles produce character and character produces hope. An this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts.” What we really want to say is fight for love: the good, the bad and the ugly. When you do, it will build character and bring hope, and in the end love never fails.
NOW FOR THE GOOD STUFF...
You guys... never in my life have I felt so compelled to included bloopers, but I don't think I have a choice. These are amazing, and now I never wanna stop! If we're talking about positive humor and marriage satisfaction, look no further. These two have it! Just click on the images below to see the wild behind-the-scenes pictures of the "real" Kirk & Lanie! :)
I hoped their interview, story, and photos gave you as much inspiration as it gave me. That long lasting relationships do exists, real love does take work, and people are still in it for the long haul. If you loved it all, don't stop here... sign up for the newsletter to learn about more things like this, or leave a comment below!
1. Butzer, B., & Kuiper, N. A. (2008). Humor Use in Romantic Relationships: The Effects of Relationship Satisfaction and Pleasant Versus Conflict Situations. The Journal of Psychology,142(3), 245-260. doi:10.3200/jrlp.142.3.245-260
2. Koning, E. D., & Weiss, R. L. (2002). The Relational Humor Inventory: Functions of Humor in Close Relationships. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 30(1), 1-18. doi:10.1080/019261802753455615