Humor: The Language Of Intimacy

Humor: The Language of Intimacy

Private jokes. Code words. Shorthand ways of communicating. It's part of what makes a couple a couple. To hubby Dale and me, for instance, "not pregnant" means "don't make assumptions." Here's how that one came about . . . We were on the way to a matinee. I was driving my red-hot Mustang, chatting, and not paying attention when Wham! I rear-ended a van. We pulled into a parking lot. I went to the driver's side. Dale ran to the other side to make sure no one was hurt. He yanked the door open, then said to the large female passenger, "Oh, my God! You're REALLY pregnant!" She wasn't. My sister Jenny gave driving instructions to her husband Bill who was picking her up at a friend's house. She told him to turn RIGHT on Main, then right on Second. She added helpfully, "If, after you turn on Main, you pass Madison, you've gone too far." After Bill had driven many miles without seeing Madison, he called to learn that Jenny should have told him to turn LEFT on Main. Now, when one or the other of them is pushing his or her luck in some way, they cue the other with, "You've just passed Madison." So, here's what I've noticed. Private jokes and code words come from humor. Makes sense. Who the heck wants to be reminded of bad stuff? Maybe some people would be irritated by being given the wrong directions, but Jenny and Bill saw the humor and that's what counts. Finding the humor is the trick. E.g., we decided to get some exercise and walk the 3 mile round trip to the grocery story. Skies were gray but Dale gave me his I've-been-sailing-for-years-and-know-weather assurance that the rain was many hours away. I believed him. My mistake. We made it to the store seconds before the skies opened and torrential rains began. I was not a happy girl when we stopped at the dry cleaners to beg plastic bags to use as rain gear. Swathed in plastic, we headed out and, of course, were drenched in minutes. I was completely bent out of shape and about to say something snippy about Dale's alleged weather predicting capability when I noticed he had his face turned up and his arms spread wide so he could experience every rain drop. I had taken a "this sucks" POV. He had taken a "this is great" POV. Decision time: Stay mad or follow Dale's lead. Easy. Before long, we were dancing in the rain and now, when rain threatens, one or the other of us will often say, "Better stop at the dry cleaners." To anyone listening in, that makes no sense whatsoever. To us, it triggers the memory of the day we danced in the rain. And that memory always makes us want to hold hands. Bottom line: Lighten up. Have fun. See the humor. It goes a long way towards helping you create your own private jokes. And private jokes, code words, things only you understand underscore your "coupleness" like nothing else can. Humor: It's the language of intimacy.

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