Page 22



lifestyle & arts

THe North shore weekend

12/21 – 12/22/13

love & marriage

■ by joanna brown I wrote in October about President Obama being caught unexpected with a live microphone at the United Nations General Assembly. In that moment, President Obama told the Special Rapporteur for the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly that he quit smoking “’cause I’m afraid of my wife.” I was disappointed in the President’s phrasing in that particular venue. “I could have laughed off your comment about fearing Mrs. Obama if it had been made in the private residence, on your beloved basketball court, or in some other social setting. I believe your wife might even tell people that she scared you into quitting with that devilish grin we’ve all seen her shine,” I wrote Oct. 12. “But that’s not how it happened.” Readers’ responses filled my inbox. Their feedback was unanimous: Lighten up. “I wondered if you could look up the word sarcasm,” one man wrote. “To me his comments were the essence of a slightly sarcastic joke.” Another woman wrote, “Seriously, he was just being real. There is zero question that President Obama respects his wife!”

Agreed a woman from Wilmette, “This context should be clear to anyone, worldwide, who has observed the family since they have been in the public eye. Despite your smiling visage I wonder if you have a sense of humor to have read this as anything but.” My friends agreed that humor is an indispensable part of any marriage. “Without humor you’re doomed,” Lynne told me. Michelle, who celebrated her first anniversary in October, offered some advice from her mom. “Laughter helps a marriage last forever; without laughter, a marriage feels like it’s lasting FOREVER!” Even Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” The science backs it up. Wayne State University psychology professor Glenn Weisfield has done extensive research on thousands of married couples in several countries, and he has found that humor serves various functions in marriage. How humorous your spouse is can be tied to kindness, understanding and dependability in a crisis. These are traits, Dr. Weisfield reports, sought in mates around the world. But laughter and humor also act as a form of flirtation

mick stevens/the new yorker collection/

Doing my best to lighten up before intimacy and helps to test your spouse’s mood before you announce that you’re skipping brunch with her family in favor of tailgating with your high school buddies before the next Bears game. And then there was Tina, who never fails to put things in perspective: “How important is it that everyone lighten up?” Need some help lightening up, as many readers believe that I do? Here are a few ideas from Prevention magazine: Flip through old photos, like your kids’ baby pictures or shots from a favorite vacation. Snack on walnuts, which are filled with omega-3 fats to raise your spirits. Inhale a calming scent, like orange or lavender to reduce anxiety. Let in more sunlight and sit for a few minutes near the window or take a walk around the block to absorb sun and raise your heart rate. I hope to see you on the sidewalk. Tell me what two-word advice you have for making a marriage better – something along the lines of “lighten up” – via email to ■



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The North Shore Weekend EAST, Issue 63  

The North Shore Weekend (East Zone) is published weekly and features the news and personalities of Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfiel...

The North Shore Weekend EAST, Issue 63  

The North Shore Weekend (East Zone) is published weekly and features the news and personalities of Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka, Northfiel...

Profile for jwcmedia