Humorous Hubris & Other Marital Concerns

Husband and I have married for 13 years and for the most part, we tend to get along. We don’t argue a lot over every day issues like where to eat or what movie to rent, or how to parent our children. Of course we don’t agree all the time, but in the big scheme of things we work well together. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that we never really fought at all until our fifth year of marriage when we simultaneously fell on hard times financially and had a colicky baby.

No sleep, no money, and a baby that screams bloody murder for 5+ hours a day is a recipe for conflict. But we got through it. Together. It was one of those seasons in life when you understand that you’re being grown and stretched even while it’s happening. It sucked and it was difficult, but when we did fight, it was an unspoken agreement that we were fighting our way through and towards each other, not away. We were fraying at the edges and had little to give each other, but there was a sense that we were in it together, like we’d burrowed down in a foxhole together until the storm passed.

Regardless of all the storms we’ve survived in our thirteen years as Mr and Mrs, there is one problem I’m not sure we will ever get over. It is the one thing we will never agree on- which one of us is funnier. The underlying and perpetual theme of our entire union is that of Humorous Hubris. We are each fully convinced that we are the “the funny one” in the couple. We joke and tease each other endlessly about it, but deep down in our hearts we each know the truth. (That I’m the funny one.)

What does it matter, you say? What a silly thing to contend over? Why can’t two people both be equally funny? Well to that I say, yes, two people can be equally funny- as long they aren’t a couple. It just doesnt work that way. It goes against the laws of nature. Look it up. It’s science.

In a world chock full of gray area and unanswered questions and uncertainties, shouldn’t we at least be able to know our own respective roles within our couplings? Is that so much to ask? Who’s with me?

Husband could argue that after spending five years as a stay-at-home-mom I’ve all but taken myself out of the game. Its true that our kids are consistently underwhelmed by my running commentary throughout the day, but that’s only because they are 5 and 8 years old and their sense of humor isn’t fully developed yet. Obviously. Like I said before, it’s science.

I could argue that Husband too, has lost his edge over the years. As a financial planner he spends most of his days talking with retired folks about their money. If there is anything people take seriously in life, it’s their money.

As long as we are alive and kicking we’ll be relentless in our competition for the title of “The Funny One” in the marriage. Maybe that makes us egomaniacal weirdos, but I like to think it’s only because we value each other’s opinion above everyone else’s. The good news there, is that after 13 years of marriage, on some level we are still trying to impress each other. If I can elicit a real and true laugh out of him,  it’s the best feeling in the world.

We often referee our jokes with each other, demanding at least an occasional courtesy laugh. Like, “Hey, come on. That was a good one and you know it. At least chuckle.” But when it’s a spontaneous and generously hearty laugh…that’s pure gold. It lights a little spark between us, and everyone knows that sparks are a precious commodity.

Every anniversary, birthday, or holiday we have an unspoken competition for who can give the best greeting card. We don’t believe in greeting cards that have more than ten words on the inside because…well because they’re the worst. Sometimes we have to get creative and buy a card in spanish, or a “Congrats on Graduating!” card for a birthday, and then write “Have an awesome summer!” on the inside just to mix it up.

I just wish there were greeting cards that said, “I don’t need to be funnier than the rest of the world. I just need to be funnier than you, babe.”

Now that is romantic.

What about you guys? What is the thing that lights a spark between you and your person?

image* This is Day 3 of a 31 Day series on Keeping It Real. You can find all of the posts in this series here I hope you follow along and join the conversation! *

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