Happily Ever Laughter: Discovering the Lighter Side of Marriage

Overview

In Happily Ever Laughter you'll find real-life stories from humorists who know how to spot life's funny events, even when the joke falls squarely on them. This is a book about treating marriage in the best ways, which include generous doses of laughter.

God proved His sense of humor by inventing marriage. The problem is that we often fail to get the delightful joke that can produce joy for a lifetime-how two radically different, shockingly incompatible, deeply flawed, and ...

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Happily Ever Laughter: Discovering the Lighter Side of Marriage

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Overview

In Happily Ever Laughter you'll find real-life stories from humorists who know how to spot life's funny events, even when the joke falls squarely on them. This is a book about treating marriage in the best ways, which include generous doses of laughter.

God proved His sense of humor by inventing marriage. The problem is that we often fail to get the delightful joke that can produce joy for a lifetime-how two radically different, shockingly incompatible, deeply flawed, and incurably bent people can actually become one. Marriage is an expression of the humorous side of God's grace. We dare you not to laugh when you see yourself (and your marriage) in these pages.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589975804
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/24/2010
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Read an Excerpt

happily ever laughter

discovering the lighter side of marriage

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 The Livingstone Corporation
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-58997-580-4


Chapter One

What I Want in a Man As the Years Go By Ken Davis

Sometimes it's good to have realistic expectations. For example, here's something my wife, Diane, wrote ...

Here's the list of things I wanted in a man before I got married:

Handsome, charming, stylish dresser, thoughtful, in great physical condition, and romantic

Here's how I revised the list at age thirty:

Nice looking; opens car doors; is a good listener; works out some and is in decent shape; remembers anniversaries, birthdays, and other important events in our lives; and is romantic at least once a week

Here's what I wanted in a man at forty-one:

Not too ugly, waits until I'm in the car before driving away, acts as if he's listening, holds stomach in, remembers to put the toilet seat down, and often shaves on the weekends

And the revised list at fifty-two:

Usually combs hair that's left, asks if I'd like a ride, stays awake when I'm talking, wears a shirt that covers his stomach, rarely forgets my name, and sometimes shaves on the weekends

The new list for sixty-three:

Keeps nose- and ear-hair trimmed, can still drive, doesn't make bodily noises or scratch in public, usually wears fresh underwear and matching socks, remembers why he went into a room, and usually shaves

Here's what I will want at seventy-four:

Looks don't scare small children, can still find the bathroom, usually wears some clothes, likes soft foods, knows where he left his teeth, and can remember that it is the weekend

Finally, what I will want at age eighty-five:

Is breathing and can hit the toilet

The older you are, the easier to meet the expectations!

LAUGH LESSON

Aging may not seem like a laughing matter, but you'll be much better off if you do learn to laugh with the changes that age brings. Then you're not so apt to be disappointed with each other. And besides, nose hair really is kind of funny ...

Chapter Two

Bearer of the Ring

Bob Stromberg

The marriage begins with the wedding, and young Bob Stromberg gives us the inside view from one participant.

The Event: My sister Sally and I at our Aunt Audrey's wedding

The Date: August 22, 1959

The Photographer: My father

I am seven years old and I am sharp! Sharp is a word I've just learned in this context and never before used to describe myself. A couple of hours ago, before the wedding, my mother pinned a flower on my jacket. Then licking her fingers and flattening down my eyebrows, she said, "Young man, you are dapper dandy." I understand why she said it. After all, she's never seen me in a tuxedo before-what my new uncle Ted calls a "penguin suit." She was surprised and quite impressed with my appearance, so she called me "dapper dandy." It means that I am very handsome, and indeed I am-particularly today as I am wearing white dress shoes ... unscuffed!

Though I appreciate my mother's comment, my enthusiasm is tempered by the fact that she also made a terrible fuss over how beautiful my sister Sally looks in her flower-girl dress. Please don't misunderstand me. I, too, am impressed with the dress. It's pretty big-much like Cinderella's gown at the ball-and the outfit includes a stylish little crown with a table doily. It is an impressive ensemble, though I must say I think Sally herself looks much like she always does. But, hey ... if Mom thinks that she is beautiful ... well ... fine.

I am not beautiful, though, and I'm not dapper dandy either. I am sharp. I know this because before the wedding my new uncle Ted (whose outfit is just like mine only much bigger) looked at me and said, "Whoa, Bobby." He grabbed me by the shoulders and squared me off for a good look. "I gotta say it. You, my man, are sharp."

What was I supposed to say? "Oh no, I'm not sharp. I'm dapper dandy." No ... I'm happy to be sharp and proud to be a ring bearer.

I remember well when Aunt Audrey and her boyfriend, Ted, asked Sally and me to be in their wedding party. By the way, don't be fooled by the term wedding party. It might sound fun, but that's just so the two people getting married can get friends to come. It's no party at all. For one thing, it doesn't just take one night. It takes practically a whole weekend. When you join a wedding party, you are committing yourself to an evening without friends, sitting in a church, and rehearsing for the actual party that happens the next day. And even that is more like going to church than a party. The whole deal is pretty serious-not a lot of fun.

Audrey is our favorite aunt. She is quite beautiful. She has eyeglasses with real gems glued in the corners. She used to be a majorette in high school and wore white cowboy boots with a short skirt while twirling a baton. I don't think I could ever do that. But I could show you the boots and baton, because I know right where they are in her old bedroom closet at my grandparents' house. I really liked her boyfriend, Ted, a lot too. He has curly hair and is what is called "a giant." I knew he'd make a great uncle.

Audrey asked if Sally would be her flower girl and then went on to explain what the job entails. Sally went crazy with excitement, probably because all she had to do is walk in with a bunch of flowers, stand there for three or four hours, and then walk back out again. As long as she didn't have to pee or pass out, she could hardly fail.

Then Ted asked me if I would be his ring bearer. My job description was a bit more ominous. I would be entrusted with the actual wedding ring in the "best of view" at the back of the church. I would need to carry the ring clear to the pulpit in the front of the church-a distance of nearly four hundred yards. To make matters worse, I would not be permitted to touch the ring with my hands but would balance it upon a tiny satin pillow. I am only seven. My knowledge of fabrics is limited, but even I know that satin is slippery.

I was sitting on the couch in our living room. Ted was in a chair on the other side of the coffee table, waiting for my answer. "I'm wondering about the material on that pillow," I said. "Why does it have to be satin?"

"I'm not really sure," he said. "It's just always satin."

"Yeah, I understand that," I said, "but I was wondering if we could maybe use a scratchy wool or burlap. Even corduroy would work fine."

"Nope," he said laughing, "I'm pretty sure Audrey wants the pillow to be satin."

"Rubber might be nice," I countered.

"No," he said, "I think we'll stick with satin. The pillow's already been ordered."

"How big is the ring?" I asked.

From the other side of the room, Audrey held up her hand, flashing a band with a diamond setting. "Just a little bigger than this one," she said.

I didn't want to say it, but I was concerned about the heat registers in the floor just inside the "best of view." If I tripped, that ring could slide off that slippery satin and fall down into a register. If that happened, it would be lost forever, like one of my mother's earrings and several of my peppermint candies.

"How much did the ring cost?" I asked nervously.

The adults laughed, and my mother said, "Bobby, it's not polite to ask how much things cost."

"How much do you think it cost?" Ted said.

"Well, I don't know. Maybe a million dollars?" I said. More laughter from the adults.

My father spoke up. "I'll tell you something. That ring is worth far more than a million. That ring is gonna cost Ted every bit of freedom he ever had."

More laughter.

I never did find out for sure how much it cost, but I'm guessing it was about a million and one hundred dollars.

Ted was waiting for an answer.

"Yes," I said finally. "I will do it. I will bear your ring." I felt the weight of great responsibility settle on my young, narrow shoulders.

Now I'm standing next to Sally on the steps of the church after the wedding. She is still holding her flowers. She did fine considering the little that was required. I, on the other hand, performed excellently.

Before we walk out the door, a lady says to me, "You did a great job, young man." Then reaching for a basket on the back pew, she says, "Oh, wait ... I have something just for you." I am excited, as I'd not been expecting payment for my services. The lady turns toward me and empties a napkin full of rice into my hands. I have no idea why.

"Gee, thanks," I say. "You shouldn't have."

Sally looks a bit miffed.

We walk out the door. Our dad, the wedding photographer, is standing on the sidewalk with his camera. "Wait you two. Hold it right there!" he shouts. So we do, and a bunch of other people start snapping pictures too. I'm feeling a bit awkward, trying hard not to spill any rice. It's okay, though. I can handle it because I am sharp.

* * *

More than fourteen years later I stood at the front of another church and, once again, I was sharp-this time in a polyester brown tuxedo with a yellow ruffled shirt. One could hardly look sharper in 1974. I stood beside the love of my life-a beautiful girl, only eighteen years old. She wore a wedding dress. Her little brother walked down the aisle with a tiny satin pillow holding our gold rings. He was far less disciplined than I'd been years before. Had the rings not been attached, he surely would have lost them. A pastor asked me a series of questions, each one requiring a response. At the end I answered, "Yes. I will." What I meant was "Yes. I will bear the ring."

It was a far riskier pledge this time around. This ring I would bear whether sick or healthy, rich or poor-in both good times and bad. I know some who are unable to make such a commitment. They are afraid to even try. I know others who tried, some for a long while, and then gave up. I don't judge them. It is serious business bearing this ring.

I have done so for nearly four decades and will until the day I die. Years ago I worried that the ring would slip off my finger. There is no chance of that now. Whenever I remove it (which is seldom), I'm surprised to see how it has left a permanent mark in my skin-how my finger has changed its very shape to hold the ring safely. And here is the mysterious thing: Every year the ring takes on more weight, and every year it is lighter and more joyous to bear.

LAUGH LESSON

That spontaneous wedding joy needs to be preserved and nourished through the years. Your perspective on the wedding ceremony will certainly change over time. When the ring bearer becomes a ring wearer, the added significance of the role greatly increases the depth and length of responsibility-but also the joy. Savor the memories.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from happily ever laughter Copyright © 2010 by The Livingstone Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Welcome to Happily Ever Laughter Ken Davis 1

1 What I Want in a Man as the Years Go By Ken Davis 5

2 Bearer of the Ring Bob Stromberg 7

3 Here Comes the Bride Kendra Smiley 13

4 Brush with Reality Dave Veerman 17

5 Marriage Grooming John Branyan 21

6 Can You Hear Me Now? Len Woods 27

7 I'm Not OK, and Neither Is My Wife Ken Davis 31

8 The Man Who Will Not Let.Me Sleep Amanda Huddle 37

9 Let it Snow Len Woods 41

10 The Ninety-Five Irritations Phil Callaway 45

11 Inventing Blackened Chicken Tom Burggraf 49

12 Marriage License John Branyan 53

13 Finding Our Way Chonda Pierce 59

14 Technical Difficulties Chonda Pierce 63

15 Garage Sale Daren Streblow 69

16 Wait Until Next Year! Dave Veerman 73

17 I Married Above Myself David Dean 77

18 The Glamorous Life of a Klutz Amanda Huddle 83

19 Before and After the Marriage Vows Dave Veerman 87

20 If It Isn't Broken, Wait a Few Minutes Neil Wilson 91

21 Jesus Laughed Jeff Allen 97

22 Camp Trust-a-Lot Rhonda Rhea 101

23 Of Skunks and Men John Pickerl 105

24 The Great Experiment Rhonda Rhea 111

25 Extended Family John Branyan 117

26 We Came, We Bought, We Suffered John Pickerl 121

27 Ideals, Expectations, and Reality Jim Smith 127

28 The Twenty-One Year Mile Marker John Branyan 133

29 Why Can't She Just Lie to Me? Charles Marshall 141

30 The Perfect Marriage Ken Davis 145

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Laugh During Marriage, Never Cry!

    Happily Ever Laughter captures real-life stories from couples-stories chosen for their humor, variety of settings, and diversity of years married. As readers laugh along with each couple described, they will begin to understand that being able to see the humor in life helps greatly in keeping one's marriage happy and healthy through the years. Includes stories from Chonda Pierce, Bob Stromberg, Daren Streblow, Kendra Smiley, Jeff Allen, John Branyan, Rhonda Rhea, David Dean, Dave Veerman, and Neil Wilson.

    This was a short fun read that made me laugh so hard at times, I saw myself and my Husband in many of these stories. Many times you have to laugh at your spouse to lighten the mood! It's fun to read about other couples and how they deal with their situations, I was able to grab an idea or 2 here and there. I highly recommend reading this book this summer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What I Want In A Man As The Years Go By By Ken Davis

    Sometimes it's good to have realistic expectations. For example, here's something my wife, Diane, wrote:

    Here's the list of things I wanted in a man before I got married:
    Handsome, charming, stylish dresser, thoughtful, in great physical condition, and romantic

    Here's how I revised the list at age thirty:
    Nice looking; opens car doors; is a good listener; works out some and is in decent shape; remembers anniversaries, birthdays, and other important events in our lives; and is romantic at least once a week

    Here's is what I wanted in a man at forty-one:
    Not too ugly; waits until I'm in the are before driving away, acts as if he's listening, holds stomach in, remembers to put the toilet seat down, and often shaves on the weekends.

    And the revised list at fifty-two:
    Usually combs hair that's left, asks if I'd like a ride, stays awake when I am talking, wears a shirt that covers his stomach, rarely forgets my name, and sometimes shaves on the weekends.

    The new list for sixty-three:
    Keeps nose and ear hair trimmed, can still drive, doesn't make bodily noises or scratch in public, usually wears fresh underwear and matching socks, remembers why he went into a room, and usually shaves.

    Here's what I will want at seventy-four:
    Looks don't scare small children, can still find the bathroom, usually wears some clothes, likes soft foods, knows where he left his teeth, and can remember that this is the weekend.

    Finally, what I want at age eighty-five:
    Is breathing and can hit the toilet.

    The older you are, the easier to meet the expectations!...(Excerpt from pg 5-6)

    This is just one classic story shared by couples who have found how humor can make marriages not only better but stronger. In the book, Happily Ever Laughter, Discovering the Lighter Side of Marriage, Ken Davis through Focus on the Family, and more, share those wonderful and lighter sides to making marriages work.

    I found this book funny and at times, tapping my husband on the shoulder and saying, "Oh Steve, you just got to hear this one, it's so funny." and then sharing story after story with him. Even my teenager picked it up and was completely laughing out loud with some of the humor between men and women. Finally a book to make you both smile and one I have to highly recommend.

    I received this book compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my review and trust me, this is one you will want to have. We all need a laugh!

    For more information on this book, the authors and even have to purchase your own copy, click on the link below:

    http://mediacenter.tyndale.com/1_products/details.asp?isbn=978-1-58997-580-4

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2010

    Meh...

    Ken Davis is a funny guy - the first time you hear him speak. No, that's not fair. I am sure that he is a very funny person all the time; but his public speaking tends to be a repackaging of the same jokes he's been telling for the last twenty years.

    I did not know Ken was the editor and one of the contributors of Happily Ever Laughter. But once opening the book and encountering the same joke he told in a video (on VHS) I have from 1990, I knew what to expect.

    Don't get me wrong. The advice that is in this book is good advice. Unfortunately, most of the humor is rather dry and not particularly interesting. I found myself skipping over the cutesy honeymoon stories to get to the 'application' part I knew was coming. And before too long, I wasn't even reading those.

    Happily Ever Laughter is cute. It would make a good gift, I suppose. But in terms of actual content and/or comedy, it falls short of anything greater than mediocrity.

    I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    This was a fun, easy read. Even though I'm not married, I enjoyed the stories. I think the diverse experiences help shed light on the realities of marriage and show that there are highs and lows - it's all a matter of how you handle them.

    "It takes a lifetime to even learn how to love another person. To figure out what brings him or her deep, sincere joy." This book is compiled of true stories from married couples, relaying some moments in their marriages when laughter was key to survival. The stories range from newlywed moments to moments with children, home renovations gone bad, getting lost and many other everyday moments that comprise a marriage. One of my favorite stories is about John Pickerl and his wife Cindy. One Sunday morning before church, they uncover that a skunk has been living beneath their porch. They uncover this when the skunk's spray comes through the furnace and saturates everything in their home - including their clothes. Here's the conversation on the way to church:

    Cindy (sniffing her clothes): Do we smell? I think we smell.
    John (sniffing his clothes): Nah. It's just our singed nose hairs.
    Cindy: No, honey. I think that stuff got on us.
    Five-year-old son: I forgot my triceratops.
    Other five-year-old son: Can I have a cookie?
    John: You'll have toys and treats in Sunday school. Anyway, honey, that stuff couldn't have gotten on us, could it?
    Cindy: I think it did.
    Five-year-old son: I need my triceratops!
    Other five-year-old son: I don't want treats in Sunday school!
    John (pulling into church parking lot): Don't whine! You really think so, honey?
    Five-year-old son: I need my triceratops! Waaaahhh!
    Other five-year-old son: I don't want treats in Sunday school! Waaahhh!
    John (parking the car): Stop it right now, you two! NOW!
    Two five-year-old sons (being half-dragged into church, hands protecting their bottoms): Waaahhh!
    John and Cindy (trying unsuccessfully to swat their bottoms): I said STOP IT! We're at church!
    Every other parent within earshot (thinking): I'm glad my children don't behave like that!

    And as the story continued, yes, they did smell. As they walked through the church (late due to investigating the source of the smell), they couldn't ignore the whispers and gasps from the congregation. The point (to this story and most of the others) is to be able to be able to laugh and realize there will be good days and bad days. "Every day is a new teachable moment. If we are really learning anything, we're learning to adapt better to what won't change or to what changes at a moment's notice!"

    This was a fun, easy read. Even though I'm not married, I enjoyed the stories. I think the diverse experiences help shed light on the realities of marriage and show that there are highs and lows - it's all a matter of how you handle them.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    Wonderful book on remembering to laugh in your marriage.

    I received a copy of Happily Ever Laughter: Discovering the lighter side of marriage by Ken Davis from Tyndale House Publishers as a complimentary copy to review. The opinions listed below are mine and are honest.

    Are you looking for a wonderful book to bring some laughter back into your marriage? Have you forgotten how to laugh about certain situations you and your spouse encounter? This book is a wonderful read to encourage you and to bring a smile to your face. The book features stories from Ken Davis, Chonda Pierce, Kendra Smiley, and many others. I just love books that tell true life stories from people who have gone through things and can share them with others. Being married almost 7 years, I enjoyed reading some of the stories from people who have been married longer. Many of them tell of their wedding day and thinking back to the beginning of their marriage which I really enjoyed. Happily Ever Laughter truly is a great and wonderful book to encourage us all in the walk of marriage. It reminded me to find the humorous side of every situation and just to laugh with your spouse. I would recommend this book to anyone who is about to get married, newlyweds, or to those married 50 or more years. It is a great book for all seasons of life and I know I will read it again and again just to remind me to LAUGH!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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