Dear Doug

By Doug Mayberry

November 20, 2008 4 min read


Dealing with love and laughter as time goes by

Doug Mayberry

Creators News Service

Q: My loving wife and I will soon celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. Our grandson and his fiancee, who are getting married prior to our celebration, have invited us to dinner. They are asking us to bring a list of what we believe has made our marriage successful. We have listed our reasons for loving each other: Our positive attitudes, good health and the fondness we share for our families. What would you add to the list?

A: When couples say, ?I do,? sometimes it takes a while to realize they have signed up for a lifetime job. How many of us after our wedding night wake up the next day thinking we have married a stranger? During our lifetimes we change. It is only natural then that the nature our relationship changes during the span of our marriages.

We change based on age, events, health, finances and other factors. How we choose to love, be friends and share our lives together evolves based on mutual happiness, attitude, lifestyle, needs and careers.

My list would include:

1. Each partner should vow to commit to making their spouse and immediate families the top priorities in their life.

2. Both should agree to make their best efforts to cope with unforeseen events, such as health problems, financial setbacks, career changes and the demands of raising children.

3. Both partners should realize the need to compromise about love, privacy, income, finances, laughter, perspective and religion.

4. Both man and woman should make every effort to be honest, trustworthy and monogamous, as well as to communicate regularly.

These suggestions, along with your list, should provide quite a discussion for the evening. If your grandson and fiancee make and commit to their own ground rules, they will have already come a long way toward matching your record!

Q: I have always been jealous of others who can make people laugh. My father had the gift to keep us amused. Somehow, he was always able to say just the right words to break the tension in our family. What are the secrets to making others laugh?

A. Experts continue to redefine laughter. People find humor in many things, such as age, sex, politics, religion and moral attitudes. What is true for almost everyone is that we enjoy being with people who make us laugh. Laughter is a sign of being recognized as a part of a group.

A person with a well-developed sense of humor sees life from a different point of view. Author Norman Cousins, in his books ?Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient? ($14, W.W. Norton and Co.) and ?Head First: The Biology of Hope and the Healing Power of the Human Spirit? ($16, Penguin), written while suffering from serious illness, credited the immediate relief of symptoms, improved health and recovery to watching funny television programs and movies while he was hospitalized over a lengthy time.

Experts agree with Cousins. They report that laughing generates a sense of well-being, reduces stress, steers you away from personal concerns, lowers your blood presses and re-energizes you.

It takes practice, timing and awareness to learn how to make others laugh. Remember the last time you laughed -- and why. Retell the story to yourself out loud. Is it still amusing? If so, try telling it to a friend.

Afterward, ask yourself, ?Did my friend laugh?? If not, practice again. You might need to interject a little hype and make yourself the butt of the joke to generate a laugh. But once you get your script right, you are on your way to fame!

To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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