But does he make you laugh?
Husband as humor formation
We are formed by the people who surround us.
I find this to be an important but rarely asked question in the work of spouse-choosing: Do I want to be formed by this person? Do I want to become more like them, and do they want to become more like me?
This is not the popular but cheap idea that we can “change” something we dislike about our spouses or slowly eradicate some fundamental character flaw we perceive in them. (That is a sure-fire way to feel immediately and forever thereafter disappointed in your spouse.) Instead, I understand this concept of formation more as growth, ideally toward one another and a common aim.
As Kierkegaard (yes, again) observed in “The Aesthetic Validity of Marriage”:
“One of the seemingly most reputable answers as to the ‘why’ of marriage is that marriage is a school for character; one marries in order to elevate and improve one’s character.”
Our characters still need a lot of work, for sure, but it is pleasing to note how we have shaped each other in these past dozen years.
You’d hope that I could say something grand here about how Christlike we have become, but it’s truthfully more apparent in how funny we think we are. (Par ex., on the subject of the risen Lord, one of the quickest laughs Guion can get from me is when he uses the formulation “… she must have a heart so hidden in Christ that you would have to seek Him to find her.” Slays me. Every time.)
Alas, our mutual formation is most obvious in our collective sense of humor. More than anyone else, Guion knows the fastest shortcut to inciting a genuine outburst of laughter. Sometimes it’s as small as a well-timed word or gesture. We’ve developed, as all couples do, a vast language of references, meta-confluences, and asides that make every day brighter, every fight shorter, every moment sweeter.
My parents model this well, as theirs is a marriage firmly rooted in a mutual sense of humor. It seems more likely that Jak dragged polite Teresa down to his teenage-boy levels of hilarity, but they are both very funny people. The Farson household has always championed humor and sarcasm as chief virtues (sometimes at the expense of other virtues, such as hospitality, or gentleness), and I am certainly a product of that wild, amusing childhood environment. Our family mythology is centered around humor; even the darkest moments have been tied up with a thread of laughter.
Growing up this way drew me to Guion, whom I instantly found quite funny (as my mortifying diaries from that time period attest). Rightly or wrongly, I prize intellect and humor in the people I surround myself with, and I find that they are often cojoined qualities. The funniest people I know are also some of the sharpest. I seek them out; I gather them to me; I marry them.
Housekeeping Digest: Baking Soda Edition
Every other Housekeeping Digest could just be about baking soda, which can do almost everything. Here are my two favorite uses for it lately:
Scouring and brightening a sink (with lemon). Sprinkle baking soda generously in your sink. Take a half a lemon (which are almost always lying around on the counter after Guion has had his way with dinner). Use the lemon as a scouring pad and rub the baking soda into your sink. The acid in the lemon counteracts beautifully with the baking soda and removes stains while shining up the sink surface.
Removing tea (or coffee) stains from a mug. Add a 1/4 cup of baking soda to the mug. Add a few teaspoons of water to make a thick paste. Spread the paste on the walls of the mug, wherever the stains reside. Let it sit for a bit then scrub off with a sponge. Stains vanish!
Some Objectionable Opinions I Currently Hold
The culture of sports in this country is a cancer.
People have disordered relationships with their water bottles.
Applying the word “trauma” to any uncomfortable situation dilutes the clarity (and useful application) of the psychological concept.
Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane
Negroland, Margo Jefferson
Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel
Burger’s Daughter, Nadine Gordimer