If you want to keep love alive, Abraham and Sarah show another trait worth imitating: laugh with each other. (I didn’t say “at”, incidentally.)
The story in Genesis 18 of Sarah listening in on the conversation her husband is having with three angelic visitors who announce that Sarah will give birth the following year is precious. Can you picture her there hiding behind the tent flaps starting to giggle?
Her laughter is a laughter of disbelief. She doesn’t believe this is going to happen. It’s so utterly preposterous. “After I am worn out…will I now have this pleasure?” she says. But God doesn’t condemn her for this unbelief. In fact, he actually plays with her. “Why did you laugh?” “I didn’t laugh,” she says. “You did too. I’m onto you. We’ll see you next spring.” And sure enough, it happens.
She gets pregnant, gives birth to a son, and names him Isaac which means, “he laughs.” And in chapter 21:6, you can hear Sarah’s delight as she says, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Sarah, for all that she has been through with this man of hers, and this peculiar God who shows up at the strangest times, never loses her sense of humor, and her appreciation for life’s ironies. I like that in her. And you see this quality in most every strong marriage.
I think it’s rip roaring hilarious how the sexes differ. A wife once said to her husband: “I look fat. Can you give me a compliment?” He replied, “You have perfect eyesight.”
OK, maybe you don’t want to go quite there, but you get the point.
“The joy of the Lord is our strength,” Scripture tells us. How miserable Abraham and Sarah would have been if they could not laugh. Their lives were truly hard, lonely and perplexing. But nearing a hundred years old, and they still had their sense of humor.
There are too many marriages where the flame of hilarity has long gone out. God intends marriage to be a seedbed of laughter. He wants children to grow up laughing. He wants them to know joy and innocence. Where in our crazy, frightening world will our kids find it if not in a home where Jesus Christ is welcomed?