I have noticed a pattern. Whether my wife and I fight corresponds directly with my ability to keep humor in my countenance. If I can retain the ability to laugh (not in a mocking way, but in a “this-too-shall-pass-so-let’s-not-take-it-so-seriously” way) at the stressful circumstances that would otherwise collude to engender enmity between us, the stress eventually dissipates and needless days of upset, hurt feelings are avoided. I think this is because when I get too serious for humor, I easily become offended because those around me have stopped respecting me, which is a simple mask for pride on my part.
I was reminded of this principle when reading a delightful section from the book “Yearning for the Living God, Reflections on the Life of F. Enzio Busche” which my kind mother recently gave me. After sharing a fascinating story about how fear prevented the casting out of an evil spirit, and how love (which he received as a gift from God after asking for it in prayer) allowed it, he shared this insight regarding humor:
“I learned in that moment that when we are under the influence of the Spirit, we can find a sense of humor and the ability to smile and not take ourselves too seriously, and we can laugh at ourselves. Then it dawned on me that the adversary’s weapons are sarcasm, irony, and cynicism, but that the Lord’s power is a gentle sense of humor. I have learned more and more since then that the adversary cannot deal with a sense of humor. He does not have a sense of humor; he does not even know what that is. He is always dead serious, and when you have a sense of humor, you are in control of the adversary’s influence.” (see pages 268-272)