What We Can Learn About Marriage from HGTV's Fixer Upper

It's not every day I witness someone eat a cockroach on a $50 dare. I'm guessing you could say the same. Yet that's exactly what Chip Gaines did in one of the very first episodes I ever watched of the popular HGTV show, Fixer Upper. To this day, my seven-year-old still talks about it. Normally she brings it up at the dinner table, when tales of cockroaches and the eating of them should be strictly avoided. But we're working on her timing.

I've been hooked on Fixer Upper ever since. Albeit my faithful viewing has nothing to do with cockroach appetizers. Not that I assume you'd be surprised by that.

So what keeps me watching?

While I love Joanna's designs and wish she could redecorate my house, that's not why I really watch the show. Instead, I tune in because I'm inspired by Chip and Joanna's interactions with each other. As the author of a book on teamwork in marriage, it's encouraging to see a married couple work so well together.

Maybe like Chip and Joanna, you and your spouse are a strong team too. Or, perhaps you struggle when it comes to unity. Whatever the case may be, Fixer Upper offers each of us a weekly reminder of three simple qualities all of our marriages need.

1. We Need to Laugh Together

I have yet to watch an episode of Fixer Upper where Chip and Joanna don't laugh together. Often, it's the result of Chip's goofier side. One that's sometimes evidenced in impromptu dance sessions, the adornment of odd thrift store finds, or jokingly made comments about how handsome or charming he thinks he is.

Proverbs 17:22 calls laughter "good medicine." An article I read several years ago from Psychology Today states that "laughter establishes – or restores – a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people, who literally take pleasure in the company of each other." The fact is, laughing together in marriage helps create and maintain a sense of unity. Fixer Upper models this for us consistently.

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