Here are 4 ways to introduce more laughter (and love) into your marriage.
From the very first date, Joseph made me laugh. He has a knack for telling funny stories, embellished by his great talent at making sound effects. And I appreciate his ability to make even the most daunting situation seem conquerable thanks to a funny face or hilarious comment. Now that we’ve been married for almost six months, I can honestly say that I’ve never laughed so much as I have since I’ve been married to him.
Essayist and biographer Agnes Repllier once wrote, “We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.” Humor is incredibly important in romantic relationships, and recently, psychological studies are proving how laughter may actually be the best medicine after all.
Psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, recently published his research on humor and relationships. “Playfulness between romantic partners is a crucial component in bonding and establishing relational security,” writes Dr. Hall. “Shared laughter, particularly, is an important indicator of romantic attraction between potential mates.”
“It’s good to have humor,” Dr. Hall wrote. “But it’s better to see it in your partner. And it’s best to share it.”
If you’re looking to strengthen your relationship with someone, ditch the pick-up lines and polish up your comeback lines. Here are 4 ways to introduce more laughter (and love!) into your relationship today…
Study their sense of humor
When I was getting to know Joseph, something that attracted me even more to him was that we found the same things funny. To bring more humor into your relationship, you have to know what makes your partner laugh. After all, everyone’s sense of humor is different. Maybe they love dry humor, or perhaps witty remarks crack them up.
Psychologist Rod Martin and his colleagues studied humor and developed the Humor Styles Questionnaire, which measures four types of humor styles: affiliative, self-enhancing, aggressive and self-defeating. These can involve anything from making jokes about what happens in your daily life to telling stories you know everyone will find funny.
Begin by paying attention to what makes your partner laugh. Discover whatever tickles their funny bone, and then utilize that knowledge to lighten up situations and make the day more enjoyable.
Laugh even in the stressful times
On vacation in Colorado last summer, Joseph and I ended up in a hospital room. We were waiting to see the results from tests that were being run on me after I’d fainted that morning. I wasn’t a happy camper — we were supposed to be climbing mountains and instead we were stuck inside thanks to my low blood sugar. But Joseph’s good sense of humor came to the rescue, making the day so much more bearable. We laughed about how the morning may not have looked like we’d expected, but we did go to Colorado to have an adventure.
Everyone has experienced stressful situations – we’ve all felt like we’re falling apart at one point or another. But even when you’ve had a bad day, or should I say especially when you’ve had a bad day, laughter can help diffuse a stressful situation. Feeling relieved from stress after a good laugh is no joke, either. A recent study shows that laughter increases your heart rate and blood pressure, releasing endorphins in your brain. Laughter also can improve your circulation and help muscle relaxation, both which can reduce the physical symptoms of stress.
“When laughter is elicited, pain thresholds are significantly increased, whereas when subjects watched something that does not naturally elicit laughter, pain thresholds do not change (and are often lower),” researcher Robin Dunbar, of the University of Oxford, wrote in his study that examined pain thresholds and good humor. “These results can best be explained by the action of endorphins released by laughter.” But best of all, a good sense of humor can make even the grimmest situations more bearable. So help each other find humor in things especially when it’s not easy.
Find humor in daily life
The times in our relationship that have found me double over in laughter aren’t necessarily jokes that Joseph has memorized. Instead, it’s his ability to find humor in our daily life. When we go to bed at night, it’s not rare to have one last laugh together before falling asleep thanks to his good-humored observation at something that happened during the day.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychologist and author of Emotional Fitness for Intimacy agrees. “Humor in a relationship is not just about saying funny things. It’s also about doing things together with a sense of humor. I know couples who crack each other up so much that it can take them hours to do the dishes. They are having that much fun together.” Laughing at inside jokes together or sharing something funny you saw on your drive to work are just some ways to incorporate humor into your everyday life.
Pair humor with respect
“Having an aggressive sense of humor is a bad sign for the relationship in general, but it is worse if the style of humor is used in the relationship,” writes Dr. Hall. “If you think that your partner tells mean-spirited jokes, then it’s likely you’ve seen that firsthand in your relationship.”
Laughing with someone is good and healthy, but laughing at them is something entirely different. Jokes that poke fun of your spouse or deal with sensitive issues like their health, family, or work shouldn’t be found in a healthy relationship. If you approach humor in your relationship with a healthy amount of respect for your partner and their sense of humor, good times and laughter are sure to come your way.
Special thanks to Thomas Pumford for the great photo, learn more about how to capture shots like this at his website at SmartPhotoCourses.com