When you’re married, life can be beautiful. You have a partner to share your life with, someone who’s always in your corner. However, married life can also bring with it a whole host of stresses. Even for two people who love one another, living together can bring out new and sometimes unexpected changes in a relationship. That cute, little quirk can quickly become an aggravating habit. As much as we love our children, childrearing and parenting add a lot of stress to any relationship. Add in the challenges of sharing finances, negotiating different sexual needs, and dividing up household responsibilities. It’s easy to see how married life can go from a beautiful fairy tale to an oppressive nightmare in the blink of an eye. Are there any tools that can help us negotiate the stresses of life and keep our marital relationship happy and thriving? You might be surprised that laughter is the best medicine in a married relationship. Today we’re going to show you how to laugh your way to a better marriage.
Why Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage?
It might not sound like serious advice, but it is. Knowing how to laugh your way to a better marriage can lead to a more harmonious married life, a stronger relationship, and more zest for life. Scientists in Korea found that laughter decreased serum (blood) levels of chemicals like cortisol, epinephrine, and growth hormone, which indicate a reversal of the body’s stress response. Laughter also affects neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which help us regulate our moods and emotions. In other words, laughter reduces stress and increases happy chemicals in our brains. Laughing makes you feel happier. The researchers found such a strong effect that they recommend laughter therapy for people with depression. Still not convinced? Laughter is associated with positive moods, positive thoughts, increased life satisfaction, and reduced negative moods.
There are also physical benefits to laughter. We all know that married life can pull us away from the gym, so it’s reassuring to know that laughing together is a mild form of exercise! You can laugh your way to a better marriage and better health. A deep belly laugh or an uncontrollable fit of the giggles uses our core muscles. It also helps us exercise and stretches our respiratory and chest wall muscles. Fifteen minutes of laughing burns about forty calories; while laughing alone isn’t effective exercise, laughing during exercise can improve your athletic performance. And speaking of being athletic, laughter causes the brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that have a pain-killing and mood-elevating effect on us. Laughing can also help enhance the efficacy of our immune system and may even improve our life span. If you still need reasons to laugh, remember that laughing reduces anger and conflict, leading to a more tranquil married life. The benefits to your mental and physical health make laughing worth it — but how does it work for couples? You might be able to laugh yourself happy, but can you laugh your way to a better marriage?
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage Together
Learning to laugh your way to a better marriage benefits you as a couple. Couples who laugh together often feel a stronger emotional bond than stern and humorless couples. Laughing together releases oxytocin, which is sometimes known as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone.” It is the same hormone that is released when mothers nurse babies. Oxytocin promotes feelings of interpersonal connection and bonding. When you and your partner find ways to laugh together, your love bond will grow and flourish.
Not only will you find yourselves bonding over laughter, but the art of humor can also be a powerful tool for overcoming disagreement. Married life can be full of silly conflicts: whose turn is it to do the dishes? Who forgot to make the bed or turn on the Roomba? Using humor can help highlight the absurd nature of some common domestic conflicts by pointing out how silly they are. Does it matter which way the forks face in the dishwasher or what scent the toilet cleaner is? No, and laughing about silly disagreements is one of the best ways to resolve them and laugh your way to a better marriage.
You don’t have to stop at disagreements. When you’re learning to laugh your way to a better marriage, you’ll find the quirks, weaknesses, and pet peeves of your partner to be tempting joke fodder. Laughing at ourselves and our little oddities helps us develop a deeper connection with our partners and avoid the traps of bitterness and resentment that some married couples fall into. However, it’s essential to be sure that your humor stays humorous and doesn’t become hurtful. Jokes about your partner’s appearance, weight, family, or other sensitive issues can be insulting, rude, and otherwise hurtful. To laugh your way to a better marriage, you’ll need to keep your jokes fun, lighthearted, and silly. The idea is to be laughing with your partner, not laughing at your partner; too much laughing at them, and you might find yourself laughing your way to divorce court.
Learn How Your Partner Laughs
When you decide to laugh your way to a better marriage, you’ll need to learn how your partner laughs. We all have distinctively different senses of humor. Some people enjoy dry humor. Others prefer raunchy jokes; some people like puns, stupid jokes, or dad jokes. Some people even enjoy a dark sense of humor. Learn what tickles your partner’s funny bone, and find ways to share their humor with them. Chances are their sense of humor is at least part of why you married them in the first place, so you probably already have a good idea about what makes them laugh. Dating website eHarmony has done tons of research on what makes relationships tick, including research on humor. They divide humor into six basic categories. These are bodily humor, dark humor, physical humor, self-deprecating humor, surreal humor, and wordplay. You can pick your spouse’s sense of humor out from those categories and then find ways to engage with that particular style. If your partner loves wordplay, trying to master the art of the pun will cause them no end of delight — even if they just end up riffing off your attempted puns. If he loves a good practical joke, take the time to play an extended prank on him; he’ll appreciate the effort. Taking the time to understand what makes your lover chuckle will help you laugh your way to a better marriage, get to know them better, and help the two of you bond.
How Men and Women Use Humor
Men and women both find humor a desirable trait in a partner: if someone makes you laugh, you’ll find yourself more attracted to them. There are two main reasons for this. First, humor is often seen as a proxy for other attractive attributes. Funny people are usually smart and often have other desirable traits such as interpersonal warmth and creativity. Second, laughing releases that laundry list of hormones, such as oxytocin, that help us feel connected to another person. Both sexes experience these effects. But to effectively laugh your way to a better marriage, you’ll need to understand how the sexes use laughter in different ways.
Men are often stereotyped as tough and out of touch with non-masculine emotions such as sadness or joy. Young boys are told to “man up” when they cry or feel sad. Society often reinforces the notion that the only emotions appropriate for men are ones like anger or detachment. In married life, men are seen as protectors, providers, and disciplinarians, not usually as bastions of emotional wellness. There are few role models to show boys how to emote properly. This affects how men use humor. Since they lack practical tools to cope with anxiety, men often use humor. Your partner’s jokes can sometimes indicate or allude to anxieties that he is facing. While you try to laugh your way to a better marriage, men often try to laugh their way out of insecurity. Jokes might be his way of coping with a stressful or unpleasant situation.
One of the best ways to use humor with men is to help calm them down if they begin getting agitated. Anyone who has been married to a man knows that they can be a little grumpy from time to time. Amid a stressful situation, finding a way to use humor to calm things down and bring a sense of perspective can be a very effective way to keep your partner grounded. Some research has shown that approaching problems with a sense of humor can lead to lower divorce rates. You can laugh your way to a better marriage — and a longer one, too.
American culture has a stereotype that humor doesn’t work as well for women as it does for men. However, scientific research shows that women can be just as funny as men. You can use your sense of humor to laugh your way to a better marriage. The key difference between men and women in this regard is in the style of humor. Women tend to use narrative humor, such as telling a funny story. While this can often be hilarious, some men have short attention spans and find things like slapstick humor or one-liners funnier than narrative humor. This information can be useful when you’re trying to make your man laugh!
Many women find great success with self-deprecating humor. Believe it or not, many men are threatened by women; they fear rejection and are often unprepared to deal with the emotions associated with it. This can even be true in married relationships. When women use self-deprecating humor, it can put men at ease and help them relax, letting their shields down so that you can connect on a deeper level. They act all tough, but the research shows that most men are softies on the inside.
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage: Humor and Sex
Choosing to laugh your way to a better marriage brings a lot of fun to your relationship, but one of the most fun areas is, of course, sex. Sex can be a contentious issue in relationships, and especially in long-term, married relationships: different sex drives, preferences, ideas, kinks, or other issues can turn this physical and emotional bond into a sore spot quickly. Humor can be an excellent adjunct to your sex life. This doesn’t mean getting out the red nose and clown wig (unless you’re into that) or making possibly hurtful jokes about your partner’s body. Rather, it means learning to share a laugh in the bedroom. Sex can be inherently funny, and learning to embrace its absurdity and laugh about it can significantly improve your sex life. Men whose partners can laugh at themselves have higher sexual satisfaction than men whose partners can’t laugh at themselves. And men who can make you laugh can also make you…well, they’re just better lovers. Science shows that if your husband or boyfriend is a funny man, chances are he’ll be a better lover. A sense of humor in the bedroom is a good indicator that everybody will walk away from your afternoon delight or midnight romp with a smile on their face. You can laugh your way to a better marriage and laugh your way to a better sex life!
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage: Integrate Humor
So, all of this information on how to laugh your way to a better marriage is great, but how can you integrate humor into your married life? First and foremost, remember that the key to healthily using laughter is to be laughing with one another, not laughing at one another. Making a joke about a situation can be funny, but making a joke about your partner’s body is unlikely to go over well. A joke about family dynamics can be a humorous way to speak your mind about a situation, but be careful not to cross the line and become insulting. Your goal should always be to laugh together, not to be humiliating or insulting your partner or something important to them.
One of the best ways to laugh your way to a better marriage is through inside jokes. When you’re married, you’re going to share a lot of experiences. Some shared experiences can be super romantic: a beautiful sunset, a fancy meal, or a vacation often spawn pleasant memories. However, many of your experiences will be absurd, bizarre, aggravating, or even just strangely humorous. Converting these experiences to an inside joke is a great way to bring humor to married life. With a single word, look, or reference, an inside joke can trigger your funny bones and bring a laugh to almost any situation.
TV shows, movies, and even memes are another great way to introduce humor into your married life. To laugh your way to a better marriage, you need to find situations where you can both laugh, and the richness of today’s media environment provides never-ending opportunities for mutual humor. Going out to see the latest comedy — even if it looks super dumb — can be a great way to laugh together. There are also plenty of hilarious TV shows that feature quirky or offbeat families that are great for laughing together. Shows such as Schitt’s Creek, Arrested Development, and even Bob’s Burgers are sure to have you laughing together.
If you want to laugh your way to a better marriage but you’re sick of TV, there are plenty of other great options. Try bringing your partner on a date to a comedy club. You could go and see a famous comedian such as Wanda Sykes or Jim Gaffigan, or even catch some fresh jokes from an up-and-coming new comic. If the comedy club isn’t your thing, consider heading to the bookstore. There are a lot of great humor writers whose books will give you jokes to share or stories to tell your partner. Writers like Dave Barry, Roy Blount Jr., and David Sedaris have plenty of hysterical books available. Humor companies like The Onion also sell funny anthologies and collections that you can laugh about together.
Another excellent tool to laugh your way to a better marriage is to play with your family. Kids can be an endless source of frustration, but sometimes they can be downright hilarious. Take the time to play with your kids as a family, whether it’s board games or something silly and lighthearted like miniature golf. Worst case, even if you end up in a classic family kerfuffle, you’ll have something to laugh about later. If you don’t have kids or if your kids are grown, you can laugh your way to a better marriage by playing with your pets. Cats, dogs, and birds love to play with their people and often do funny or silly things that will make you smile and laugh together. A game of fetch, some catnip and a laser pointer, or a new toy for your bird can make anybody grin and cut up.
Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage: Be Yourself
Finally: don’t think too much about it. The best humor is the kind that flows naturally. Your partner probably fell in love with you and even married you at least partly because of your sense of humor, so use what you have! If you like dry jokes and puns, let them fly. If you prefer slapstick and pranks, have at it! When you’re married, the most important thing is to be on the same team, and humor is one of the best ways to bond. It might sound silly to suggest that you can laugh your way to a better marriage, but the evidence is clear: the couple who laughs together loves together.