Friday, 20 February 2015

Happily Ever Laughter: Laugh More in your Relationship

“Well, that’s it, I’m retiring,” says my husband as I lie on the couch with tears streaming down my face. He blows kisses to the imaginary audience as the band plays. I applaud as I try to catch my breath from laughter.

Of course, my twenty-something husband is not actually retiring from the work he loves; he is simply mimicking a scene from our favourite late-night comedy show The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. We absolutely die when Higgins (Jimmy’s announcer) “retires” after a lame joke. You can see him headed off here (1:02).

Now, whether you like Jimmy Fallon or not is far from the point. What really matters is that my husband makes me laugh. A lot. From a slight giggle or snicker in a crowded room to a chortling, guffaw-inducing, crack-me-up, tears running down face laughter when it is just the two of us.

We laugh over TV shows, too little room in the bed, situations with complete strangers, or pranks we pull on one another. We laugh as we mock each other, jokingly bring things up from an argument that was just resolved (always too soon), or one of us tries a new style that just will not work (“Should I wear my pants like this?”).

We are lame, and we find that funny too.

If you asked someone what he or she is looking for in a partner, probably close to the top of the list would be a sense of humour or ‘someone who can make me laugh’. We want to laugh, we like it. But why do I think laughter is so necessary for maintaining a healthy relationship? Here are a few of my reasons...

1// Laughter breaks the tension

Regardless of the stresses in life, when someone cracks a joke, makes a face, or tells a funny story about that customer at work, the tension shatters. It feels good to take a few moments and laugh at yourself, one another, or the situations. Life is tough! Let laughter into your relationship so some of these tense things can be released.

2// Laughter brings you closer

When you have jokes, looks, or situations that only the two of you share there is an immediate strength to your bond. It’s okay to have ‘inside’ jokes with your partner... in fact, you should! When you are able to let loose, laugh with no restraint and get a little ‘slap happy’ from time to time, you are actually bringing life to your relationship.

3// Laughter keeps things light

There are way too many heavy things in life. Your debt is piling up, your kids are acting up, you don’t know how you are going to face another week at this job. Sometimes life sucks. It can be natural to let this heaviness be all that you think about, talk about, and worry about. It becomes easy to have these weighty things drive a wedge through the channels of communication in your relationship. But when you allow yourself to laugh, specifically with your partner, something always seems to lift. The clouds don’t seem so grey and event the slightest ray of hope usually peeks through.

4// Laughter makes you happier

The connection between laughter and happiness is now being studied in the world of psychology. The verdict? Most researchers say go for it. It certainly isn’t going to make you worse off. And when you are happier, you are likely nicer to your partner, and when you are nicer to your partner, your relationship benefits. So laugh a little and see what ripple effect it can have.

5// Laughter can speak louder than words

Communication has always been considered key to relationship success. Remember those days of dating when you would spend hours on the phone together chatting about who knows what? I do. And now, well, now we chat, we even have long conversations from time to time, but more often we ‘do’. We are constantly ‘doing’ life together. We don’t necessarily have time to go into every detail of everything we have done for the day – and that’s okay. Communication must remain a priority in your relationship but sometimes you find different ways to communicate. Try laughing together. It is amazing how much can be said as you wipe your eyes from a video he showed you or a story she told you about work. Don’t take yourself so seriously that you miss out on this roaring channel of communication.

So let the laughter in! If you aren’t funny, and your partner isn’t funny, find something that is! Let down your guard and joke until others might think you are crazy. Push each other off the bed, splash freezing cold water over the shower door, re-inact YouTube videos, share about the customer who told you a crazy story. Watch how the walls fall down. Watch how the joy returns. Watch how life becomes a bit more light-hearted...

And make sure you blow kisses to the audience as you retire when your jokes are lame, because sometimes, that is even funnier.

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