It feels so good to laugh, especially when you’re having a long week or facing a difficult season. Of course, laughter does a lot more than just elevate your mood. Researchers have found that it provides a number of health benefits, including improved immune function, pain relief, and stress reduction.
Laughing on my own is great, but I’ve noticed that it’s especially nice when my husband and I find reasons to laugh together. We walk away from episodes of laughter feeling connected, relaxed, and pleased with one another. Why is this and how can we integrate more humor into our marriage?
Why humor is good for your marriage
- Humor helps you feel bonded to one another. Certain hormones, including oxytocin, are released when you laugh. Oxytocin is often referred to as the “cuddle hormone” because it creates feelings of connectedness and promotes bonding.
- Humor puts things in perspective. It’s not unusual for petty issues to cause serious conflicts in marriage. However, when you don’t take yourself too seriously, you’re able to look at these issues and laugh at their absurdity. Remember those disagreements about how to fold the towels and squeeze the tube of toothpaste? Humor helps you see that these issues are inconsequential and even comical!
- Humor helps reduce stress levels. Marriage is full of stressful happenings. You have to budget your money, decide who completes which chores, make decisions about how to discipline the kids, etc. It’s no wonder marital discord is so common! Laughter in response to humorous things helps reduce stress by providing a way to release physical and emotional tension. It also causes the release of endorphins that help you feel elated and improve your outlook on life.
- Humor mitigates burnout. It is unfortunate, but common for spouses to experience burnout in marriage. Why? It’s not easy to joyfully complete mundane tasks over and over again, and it can be challenging to work through conflict and maintain good communication with your spouse. Humor provides a mini-getaway from these tasks and helps you recharge, making burnout less likely.
- Humor creates a sense of exclusivity. When you share an inside joke or story with your spouse, it sets the two of you apart from your friends. Go ahead and share a wink or knowing look over dinner—you can bond over this humorous memory that others don’t “get.”
- Humor is fun. You spend more time with your spouse than with anyone else; your lives are merged. Why wouldn’t you want to share fun experiences together? Humor provides everyday opportunities to laugh and have a good time together. This helps make marriage a wonderful experience!
How to integrate more humor into your marriage
There are a number of easy things we can do to incorporate more humor into our marriages.
- Watch a funny movie or TV series
- Play silly board games (by yourselves or with friends)
- Go see a comedian or improv show
- Share funny stories from your childhoods
- Tease each other (about appropriate topics only, not about sensitive topics like weight, jobs, family members, etc.)
- Tell jokes
- Read funny stories
Do you and your spouse laugh together very often? How does this impact your relationship?
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