Laughter in Marriage
By Pam Farrel
When we wrote 10 Best Decisions a Couple Can Make, we interviewed couples who had been happily married over 20 years and asked, “What’s the secret?” Number two on the list was a good sense of humor. If we look, humor is all around us daily.
Life is funny! Recently we were paired to keynote with two clean comedians, and after a couple of hours of sidesplitting laughter, we concluded that there is ample opportunity to laugh—often at ourselves!
Laugh for Life
Humor is healthy for a church, for our marriages, and for our bodies: Paul McGhee, Ph.D. says, “Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” While writing 52 Ways to Wow Your Husband, I came across some research that shows the benefit of laughter on both genders:
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
- Laughter burns calories! The “Giggles” Diet Plan! (Maybe I can succeed at this one!)
Laugh and Love
Here are a few ways to weave more laughter into your marriage:
- Investigate: For a week, observe and write down what makes your man smile, chuckle, laugh, and roll on the floor in stitches.
- Invest: Buy some tools to keep humor in your love life: joke books, humorous videos, or funny cards. Save on your favorites file online favorite websites for jokes, video clips, or humorous blogs.
- Implement: Every day do something that will make your man laugh. Or amp it up and email, text, call, or send him humor all day long the day of your big LOL date.
God really does have a sense of humor. Proverbs 17:22 emphasizes the upside of a smile: “A cheerful heart is good medicine . . .” Make a plan to tickle your man’s funny bone—it’ll make you both feel better.
While going through a particularly strenuous time when our future looked bleak, we deliberately wove more humor into our love. Here are a few ideas:
- Make a date to attend a musical comedy, visit a comedy club or improv performance or rent a comedic video or DVR a clean comedy special. (One resource for clean comedy is Outreach Comedians, Cleancomic.com or Inspiring Comedy.)
- “I can out joke you” walk: We would walk and quote one-liners to each other tossing puns back and forth. Sometimes we would try quoting motivational sayings or encouraging verses.
- “Third Base!” We would memorize and recite old radio or TV classic comedy pieces like “Who’s on first?” (Or we’d just listen to clean comedy radio as we would drive.)
- Night at the Improv: We loved attending an Improv clean comedy performance, but funds were tight so we learned to make our own romantic improv. For example: Each of you take a paper bag, set a timer for five minutes and run through the house or garage and gather whatever odd, wild, weird, obscure items you can find. Meet back and you have to design a date that you can use as many of the items in each of your bags.
- “Child’s Play”: Try Squirt gun and water balloon fights, tickle matches, jump on the trampoline (or the bed), swing at the playground, splash in the pool, or do the twist!
Laughter is great medicine. Use it in large doses and you’ll have a healthy life and happy marriage!