The secret ingredient in love is laughter, and as Oscar Wilde once said “relationships are too important to be taken seriously”. Tamra Mercieca looks at how laughter can enhance relationships.
Laughter in a relationship is a treasure. It is one of our primary reasons for even wanting a partner. All of us can feel the magic power of laugher after we have a good belly laugh, and if someone offers us laughter as part of being with them, we tend to stay. Each time we laugh we feel better, our step becomes a little bouncier, and we feel closer to the person with whom we laughed. The world seems brighter and friendlier, and we are able to approach life more positively.
Everyone in a relationship cherishes the positive feeling laughter provides. We all want to stay immersed in the love and laughter that brings us together. But it is not always easy to maintain those positive feelings. We get bogged down in the more serious aspects of living, doing the chores and paying the bills. No matter how much we love each other, the relationship can start to lose the fun it once had.
Edna Junkins, the author of Belly Laughter in Relationships, says generally couples don’t deliberately sabotage the fun in their relationships. “Often it is due to a lack of ideas on how to keep playing and laughing while involved in something so important. We all need suggestions now and then on how to keep laughter in our lives”, says Junkins.
There are many ways to bring more laughter into the relationship – joining a laughter yoga group (visit www.laughteryoga.org for more information) or seeing a comedy – basically sharing experiences that allow partners to connect and laugh at themselves and with each other. At the end of the day, it’s better to laugh during the heated moment, than to continue arguing because neither person is listening to each other anyway.
Ten ways to bring more laughter into your relationship at home:
- Laugh together for 5-10 minutes each morning
- Do one loving and light-hearted thing for each other each day
- Point out the day’s absurdities to each other
- Seek out the humour in serious situations and share it with each other
- Consciously smile at each other more
- Take turns on being responsible for the humorous thought for the day
- Have a laughter match to see who can laugh the loudest and longest
- Play ‘teasing telephone tag’ by leaving outrageous messages on each other’s phone
- Echo each other’s laugh. Laugh each time your partner laughs
- Develop a fictional phone menu for different laughs. Press 1 for giggles, press 2 for chuckles, press 3 for guffaws, etc.
And most importantly take time out each week to ‘play’ together. Sing, dance, race each other, give exaggerated hugs, count smiling faces when driving together. But laughter isn’t just for those of us already paired off. According to one survey, more than anything else on a first date, women want men to make them laugh.
If you can learn to laugh together, you can learn to grow together in good times and bad
When we are able to approach the serious aspects of life with our partners with a playful attitude, we regain flexibility and fun, and our laughter increases. The result of more laughter in our lives is closer, more loving relationships.
Laughter Yoga teacher Josie Penna, says laughter is a way to reduce stress, and make light of a difficult situation during the heat of the argument. “That way couples can have time out and deal with the situation together at a later stage when emotions are not so high, and when we can speak to each other in a respectful manner. If couples can learn to laugh together, with each other, then the bond is already there to deal with difficult situations”, says Penna.
Dr. Madan Kataria, a physician from India and the brain child behind the Laughter Yoga Movement, says it’s important to be able to laugh at ourselves and at our mistakes if we are to move forward. “The same goes with relationships”, he says.
Try the ‘Car That Won’t Start Laugh’ if you get in an argument:
When one of you starts to become angry and not make sense, then the other one pretends to start up a car engine that’s stuck. Do the gesture of turning the car key with a ha, and turn again, ha ha, and turn again ha, ha, ha and just attempt to laugh. That reminds the other person to let a situation go and return to it when they can speak respectfully. What’s important here is the couples have an agreement to
As you begin to increase the laughter within your relationship, you will start to feel healthier and more relaxed. Scientific research has found it is a great stress-reliever, and can therefore help with depression and insomnia. Laughter strengthens the immune system. C.E.O of Laughter Yoga International, Merv Neal, says people who laugh regularly, almost never get a cough, cold or flu.
Not only does it provide a massage for the facial muscles, the diaphragm and abdomen, some have described laughter as ‘internal jogging’. Dr. Williams Fry from Stanford University in the United States, claims one minute of laughter is the equivalent of ten minutes on a rowing machine. “It’s a mild and extremely pleasant aerobic exercise,” he says.
When we laugh we feel good, connect, respect, release stress, fill our body with all happy chemicals, and ultimately, that’s what every relationship needs in order to thrive. So always remember that couples who laugh together, last together.