Marriage can be hard. Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. Those statements are true, and a successful marriage requires covenant-level commitment and persistence through hard things. But at least as important is the ability to laugh together. Laughter does for your marriage what nothing else can do.
Biologically we know many of the amazing benefits of laughter. It lessens physical pain, improves mood, speeds up healing, and increases resilience. It does the same for your relationship.
You’ve probably heard it said that the family or couple who prays together stays together. It’s just as true that the couple that plays together stays together. Fun is important!
And to clarify; this is not laughing at each other; it’s laughing with each other. Feeling as though your spouse is laughing at you only creates pain and pulls you farther apart. Don’t be laughing at each other’s expense, but do find ways to have fun and be lighthearted together.
Here are five things laughter does for your marriage.
Creates a Sense of Connection
The chemicals laughter generates in your body and brain create a real sense of connection. Laughing together creates an emotional bond that lasts long after the laughter is over. You feel pulled closer together.
And those brain pathways laughter creates feel good; you naturally have a desire to come back for more. The invisible bond between you has just been forged stronger.
Fosters a Culture of Grace
You can’t laugh with someone and feel angry or resentful at the same time. Laughter is very close to joy, grace, and even love. It fosters a sense of safety where more good things begin to feel possible.
If you’re able to laugh at yourselves as a couple, especially, it creates a space for creating more beauty going forward. You build a belief that investing in your marriage is desirable, regardless of your “issues.” And laughing together helps to reset your relationship after you’ve dealt with something difficult.
Keeps Problems in Perspective
Yes, your relationship needs help! There’s not a marriage on earth that doesn’t. But problems are not the sum total of your relationship. Laughter doesn’t mean the problems have disappeared; it means you don’t have to focus only on them.
What you notice and focus on grows. Being intentional about fun and laughter together reminds you of what is good in your marriage, and helps more good things to grow.
Builds a Memory Bank
Perhaps you remember times as a child or adolescent when you laughed together as a family, or as a group of school friends. Those may be some of the times you remember the most. It’s the same with your marriage.
Building shared memories week by week, month by month, year by year, becomes a priceless treasure in your relationship. Laughter is one of the strongest ways to do that.
Walls come down when you laugh. Every one of us humans puts up walls – for good reason. Intimacy can only happen when those walls come down, when you take the clothes off your body, yes, but even more importantly off your soul. And laughter does that.
Laughter builds intimacy not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually. Seeing and being seen. Knowing and being known.
How to Laugh Together
If your marriage is toxic, get some help. Using the recommendation to laugh together does not gloss over the need to deal with big problems. But assuming you’re both people of good will, it’s worth investing in fun!
This doesn’t only apply to certain personality types, though if one of you naturally breeds laughter it’s wonderful to nurture that part of you.
If there are significant marriage problems you’re working on, intentionally put them “in a box.” Agree together that you will come back to that hard conversation tomorrow, or at your therapist’s office this week. And then find something to laugh about.
Times for laughter can be both planned and spontaneous. Look for the moments when something triggers laughter, and let yourself “go there.” And then plan for fun as well.
You might play in the pool together just the two of you, or have a friendly water fight washing the car. Watch a funny movie together, or share a funny video with your spouse. Play your favorite song, and dance in your living room. Or think of a creative way to invite your spouse to a time of lovemaking.
Nourish laughter in your marriage. You’ll be glad you did.
Your Turn: How often do you laugh together with your spouse? Will you look for a time to do that this week? Leave a comment below.
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