Several years ago my wife and I had come to an impasse in our relationship. I was detached and living in my career, something men often do and my wife was into other things. I wish I could tell you that I suggested some counseling, but no, I was too proud and bone-headed to do that. It was my wife who strongly encouraged me to make the call. Our counselor was a wise man who helped us learn to re-negotiate our marriage and reconnect. As we wrapped up therapy, he made a comment that surprised and encouraged us. He said, "Angie and John, like many couples that come to see me, you guys were way off track, but even in some of the tougher sessions you both maintained a healthy sense of humor. That let me know that you two are going to make it."
Those encouraging words were a gift to us nearly 20 years ago and have sustained us through the ebbs and flows of our marriage.
The picture, for this post is my friend of over 25 years, Dan Rosecrans and his wife Laura. This was a surprise party for his most recent birthday. Needless to say a great, fun time was had by all.
Humor, laughter, and joy have a powerful effect on health and well-being. It alleviates tension and stress, boosts the mood, raises creativity and provides a prodigious, drug-free energy boost. Humor brings people together and helps them manage life better. An occasional shared belly laugh is an essential part of a strong, healthy relationship.
Laughter and joy and playful communication are some of the most useful, free tools that can keep your relationship vital, fresh, and stimulating. Humor and laughter can keep your relationship exciting, light, and producing joy. The by-products are increased intimacy, a sense of well-being as both individuals and as a couple. It is also one of the keys to a lasting relationship.
Here are six things that laughter and humor can do to enhance your relationship.
1. Links you to others. We are hardwired for relationships. Your happiness and health, to a large degree, depend on the quality of your relationships. In addition, laughter helps strengthen the connections on several levels.
2. It helps smooth over differences. Using soft humor often helps you deal with sensitive subjects, work through disagreements, and gain a fresh perspective on problems.
3. Develops resilience. A sense of humor is one of the keys to resilience. The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress--such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors.
4. Increases energy and relaxes at the same time. Joy, humor, and laughter relieve fatigue and relax your body while recharging your batteries and helps you get more done.
5. Renews perspective. Most relationships, life or job situations are not as bad when viewed through the window of joy and laughter.
6. Increases creativity. Playfulness and humor release certain brain chemicals that loosen you up, energize your thinking, and inspire creative problem-solving.
Have fun lightening up your relationship this week.
Thursday: The Health Benefits of Laughter in Your Relationship
© 2015 John H. Thurman Jr.
John is a Counselor, Author, Speaker and Photographer that helps people "Get a Grip on Life."