It doesn’t take a Houston marriage counselor to tell you that couples who are able to laugh together are more likely to stay together than couples who don’t incorporate humor into their relationships. The act of laughing reduces stress, improves your mood, and allows you to feel a sense of connection and intimacy with the person who is sharing in your humor.
Laughter can also help when relationship problems arise, because if you and your partner have a history of playfulness, you will be better able to diffuse tension if you can both see the humor in the situation. Of course, this isn’t to say that humor is a miracle cure for relationship problems or that it is always positive.
Houston Marriage Counselor Covers the Do’s and Don’ts of Relationship Humor
First I’m going to examine some approaches to humor that don’t work, and then I’ll look at the type of humor that does strengthen relationships.
- Joke in a way that’s only funny to you or that belittles and ridicules your partner. This type of humor creates a distance rather than a bond.
- Use humor to avoid relationship problems. As I said earlier, it’s fine to use gentle humor to address your issues, but don’t use joking as a way to cover up the fact that something is wrong. You and your partner are both human and have a full range of emotions, so you don’t need to pretend that you’re happy and lighthearted all of the time.
- Tell your partner that “It was only a joke” and they need to “Get a sense of humor.” Take it from the Houston marriage counselor – if you said something that upset them, then it wasn’t funny.
- Share humor that both you and your partner will enjoy. For example, try thinking back to a funny experience from when you first started dating. The important thing is that neither you nor your partner should be the butt of the joke.
- Make sure that your verbal and nonverbal cues are creating positive, warm signals when you joke with your partner.
- Have a sense of humor about yourself. If you are able to let your guard down and goof around with your partner, then you are showing them that you feel comfortable with and close to them.
It’s never too late to start looking for the humorous in your life and your relationship. The best relationship advice I have as a Houston marriage counselor – and as someone who loves to laugh – is to remind yourself of the things that you and your partner have always found funny and enjoy sharing in that humor.