You’ve hit a point in your marriage where the fun and excitement has run dry, and all of your interactions seem to be full of tension or empty air.
But don’t let any rough patch in your marriage take away what could be a lifetime of happiness together.
You may not see it this way now, but you could be blissfully happy again a couple of years down the track, if you just keep working at it and finding new ways to solve problems.
Read below to discover how to use the amazing tool of HUMOR to get through this stormy time and head into smoother waters.
The benefits of shared humor
When things have gone a bit downhill in your marriage and you are experiencing a lot of tension and conflict in interactions with your spouse, the last thing you’re probably feeling like doing is having a laugh.
But sometimes stressful times like these are the times when we can benefit from humour the most.
If laughing with your spouse just it’s going to happen right now, you can always start with trying to boost your use of humour outside of your marriage.
This will still have health benefits for you as an individual, which are bound to have a positive flow on effect for your marriage. For example, the release of tension that laughter can bring may allow you to come into discussions with your spouse with a clearer head and more relaxed attitude.
No matter how tough times are, you ARE still capable of laughter.
It may take you by surprise the first time it happens, but believe me, the feelings of relief will be overwhelming.
Continue below to find out the benefits that shared humour has for relationships.
Strengthening relationship bonds
Sharing the pleasure of laughter and humour increases happiness and intimacy between people.
It enhances teamwork and cooperation, and strengthens relationship bonds.
When we use humour, we attracts others to us, as humour is highly infectious and makes people feel good.
Diffusing and solving conflict
Humour, when it is used in the right way (free from sarcasm or ridicule), can be extremely helpful in diffusing and solving conflicts.
It can cause reductions in tension between you and your spouse by interrupting the power struggle and enabling shifts in perspective, allowing you each to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light.
Once you have seen a problem in a new way, it is often a lot easier to identify a solution.
The use of a little light humour can also reduce the chance that your partner will react defensively when you bring up problems or constructive criticism.
Laughter opens us up, freeing us to express what we truly feel and allowing our deep, genuine emotions to rise to the surface.
As well as bringing people closer together, humour and laughter also have a multitude of benefits for your physical and mental health, which should not be ignored.
Benefits to your physical and mental health
Laughter relieves tension and stress and strengthens our immune system, by decreasing damaging stress hormones and increasing immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies.
Laughter relaxes all of the muscles in the body, and promotes better quality of sleep. A deep belly laugh can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterwards!
Laughter can aid in protecting the heart against cardiovascular problems by lowering blood pressure and increasing blood flow.
When we laugh, endorphins are released in our brain, which make us feel good and can cause temporary decreases in pain. Our brain function and creativity is stimulated and our energy levels are boosted.
Humour and laughter can cause immediate improvements to your mood, and help to ease anxiety, fear, stress and anger. Humour enhances our ability to be resilient in the face of challenges, and increases joy in our everyday lives.
Now it’s time to look at how YOU can attract more humour into your marriage and everyday life.
How to embrace humour in your marriage and everyday life
1. Create inside jokes with your partner.
Sharing personal jokes is an amazing way to really connect as a couple, as they are about private things that only you two know about.
As you move on in your relationship, topics will naturally come up which you can laugh about together. It may be about a funny event that happened in your relationship, or a funny aspect of one another’s personalities or mannerisms.
2. Tease each other.
Much like inside jokes, a bit of light teasing in a relationship can create lot of intimacy and affection. Tease your spouse about things that they will find funny and can laugh about themselves, in a flirtatious and affectionate manner.
Teasing is not okay, however, if it is used as a way of hurting or belittling each other rather than flirting – as this can cause the person on the receiving end a lot of pain. So be sensitive to how your partner would take a joke and if you think that they are unlikely to appreciate it, don’t say it.
3. Learn to laugh at yourself.
Being able to laugh at yourself is one of the most attractive qualities a person can have.
Being able to laugh about a silly mistake you made immediately makes it less of a problem. We all have flaws and we all make mistakes. It’s okay to laugh about these and let them go.
Remember, you only have one lifetime and you might as well enjoy it.
4. Use humour to diffuse tension and conflict when appropriate.
Do you find yourself naturally taking up a defensive stance when you don’t agree with your partner on something? Is your reaction always appropriate?
Sometimes we can send off hostile messages to our spouse through our body language, which automatically makes a situation tenser than it should be.
The next time things are getting a little tense during a discussion with your spouse, try biting back the remark you might feel like saying, taking a breath and add a little humour to try to diffuse the situation.
The problem will become a lot easier to solve once you have both let go of some tension and allowed yourself to see things in a more positive light.
5. Spend time with fun, playful people.
Seek out the people in your life who always make you feel good in their presence – adults or children.
The people who can see the funny or positive side to any situation, and can laugh at themselves easily. People who are focused more than having fun and enjoying an activity rather than winning.
These people will be able to help you see the bright side of circumstances in your marriage, and you will find that their laughter and playfulness are contagious.
Smiling is the beginning of laughter, and is the visual expression of happiness. It is equally as contagious as laughter and can instantly boost a person’s attractiveness!
Even forcing yourself to smile can ‘trick’ your brain into releasing feel good chemicals, as an automatic response to the physical action of smiling.
7. Create opportunities to laugh.
People love to laugh so much that many people make their living through entertaining others.
Try watching a comedy movie or TV show (avoid dramas, tragedy and horrors), reading a light-hearted book or the comics in the paper, getting together with fun friends, and making time for the activities you enjoy.
If something funny happens in your day or you hear a good joke, make a point to share it with others. This gives you the chance to laugh about it all over again.
When it is NOT appropriate to use humour in your marriage
Humour becomes unhealthy in a relationship when it is used for avoiding, rather than coping with, painful emotions.
If something is a real problem or issue, don’t use humour to cover up your true feelings about it. Talk over how you’re really feeling with your spouse, as humour won’t actually solve the problem.
Also, as mentioned above, humour can be harmful when people aren’t both in on the joke. Make sure than your spouse will actually find what you say funny (and not offensive) before you say it.
The ability to laugh and let your guard down together has amazing healing power for your marital relationship and your personal wellbeing. Don’t let the gift of humour go to waste.