How often do you and your sweetie laugh together? When you do, do you eek out polite, half-hearted chuckles, or do you completely lose control and roll in the aisles until you look like complete nuts? One way to tell if you are comfortable with someone is to notice how you laugh in front of him or her. If you laugh but hold back, are you all that comfortable? I assure you, if you ever tell me a joke and I lose it – really lose it – and double over laughing with tears coming out of my eyes, I am comfortable with you. ~smile~
Laughter is a natural tonic for relationships. It adds grease to our engines. Without it, we will seize up and stop working properly. With it, we keep smoothly plugging along. I love hearing Eric’s laughter when he discovers a funny video or Facebook post; but, I especially love it when something cracks us both up at the same time.
Recently, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law were over for Easter dinner, and we had an especially amusing FaceTime session with my Father-in-law for his 70th birthday. I cannot remember the last time the four of us laughed together that hard. We all needed it!
- Laughing Breaks Down Barriers – I remember Mark Lowry saying that he talks to his audiences about the Lord after making them laugh because “you can’t laugh with your arms folded. You have to bring your arms down.” It is so true. Even if you can manage to keep your arms clenched next to you as you cackle out loud, you still let down your inner walls – the walls that say, “I don’t care what you have to say, I’m not going to receive it.” I instantaneously feel more comfortable with a stranger or in an awkward situation when someone is there to bring laughter. It simply lightens the mood and breaks the ice. I am more receptive to someone’s point of view after he or she has made me laugh. When couples share a similar sense of humor, or laugh together regularly, it relieves tension in the relationship and safeguards against floods of unnecessary nitpicking and arguments.
- Laughing Lightens the Heart and Reduces Stress – Stress builds inside of us and we do not always notice it because it stacks up gradually. When I was in high school, someone rubbed my shoulders during a rehearsal and remarked, “Wow, you are really tense. You need to relax.” I had no idea. ~smile~ Thankfully, one of my favorite high school pastimes was laughing myself silly with my friends. It was a good day if nothing else happened but “getting tickled” over something and laughing uncontrollably. It shook the stress loose and flooded the heart with joy. Some of our outbursts may have even been hormonally driven. We were teenagers, after all; but, we loved to laugh regardless of the reason!
- Laughing Releases Endorphins – You know that amazing feeling you get after you exercise? You can have it just from laughing long and hard! “My sides hurt, stop, I’m in pain!!!” Once you regain your composure after something deeply amuses you, don’t you feel marvelous all over? I do! It is as if my insides went through a rigorous workout and dislodged the grumpies. I feel happy, calm, and clean! No need for drugs, just watch your favorite comedian or spend time with your funny friends. No time for a work out? Get in a good laugh and get those endorphins pumping! ~smile~
- Laughing Keeps Life in Perspective – What is worth worrying over and what is not? Have you ever laughed at yourselves after having a ridiculous fight? Some of our former arguments still make me smile. Our famous Winnie the Pooh store fight. The time Eric was so tired his mouth couldn’t form the correct words to argue with me, but he kept trying like a nap-starved three-year-old. And, the times when Eric and I were exhausted and would drive home from our office after coaching couples and have fights we told them not to have. ~smile~ Laughter and tragedies both have a way of refocusing our priorities. When you hear horrific headlines, the little aggravations of life do not seem nearly as potent. Similarly, after a soul refreshing, shoes off, hair down giggle fest, a sink full of dishes or a few unexpected chores do not seem quite as off-putting.
- Laughing Is a Bonding Experience – Just as laughter breaks down barriers, it also bonds people together. The sooner I laugh with someone, the sooner I feel a friendship forming. Again, not the polite laughter, but the ugly, loud, no holds barred, snort and do not care laughter. If you cannot laugh with your boyfriend or girlfriend, that is a problem. The questions to ask are, “Are we not laughing together because there are problems between us? Are we too serious? Or, do we have completely different senses of humor?” Eric and I don’t have the same sense of humor, but there are several comedians, sit-coms, and friends we both find funny. His dry sense of humor does make me laugh and we share inside jokes (as all couples should). I would not want to experience love and marriage without the lighter moments!
If you realize you and your sweetie have not laughed together lately, see if you can remedy that. Rent a funny movie. Go see your favorite comedian. Let your hair down and have fun. A few good belly laughs may be all you need to feel better. Bare in mind that if your significant other is more emotionally controlled than you, he or she may not laugh as hard naturally. As you grow closer, you will learn his or her signs of extreme amusement. ~smile~
If you have discovered you and your sweetie cannot laugh together easily, do not shrug that off. Having fun and letting loose with your spouse is very important, so I do not recommend choosing someone as your mate unless you regularly laugh with him or her. Again, Eric and I do not have the same sense of humor, but we can and do laugh together. I think life would be awfully long and painful without hearty laughter!
When is the last time you and your honey laughed until you cried?