By Lavern Nissley
There is something good and infectious about a good laugh. The other day, on Ronda's birthday, we had a brief exchange that led us both to laughter.
Me: "I think you look good in your birthday suit."
Ronda: "It has wrinkles."
Me: "But it looks good on you."
Ronda: "I guess it still fits."
While intuitively it would seem that "laughter is the best medicine", there are some interesting findings on how it affects romantic and marriage relationships.
In a November, 2018 blog post in Psychology Today, Gil Greengross, PhD assembles the following data from research on humor in relationships:
In general humor is good for relationships, acting like a lubricant to decrease friction and calm down partners.
I love to hear Ronda laugh; it is music to my ears. It also seems to be a pretty good indicator that things are OK between us, and I often feel a heightened sense of connection with her when I hear her laugh.
But I've also seen humor backfire, especially when used at the wrong time or in the wrong way. It takes wisdom and practice to get it just right so that the over all effect is positive.
Our daughter-in-law, Emily, is a master at capturing humorous verbatims between her and her husband, Josh.
Emily: (Pointing to dirty clothes on the floor, 7 feet from the dirty laundry basket) "THIS is not where dirty clothes go."
Josh: "See... I put them in the hamper, but I think a raccoon got into them and pulled them back out."
Emily: "Not cool, Nissley!"
Josh: "We need to call animal control for a possible raccoon infestation."
What have you learned about the appropriate use of humor in your relationship? We'd love to hear any recent humorous exchanges!
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Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.