They say, “Laughter is the best medicine.” I believe laughter is not only the best medicine for what ails you but is part of the required maintenance for a healthy and satisfying marriage. This concept was driven home during one of my coaching sessions, where a couple was trying to figure out whether they should take their dating relationship to the next level—engagement. Based on their survey, they were highly compatible in their emotional intelligence, communication, conflict resolution, spiritual views, financial stewardship, and interests. What was missing?
Although they had differences in daily lifestyle habits and personality traits, theirs was not any more divergent than most couples. Frankly, I had seen couples with greater differences that were extremely happy in their relationship. As we dug deep, trying to understand why Peggy* was hesitating when her mind could justify why they were a good fit, she blurted out that she never belly-laughed with Mark*. Peggy loved going new places and doing fun activities with Mark, but their conversations never evoked the silliness and laughter that usually comes from experiencing life together. Peggy was known to see humor in many situations and did frequently laugh with her family and other friends. She could never figure out why she did not laugh with Mark, and disappointingly, Mark never did get to put a ring on her finger. Regardless of how compatible this couple appeared on paper, Peggy did not feel connected to her partner, and lack of laughter was a significant contributor.
Why is laughter so important in a relationship? For an individual laughter helps to release stress. People who have a sense of humor tend to have less physical ailments and find greater joy in their lives. Humor and laughter shared within a marriage helps a couple cope with daily stresses. Laughter bonds and makes a couple feel like they are in it together. When you reflect on the times your marriage was most vibrant, I bet you and your spouse were laughing a lot—seeing humor in the small situations. I pray you are and continue to be in that stage. On a personal front, my husband represents the classic duck, where water just rolls off his back. On the other hand, I am the worrier in the couple. I convincingly tell myself, someone in the relationship needs to worry. Many times, I will be verbally expressing my worries to my husband, and when I do, he always makes me laugh. How? Because he just gives me his look and says “Hakuna matata!” I usually smile in response and continue with my rationale, and he says again, “Hakuna matata.” I then respond, “but…,” and he says again, “Hakuna matata!” I finally give up and just laugh! “Hakuna matata” is a joke that keeps us together. What stories or shared experiences keep you living, loving, and laughing together?
*Names have been changed to protect identities
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and mentor with an extensive background in leadership and ministry, which provides her with the experience and relational skills to move individuals and couples to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, marriage, and finances.