When was the last time you laughed with your significant other? And I don’t mean laughing at a TV show the two of you just both happened to be watching together. I mean tickling, telling a joke to, or playing with your partner and the outcome was a good, hearty laugh. It turns out that laughter in a relationship is a surprisingly precise indicator of the satisfaction and longevity of that relationship. Book after book, article after article, and therapist after therapist report how important laughter is.
First, let’s look at what laughter does on a biological and physiological level:
Laughter reduces physical tension and the effects of stress, leaving your muscles relaxed.
Laughter reduces your level of stress hormones, which allows immune cells and antibodies to increase, which, in turn, boosts your immune system.
Laughter reduces both emotional and physical stress; so it’s difficult to feel anxiety, anger, or even sadness while laughing.
Laughter increases your energy level, which helps you stay focused and accomplish more throughout the day.
Laughter releases the productions of endorphins, our body’s all-natural feel-good chemicals.
Now, what about laughter and relationships? Laughing with someone strengthens your relationship with that person. Laughter is often attractive to others. It enables people to have better partnerships and helps to defuse conflict. (Several resources are available that describe ways to produce laughter during moments of conflict with your significant other).
If it’s been a while since you laughed with your partner, I highly encourage you to take time out to bring laughter back into your relationship. Go to a comedy show together. Tell each other jokes. Play games. Talk about things that make you laugh. Laughter is contagious, and you may soon find that when you bring that laughter back into your relationship, your partner will begin looking for ways to keep that laughter going!