There is growing evidence to suggest that one of the secrets to a long and happy relationship is to laugh together often.
You might be thinking this is obvious, but it isn’t until more recently that the science has come out to back this view. Before then it was largely speculation.
Now, however, it is possible to link genuine shared laughter to couples having long, healthy relationships. So, if you ever needed more encouragement to laugh with your partner, here it is.
One study found that shared laughter was “positively associated with global evaluations of relationship quality” – in other words, those couples who spent time laughing together were more likely to enjoy strong, positive relationships.
Study author Laura Kurtz, from the University of North Carolina, told the Independent:
What this means is that we can say that there is something unique about shared laughter for a relationship. It isn’t just enough to laugh in the presence of your partner – it’s the moments where you are both laughing together that really seem to count.
Another study indicated that reminiscing about shared laughter also had a positive influence on a relationship. It concluded that when couples recalled moments when they had laughed together, the benefits were greater than for other, more general, forms of reminiscing.
As is stated in the study:
there are immediate, short term benefits of reminiscing about sharing laughter for relationship well-being that go beyond simply creating positive mood.
So talking about “that time when we…” and sharing a chuckle while you do it helps to reinforce the bond that keeps two people together.
But how can we laugh more as a couple?
Now that you know the value of laughter in a relationship, you’re probably wondering what you can do to increase the frequency of joint bouts of giggling.
It’s important to note that you should not force laughter – the first of the two studies mentioned above found that laughing in the presence of your partner is not enough and that awkward or fake chuckling is likely to be detrimental to a relationship.
There are, however, things you might do to increase the chances of spontaneous, shared laughter.
Most importantly, perhaps, is to not take yourself too seriously. If you treat all life with equal seriousness, you’ll function at home much like you do at work or in other sedate surroundings. Of course a sober and focused response is natural when something needs doing, but during periods of relaxation, just let yourself be free, childlike, even whimsical.
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Dance in the kitchen, go on adventures, get dirty, play games (not those kind of games!), just let loose and do what feels right. And, as has been recommended above, relive those fun times you had together, look at photos if you have them, and even revisit the places where the laughter happened.
Be playful, give each other silly pet names, create inside jokes that only you know about, dance (it’s worth repeating because it’s so effective), and play pranks on each other (but only if you both enjoy a good pranking).
Another thing you can do is to live in the present moment as a couple – don’t sit there together staring at your phones when you could be enjoying each other’s company. Ban work talk after a certain time in the evening too, and resist the temptation to fill silence with noise; you don’t need music playing or the TV blaring all the time.
The more you able to live in the now together, the greater the opportunity for moments of amusement to arise.
Laughter has so many natural benefits, and now we can add relationship improver to that list. Sharing a smile, a giggle, or even a guffaw with your partner can break tension, create a sense of closeness, and improve communication. Keep in mind all the good you’re doing the next time you break out into spontaneous laughter.