There’s really not much in a relationship that cannot be improved with a light heart and a sense of humor.
Sure, there are big relationship issues that have to be taken seriously–health, finances, loss, infidelity, respect, safety, and abuse in all its forms. And then, there’s all the rest. By comparison to that list, other things can do with a lighter touch.
Laughter is a great reliever of tension and stress. A good laugh can shift your mood, lift your spirit, and give you back a sense of perspective. And, laughter helps you get closer to your partner, your children, and other people you love who are just as flawed as you and everyone else.
Take special note of the need for laughter if you happen to think that perfection is possible! It isn’t, but that belief can ruin you day, your relationship, and your life. Laugh! Nobody’s perfect. Stuff happens. And, nobody’s dying.
You can create greater intimacy by laughing together. Remembering times you’ve laughed together helps you relive them, and makes your bond closer. Wonder if this is so? Think of a time you tried something new in bed…and, it didn’t quite work. Did you laugh about it? I hope so, because embarrassment, shame, or blame would be really sad results. And, so unnecessary.
Laugh about the inability to put together that new crib, or treadmill. Laugh about the complete flop of a new recipe, or the difficulties posed by new software. The tension of frustration will melt. Let yourself off the hook. People make mistakes. It’s only when they repeat them that it may not become a laughing matter.
You know what I’m talking about, and you know that sometimes it’s hard to see the humor in things. That’s often because you’ve got these high expectations of yourself and others. Those high expectations are often also unreasonable. You know you sometimes easily laugh off, or forgive, someone else for doing or saying things that you absolutely refuse to forgive yourself for. You’ll make excuses for that other person. You’ll tell them that they shouldn’t be so hard on themselves, yet you hold yourself to a much more rigid standard.
Purposefully create times to have fun together, too. Create times that will lead to laughter, and lightness, and greater intimacy. That gives you a reservoir to draw from when things get too tense.
Lighten up. The world is not going to stop turning when someone in your house, or your life, makes a mistake. Do what you wish they would do when you screw up: make light of it!
CAUTION: Laugh with your partner, not at your partner. That’s where you have to take care, be thoughtful, and aware of your partner’s feelings. Laughter does NOT make light of a painful remark you’ve just delivered. It often sounds as though you’re making light of hurting your partner’s feelings. You don’t want to be doing that. At least, I certainly hope you don’t.
You can laugh at yourself, though, any time you want. Often, that will lighten the room, and give everyone else permission to laugh, too.
G. K Chesterton wrote that “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” Just think what you can do for yourself, your partner, and your children if you can take yourself more lightly. You’ll know when it’s time to be serious. And, that’s probably must less often than you think.
Sure, in a relationship, there are times when life is no laughing matter. Life can be painful, difficult, and complicated, and much of the time, it is. The good news is that you have the wonderful opportunity to choose your response to it. That gives you power. You can blame and shame, you can get your knickers in a twist, or you can lighten up, and take it easy on yourself and others. That’s where the real power in life lies.
Go forth and laugh more!
© Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
The Relationship Help Doctor
Disclaimer: All advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, video, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than twenty-five years, she offers her insights and opinions for your consideration only.