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How Can I Laugh with Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

After God created the world, He created man and woman. And then to keep the whole thing from collapsing, He created humor.

Ernie Hoberecht

If relationships are so easy to form, why are they so difficult to maintain? The divorce rate in the United States is currently at 57%. What is it we are overlooking? Is there something the mountain of self help books already on the shelves doesn’t include? Yes! And it is hiding in plain sight. The missing element in relationships is the preservation of the laughter between partners that is our bond, our saving grace, and the underpinning of our friendships.

While searching for the answer to the high divorce rate, one study of 2,000 happy couples at the University of Denver showed that the strongest factor in overall marital happiness was the amount of fun in the relationship. Since America is generally a serious place where the average couple now spends a mere ten minutes a week in fun, in order to have relationships that last, we need to learn how to laugh together again.

If we think about it at all, everyone knows laughter is an essential part of the melody of love. The opening strains of any new relationship include the various notes of laughter as partners are drawn together in love. They begin their partnership with light hearts and lots of fun. Soon after commitment, however, if couples are caught unaware, they give up their fun and the laughter that accompanies it in the interest of the seriousness that lies ahead. “I already know how to laugh,” says a serious married man. “Why would I need help with that?” “Are you laughing with your wife?” asks the author. “Well, no,” replies the man. “I don’t know why we don’t laugh much anymore, but I still know how to laugh.” Of course he knows how to laugh, but where has the laughter in his relationship gone and can he get it back? Belly Laughter in Relationships, a book by Enda Junkins will help anyone do exactly that. Laughter is like riding a bike. We always know how to ride but often need a little help in remembering how much fun it is to boost our motivation to actively do it once again. Try the following laughter tips for relationships and enjoy the fun they will bring you and your partner.

Laughter Tips for Relationships

  1. Laugh together for 15-20 min. each morning.
  2. Do one loving and light-hearted thing for each other each day.
  3. Point out the day’s absurdities to each other.
  4. Seek out the humor in serious situations and share it with each other.
  5. Put more fun into sex.
  6. Consciously smile at each other more.
  7. Stay playful in your interaction by keeping your voices and body language playful.
  8. Renew your “real vows” once a week. ( See The Belly laughter Workbook.)
  9. Take turns being responsible for the humorous “thought for the day.”
  10. Giggle together right before going to sleep.
  11. Play “Teasing Telephone Tag” by leaving outrageous messages.
  12. Have a laughter match to see who can laugh loudest and longest.
  13. Surround yourself with flowers. “The earth laughs in flowers.” Emerson.
  14. Practice laughing without control. Spit out food, wet your pants, wet each other’s pants.
  15. Echo each other’s laugh. Laugh each time your partner laughs.
  16. Count the number of times you laugh each day. Compete and share them.
  17. Tell each other how much you enjoy the other’s laughter and sense of humor.
  18. Develop a fictional phone menu for different laughs. Press 1 for giggles, press 2 for chuckles, press three for guffaws. etc.
  19. List the positive things in your day each day and read them to each other.
  20. Play together one hour a week. Examples: sing, dance, race each other, give exaggerated hugs, count smiling faces when driving together.

Enda Junkins is a leading, national expert on laughter. A professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author, Enda’s laughter expertise developed over more than 30 years of using laughter in the healing of serious issues. Her work with laughter has been enthusiastically received. She is the author of Belly Laughter in Relationships: Something Else Positive Below the Belt and The Belly Laughter Workbook. She may be contacted at 3200 N. Macarthur Blvd., Ste. 106, Irving, Tx 752062, www.laughtertherapy.com. (972) ALL LAFF (255-5233).

© Enda Junkins, 2003

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Common questions about laughter

Why should I consider laughing when I feel so bad?

Because we laugh when we are hurt and laughter heals. The laughter was yours for the taking at birth. You used it then, and you can again. It's simply a matter of opening oneself to the healing powers of one's own body to assist in dealing with our painful emotions. We have to feel our emotions in order to heal. Our thoughts then assist our understanding. We need to feel as well as think in order to regain our balance so we can cope.

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Contact Information

Enda Junkins, LCSW, LMFT, BCD
PO Box 684, Ouray, CO 81427
Telephone: 970.325-0050
ejunkins@laughtertherapy.com