Chapter 1 Excerpt

Belly Laughter in Relationships: Something Else Positive Below the Belt

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

Laughter is in many ways one of life’s greatest mysteries. It’s common enough that we see it as an everyday fact of life, but we don’t really understand it. It is not something that we even feel a need to understand. We just accept that laughter happens, and we like it. We generally take it for granted until it’s not around. Then we really miss it.

Sometimes, when I remember the good times in my own marital misadventure, I know that I miss the laughter we shared, and I am sad that I missed its vital significance in prolonging my relationship. As a professional counselor and laughter therapist, I am acutely aware of laughter’s importance today and would like to share that importance with you. To set the stage for our discussion, let me take you back to a time in my relationship that I enjoyed but unfortunately took for granted.

One August my husband and I decided to take advantage of the glorious San Juan Mountains of Colorado for a well-deserved vacation. We resolutely let go of our "serious" married life, rented a jeep, and went "four wheeling" for a week. We laughed together a lot as we bounced our jeep over peaks crowded with wild flowers, mountain streams, and waterfalls. We had lots of uncomplicated fun and the laughter that goes along with it.

In our jeep, we climbed high above even the tiniest towns, and as we rose higher and higher, leaving all stress behind, I felt my spirits rise as well. An unexpected laughter started deep within me and then, burst forth for no reason at all. My own joy lifted me up. Perhaps you’ve had spontaneous fits of laughter much like mine, so you know how wonderful I felt over and over again as my husband and I laughed together for no specific reason. I wish I had valued it more at the time. Had my husband and I known to encourage this kind of laughter in our everyday lives, I believe we could have had a satisfying relationship. However, it was not to be.

Unlike my husband and me, there are people in the world who have been wiser about laughter. I don’t know if Ralph Waldo Emerson had ever been to the San Juan Mountains, but he would have recognized the laughter there. He believed that "the earth laughs in flowers" and if that’s true, every spring and summer, the San Juans erupt into deep belly laughter, covering the hillsides with hundreds of colorful wildflowers. If even the mountains let go and laugh, it should be a lesson to human beings to follow the mountains’ example and allow and enjoy our own capacity for deep belly laughter more often than we do. We also need to value it more for its unique contribution to our lives.

The laughter we casually take for granted is almost magical in the way it impacts us so positively and in the way it adds pleasure to our interactions with others. In light of this fact, it’s interesting that we’re careless about appreciating our ability to laugh and that we don’t laugh more than we do.

It’s true, nonetheless, that even though we don’t laugh as much as we could, most of us do value laughter, at least on some level. We know it’s connected to things that are funny and that it feels good. We don’t always know, however, that it is also a serious necessity for good healthy relationships and good personal health. Sometimes it confuses us a bit that something so light can also be vitally important. We don’t yet understand why laughter is such a mixture of funny and serious. The contradictions are part of its mystery.


Laughter is Part of the Attraction

"The number one reason for choosing a mate is the ability to laugh together." --Parade Magazine poll, 1985

What we do know about laughter is that it’s a good thing. Most laughter is positive and adds quality to our lives. These are reasons we seek laughter in our relationships. When couples meet, laughter is a big and wonderful part of their initial attraction for one another.

Nathan, for example, goes to lunch with no thought of meeting the woman of his dreams. He and his companions are more interested in their corned beef sandwiches than romance. While enjoying his lunch, Nathan laughs easily with his friends in their corner booth in the restaurant. His laughter catches Madeleine’s eye because he looks so pleasant and upbeat. She likes the way he tosses his head back when he laughs. As she watches him, she finds his laughter contagious, and she begins to smile herself. She lights up, and it’s as if she has hung a welcome sign around her neck.

Madeleine catches Nathan’s attention, and he is attracted by her smile. Impulsively, he approaches. Confident and relaxed by his laughter, he feels good, and he’s riding a natural high. His eyes are shining, and laughter still dances in their depths. Something in their smiles and the laughter moments before creates a bond between them, and a new relationship begins.

Laughter makes it much easier for Nathan and Madeleine to meet. Comedian Victor Borge maintained that laughter is the shortest distance between two people. Nathan and Madeleine would certainly agree. Although potential love will find a way without any shortcuts, anything which smoothes the way is a plus. The mystery of laughter and the mystery of love are an unbeatable combination. We’re all fortunate that they are intertwined.

When coupled with biological forces urging us to connect with other human beings, laughter makes us feel safer and adds the qualities of fun and playfulness to our attraction for one another. It eases much of our awkwardness and helps us glide through those moments which might otherwise leave us red faced and stammering. Our laughter is contagious, and even those of us who seem inclined to a more solemn approach to life find ourselves drawn into laughing with someone we love.

In addition to talking a lover’s talk, we seem to laugh at even the feeblest attempt at humor on our partner’s part. By doing so, we give him or her the gift of feeling witty. In addition to giving this gift, without even knowing it, we let go of our own anxieties. Past and current embarrassments evaporate with laughter, and we feel marvelous as a result. When we release anxiety through laughter, our love surges to the surface, and we are able to fully experience and enjoy it. It’s a wild and joyful ride.

Nathan and Madeleine seem swept along by forces of nature, caught up in both the pleasure and the intensity of being in love. As they spend time together, they are lifted and carried by their laughter, even at the most serious moments. They don’t think about it much, but they laugh when they need it most, easing conflict and creating intimacy. It makes them want to be with each other even more, warts and all. In laughter, they have what may be the only time in their relationship when "the warts" don’t matter because they love the "frog" who made them.

In love, Nathan, Madeleine, Bryan and Victoria are each delighted with the other’s differences. Each is interested in everything about the other. For now, difference is not a threat but an advantage. Their differences compliment each other, and they feel more complete.

By falling in love and laughing with one another, they have created a welcome relief from the scrambling to compete that they generally experience in everyday life. They feel safe with each other. These four people have found what we’re all seeking—unconditional acceptance. They have a friend who won’t leave and who likes who they are.

When we’re in a laughing, loving relationship, the hurts we experience in everyday life are not as overwhelming. Our laughter shrinks them to a smaller, if not inconsequential, size, and we don’t have to face them alone. We have someone to support us and to commiserate with us. As we hold onto one another in times of distress, we grow closer and closer together. As a result, even distress has its good side.

Bryan can’t do enough for Victoria. His laughter has opened him up emotionally so he can express the love he feels inside. He doesn’t question why he feels so generous and openhearted with her. He accepts the fact that love creates laughter, and the laughter creates an environment in which his love can grow.

As a man, he has learned to believe that he has to control his emotions most of the time. He has done it for so long that it has become a part of what he considers his nature, but loving Victoria creates an exception to the rule. However, in addition to love, he finds himself coping with other thoughts and feelings as well. He feels things he doesn’t even recognize because they have long been buried in his unconscious mind. His feelings, creaking a little from disuse, have begun to surface because his unconscious mind perceives his relationship as a means for healing old wounds.

Although it can be a little unnerving for him, it also feels surprisingly good. Feeling means laughing, and he likes laughing again. At first, he wonders why he ever shut it down to such a degree. Then he is amazed to discover he doesn’t care why. He realizes he just wants to let go. When he does, laughter fills him up with good feelings that support his love for Victoria.

In accepting the gift of laughter without question, Bryan avoids one of the major pitfalls curtailing the ability to laugh. Laughter is born of right brain activity and, therefore, lacks reason and defies analysis. It’s deliciously out of control because it’s not a rational process. Unfortunately, that makes some of us uncomfortable, and we start to question.

When people start to think about their laughter and try to isolate its origin, they stop laughing. Rational analysis is a left-brain function and not conducive to laughter. If we feel we have to offer ourselves or anyone else an explanation about why we are laughing, it is the end of our laughter. Fortunately, couples in love aren’t overly concerned with reasons for their good feelings, and, therefore, laughter flourishes.


Laughter Puts Us Intensely in the Moment

" Humor keeps you in the present. It is very difficult to laugh and be disassociated with people around you. In that one moment together you have unity and a new chance." -- Alexis Driscoll

Nathan and Madeleine are a young couple in love. Victoria and Bryan are older but caught in love’s magic nonetheless. It’s somewhat different for them, but not in many ways that matter. After years of serious living, they are loving and laughing once again. They giggle together like school children. Life seems funnier than usual, and their laughter is energizing. What they thought was never-ending fatigue is a memory, and they seem to be riding the crest of a positive wave.

Serious issues are less overwhelming to Bryan and Victoria as they encounter them in a relationship filled with laughter. They are having fun again and feeling great! It’s no wonder we all yearn for what we had in the beginning of our relationships. If nothing else, we were intensely alive.

Both couples feel fully accepted by their partners. Laughter has a lot to do with this feeling. Since laughter creates constant perspective, all the uncomfortable traits of our partners seem both unimportant or entirely bearable. We are even able to convince ourselves they are somehow endearing, and we view them with indulgent affection.

Laughter puts anxiety on a back burner for everyone, but especially for lovers. Because we can’t laugh and worry at the same time, the future seems far away and less consuming. We are focused on the present and wrapped in a single instant in time. Laughter and love happen in the moment, and hurling caution to the winds, we reach out and seize that moment.

When Bryan looks at Victoria, he only sees how much he loves her. When they laugh together, issues that could be areas of conflict seem less important. Laughter opens many possibilities, and solutions seem to appear by magic. Any need to criticize or analyze has lost its appeal.

Victoria looks at Bryan and also sees how much she loves him. Although the world hasn’t changed, she has. She and Bryan laugh over dopey little things like the way his Southern accent sounds over the phone or the way she eats one thing at a time on her plate. Their laughter is almost giddy, and it seems as normal as a cup of coffee to start the day. She snuggles into their relationship, and the world seems far less complicated than before.

When they are together, the many things Bryan and Victoria juggle on a daily basis no longer distract them. They aren’t as frantically focused on work, chores, family, and friends. Love seems to have relaxed them, and laughter puts them fully in the moment. They no longer want to keep trying to do so many things at once. They are not preoccupied with other things. They focus on one another. They now realize that they had lost this sort of clarity in the whirling march of details dominating their lives. It feels fantastic to let go for a while and deal with only one thing.


Laughter Is Marvelous for Love

" Love has a code name: Laughter." -- David Holmutstrom

Laughter is a marvelous opening for love. It breaks down the instinctive barriers between two people and allows them to trust each other. The fears most of us have about other people are rooted in the past. People have hurt us, and we developed strategies to protect ourselves from any more pain. Our families have also passed along protective beliefs and behaviors, which have evolved over time.

Like Romeo and Juliet, we often have to defy the family rules in order to love one another. Happily, for us, fears and suspicions seem to dissolve in our laughter. The bonding qualities of laughter allow us to feel such emotional closeness that we want to be physically and spiritually close as well. It’s something deeper than just biology. It’s part of the mystery of laughter that we have yet to solve.

Another special quality laughter brings to relationships is its ability to minimize our need to gain self-confidence by analyzing and judging other people. When we laugh with the person we love, criticism seems to collapse. We are able to let them be themselves and enjoy them even more for that. As laughter opens us up and allows us to be vulnerable, we become willing to make changes. We no longer need to keep score of the good things we do for our partners. We lose track, and we don’t even care. Laughter, supporting our love, makes us generous to a fault, and we feel better giving than receiving.

In love, Nathan, Madeleine, Bryan and Victoria are each delighted with the other’s differences. Each is interested in everything about the other. For now, difference is not a threat but an advantage. Their differences compliment each other, and they feel more complete.

By falling in love and laughing with one another, they have created a welcome relief from the scrambling to compete that they generally experience in everyday life. They feel safe with each other. These four people have found what we’re all seeking—unconditional acceptance. They have a friend who won’t leave and who likes who they are.

When we’re in a laughing, loving relationship, the hurts we experience in everyday life are not as overwhelming. Our laughter shrinks them to a smaller, if not inconsequential, size, and we don’t have to face them alone. We have someone to support us and to commiserate with us. As we hold onto one another in times of distress, we grow closer and closer together. As a result, even distress has its good side.

Bryan can’t do enough for Victoria. His laughter has opened him up emotionally so he can express the love he feels inside. He doesn’t question why he feels so generous and openhearted with her. He accepts the fact that love creates laughter, and the laughter creates an environment in which his love can grow.

As a man, he has learned to believe that he has to control his emotions most of the time. He has done it for so long that it has become a part of what he considers his nature, but loving Victoria creates an exception to the rule. However, in addition to love, he finds himself coping with other thoughts and feelings as well. He feels things he doesn’t even recognize because they have long been buried in his unconscious mind. His feelings, creaking a little from disuse, have begun to surface because his unconscious mind perceives his relationship as a means for healing old wounds.

Although it can be a little unnerving for him, it also feels surprisingly good. Feeling means laughing, and he likes laughing again. At first, he wonders why he ever shut it down to such a degree. Then he is amazed to discover he doesn’t care why. He realizes he just wants to let go. When he does, laughter fills him up with good feelings that support his love for Victoria.

In accepting the gift of laughter without question, Bryan avoids one of the major pitfalls curtailing the ability to laugh. Laughter is born of right brain activity and, therefore, lacks reason and defies analysis. It’s deliciously out of control because it’s not a rational process. Unfortunately, that makes some of us uncomfortable, and we start to question.

When people start to think about their laughter and try to isolate its origin, they stop laughing. Rational analysis is a left-brain function and not conducive to laughter. If we feel we have to offer ourselves or anyone else an explanation about why we are laughing, it is the end of our laughter. Fortunately, couples in love aren’t overly concerned with reasons for their good feelings, and, therefore, laughter flourishes.


Laughter Makes It Easier to Cope

" If I did not laugh, I think I should die." -- Abraham Lincoln

It’s always nice when something flourishes which feels good and which serves a positive purpose. This is true of laughter because it helps couples cope with things a little better. They can cope because laughing at problems provides them with a better perspective.

Most of us have a tendency to pay such close attention to our issues that they are eventually a huge part of all we see. If we are able to laugh about our serious things, however, they simply can’t be that huge. Being in a relationship often magnifies our unresolved issues, but couples that maintain the ability to laugh about them are better able to roll with the punches.

As a culture, we admire people who are flexible and able to deal with things as they come. It’s curious, therefore, that we also have such a strong tendency to focus on things so seriously. Moreover, since serious things require guidelines, we feel forced to make up rules for everything, and relationships are no exception. There are many things we think one should and should not do in relationships. For instance, we should sleep in the same bed and go places in the same car. The man should drive. Women should do the housework and men, the yard work. If we love each other, we should be able to know what our partner is thinking and be able to respond perfectly at all times.

Therefore, as the result of expectations like these, couples tend to make up their own rules about laughter in their relationship. They get some of their rules from their families and some from society, but wherever they get them, they rigorously hold to them. For example, we feel that when we are in an important relationship, we should not laugh about sex or money. They are far too serious. It’s a shame, though, because both things are perfect issues for play.

In maintaining this serious approach to relationships, most people have a rule in place which states that problems have to be approached carefully rather than lightly. If you laugh, you don’t understand, or you’re not a responsible person. There are many more, similar rules to this in our society, and these rules work hard to suppress a couple’s willingness to laugh.

All these rules about laughter prevent us from understanding that laughter doesn’t diminish the importance of things in the true sense of the word. It simply changes our view of “the importance” so we can feel less overwhelmed and better equipped to cope. Because we find this concept hard to understand, however, we remain reluctant to accept it. Therefore, we laugh less often.

Couples who laugh in spite of the rules, however, stay more comfortable with one another. They are less apt to turn mountains into molehills. Small things stay small, and big things shrink enough to be handled. Kathy and Chris, for example, found their ability to laugh about serious issues to be an advantage when they found themselves deeply in debt. Unforeseen financial setbacks had created what seemed to be an insurmountable problem. They fretted, worried, and found themselves descending into a pit of ongoing anxiety and irritability.

Finally, Kathy couldn’t take the pressure of her anxiety anymore. Reasoning that all the worry in the world wasn’t going to help them pay off The DEBT, she began to look for a better way to look at the situation. Kathy decided to give The DEBT a name. She began to call it “Bunny” because it kept multiplying.

Then Chris picked up the ball with her, and they both began to talk about Bunny instead of The DEBT. As a result, it became less overpowering. They stopped having nightmares about it and put together a plan to pay it off. They were able to accomplish their goal and have a little fun with it and with each other as well. In an adverse situation, they were actually able to strengthen their relationship.


Laughter Helps You Enjoy Life More

" The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness." --Milan Kundera

Laughing couples don’t worry as much as serious ones, and as a result, they enjoy life much more. They look for humor in most situations, and that humor provides them with laughter. The laughter makes their circumstances seem less serious and therefore tolerable. When we can see at least some aspect of the silly or ridiculous in what we’re doing, we find a solution more easily, or, at least, we buckle down for the ride with less fear and resentment.

Mary and Norman were a couple who could laugh in serious situations. Not long after they were married, they went off on a sailing adventure in the Caribbean. They were fairly new at sailing and had no experience in handling ocean storms. A squall surprised them on a day that had dawned bright and sunny. During the storm, their sails were torn, and they suddenly found themselves staring danger in the face.

While Norman struggled to get the sails down, Mary handled the wheel. She had to steer the boat away from the wind to protect Norman from the wild, snapping lines that could knock him unconscious. To do so, she had to aim for shore. As they moved closer to the rocks, Mary’s fear caused her to start laughing. She was pretty sure they were going to die, and it seemed like she was going to go crazy as well. Fortunately, neither catastrophe happened since they were able to get the sails down at last.

Later, as they motored to a safe harbor, exhausted and wet to the bone, they laughed and joked about their brush with disaster. They also laughed at how they would look limping into the marina with tattered sails. Laughing at the humor they found in the situation kept them from being irritable with one another and saved them from ending their vacation on a bad note. Instead, they saw it as an adventure to remember with a smile and a touch of pride that they had met Nature on her own terms and survived.


Laughter Eases Conflict

" When you laugh, you can’t hate." -- Michael Pritchard

In addition to easing us through trying circumstances, laughter also helps us deal with the disagreements that crop up in relationships because it interrupts the power struggle. It’s really hard to lock down in conflict with someone when you’re laughing. Conflict is a big problem for people to handle in their relationships, and they often find themselves fighting over things that seem minor in retrospect. Laughter has a magical ability to defuse anger by releasing it. That release, in turn, prevents or stops the conflict, eases the tension, and enables people to see one another’s point. Then they can resolve the issue and move on.

For instance, Casey and Dan had been arguing all day. They couldn’t see eye to eye on anything to save their lives. They had disagreed about the children, the work around the house, and paying the bills. Each felt the other was unappreciative and had no concept of the stress under which they were operating.

The day before, they had planned to go out but had not yet finalized their plans. Later in the afternoon, during a lull in both the arguing and the chores, Casey asked Dan what he thought they should do for the evening. Without missing a beat, Dan said, “Let’s fight.” Casey and Dan both burst out laughing. With the tension gone, they were able to decide what they wanted to do without a disagreement to steal away the pleasure.

When couples keep laughing, they can think about what goes on in their relationship. They can see options that are not hidden from view by unacknowledged and unresolved emotions. They are able to balance the difficulties they encounter with the fun and the good times. They also remember why they love each other.

We saw this with Kathy and Chris when they named their debt. In spite of their difficulty with money, Kathy and Chris never blamed each other for the problem, nor did they blame their relationship. They stayed in touch with their love for each other and leaned on each other for support. They eased the pain of financial strain with their laughter.


Laughter Adds Enjoyment to Ordinary Things

" Humor takes your mind off the negative and turns it into laughter that’s positive." -- Buddy Hackett

In addition to smoothing things out and providing clarity and balance, laughter allows couples to enjoy even the mundane things in everyday life. Daily chores are less burdensome when we laugh while doing them. We aren’t always having fun, but we do have a lot more fun with laughter than without. It’s astonishing just how playful we feel because we’re laughing.

Liz and Tim, for example, had to clean their swimming pool. It had almost reached the point of being a health hazard. Without enthusiasm, they collected their supplies, surveyed the pool with dismay, and debated on where to begin. One of them would have to get into the water to open the drain. Neither felt like volunteering.

Suddenly inspired, Liz pushed Tim into the water. He surfaced sputtering and promised revenge. He climbed out of the pool, growling playfully. He grabbed the squealing Liz and jumped into the pool, pulling her in with him. They splashed around a little, laughing at the way they looked with pool grunge on their faces and in their hair. Then they tackled the actual work of cleaning the pool. Somehow, it didn’t seem as awful as it had before.

A playful approach to everyday things in our relationships is a key factor in keeping them healthy. Play is a source of fun, and laughter eases us through those dicey issues from the past. Although we associate play with children, it isn’t meant for them alone. Play teaches children living skills, and adults should play for the same purpose. It injects fun into many things that are no fun realistically and helps us do things that would otherwise dismay us.

In his book, Enjoyment of Laughter, Max Eastman comments on the importance of play as “not only something we do, but also something we are while we do it.” Play transforms us. Since we feel playful from birth, we have to work hard to give it up. Somehow, though, most of us manage to do it. Fortunate couples hang on to it, however, and they keep laughing. Their laughter leads to more play that leads to more laughter. It feeds on itself.


Laughter and Humor Are Different

" Humor allows for a boundary between where we are and some of the cruel things that happen to us." -- Joseph Steiner

We do ourselves a great disservice when we give up play. Then we make matters worse. We confound and confuse ourselves even more by thinking laughter and humor are the same. This results in our need to make rules about when and where we can laugh and what we can laugh about.

Laughter and humor are, in fact, two different things even though they are closely related. Laughter is a spontaneous, physiological process that we all have from birth. As babies, we laugh, but we don’t utilize humor. Our sense of humor develops later on. As we grow, we learn what is funny in our homes and the world around us, and our laughter feeds the humor. Humor then, in turn, feeds the laughter. Humor becomes a trigger for laughter. If we see and remember the differences between the two, we won’t need as many rules for laughter.

In spite of the differences, it’s the connection between the two that makes us search for a lifetime companion with a sense of humor. Humor helps keep us laughing together, and laughter takes us out of our seriousness. Although our important relationships are a vehicle for healing, we can actually have fun along the way. Laughter magically transforms those heavy, hurtful parts of our lives into something lighter from which we can recover.

When we laugh with our partners, we ourselves are fun, and we provide good company for one another. We’re able to re-experience something that is at least reminiscent of the unselfconscious silliness we enjoyed when we first fell in love. Since we can’t go back to that place in time no matter how much we would like to, we can at least keep the feelings alive. Laughter reminds us of our love for one another, and therefore, we feel it again and again. It’s a part of our original relationships that need never end.


In Laughter We Are Not Alone

" Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is by far the best ending for one." -- Oscar Wilde

Laughter also provides another bridge to the beginnings of our relationships. When we find someone to love, we feel a profound relief that we are no longer alone. Our primal fear of death by isolation can’t withstand our twin defenses of laughter and love, and it retreats into the recesses of our minds. We gratefully relax into the comfort of a companion who loves us and joins with us to create a “tiny tribe” of our own. We no longer live in fear of abandonment.

Laughter is a gift of connection for human beings, and that’s why we are drawn to each other when we laugh. When the “new” wears off in our relationships, laughter keeps us caring and supports us as we endure the painful aspects of growth, both individually and together. Laughter is profoundly important in the maintenance of life long relationships.

As a counselor, it is my privilege to enter a very personal place in my clients’ lives. I hear tales of relationships lost and relationships found. Laughter is always present in the beginning and always absent at the end. It’s a fact that relationships that lose their laughter become brittle and break.

As sad as I am to hear about those broken relationships, it is my pleasure to hear tales of relationships that endure. Without fail, laughter always plays a vital role in that endurance. People report that they continue to like one another because they laugh. They appreciate the ongoing laughter in the relationship and acknowledge its role in easing them through the difficult times.

In my clients’ laughter, I recognize their connection with their partners, their friends, and their families. As they invite me into their lives through their laughter, we form yet another kind of relationship, another connection. It seems that our fears of loneliness are mostly “a tempest in a teacup.” All we need to fend it off is laughter with another human being.

So—laughter in a relationship is a positive: below the belt, above the belt, and under the belt. It is essential in keeping our relationships alive and well. It will enable us to choose to stay together with gusto instead of resignation.

Now, in order to go for the gusto, the following exercise should get you started laughing. If you’ve already started, it should help you keep going —so, loosen up those face muscles and get ready for some belly laughter.


Exercise: Belly Laughter for Couples

" It is bad to suppress laughter. It goes back down and spreads to your hips." -- Fred Allen

Stand facing your partner. Place one hand on your partner’s arm or shoulder. Place the other hand on your belly (or theirs if you prefer). Look your partner in the eyes and on the count of three begin to laugh. Fake it until it becomes the real thing. Cut loose with your “pretend” laughter so it’s deep and belly shaking. After you stop laughing, pause and feel the feelings you have inside. Pay attention to the feelings you have for your partner. Enjoy them a moment and then share some of these feelings with one another. Wind up with a nice, warm hug. If you begin and end your days this way, your relationship will benefit and so will you.