My daughter, Maureen, just got married on December 13th, 2003, to Rodney, a great guy. When they were visiting a week before the wedding, late one night we were talking and Maureen said to me, "Dad what do you think is the most important thing in marriage?"
I only had to think a second and I said, "Having a good sense of humor."
"Really?", they both said to me looking surprised.
I felt kind of defensive. I wondered to myself what they expected me to say? Probably something like "good communication" or "sharing your faith" ( you know the old cliche about families that pray together, stay together), or "never go to bed angry" which is absolute garbage because sometimes couples need to "sleep on it" and things don't seem as big and important, or as urgent, in the morning when people are rested.
Well, here is the report of a study that shows that ole Dad may be right after all.
Laughing makes us feel good and we are attracted to humor. On the contrary, one of the earliest signs of stress and depression is the loss of a sense of humor. And then there is the idea that "humorless people" have problems in relationships.
I know when I am getting irritable, and not likely to be much fun to be around, I tell myself to "lighten up".
Laughing may be one of those trigger symptoms. It is kind of like a reading on the barometric pressure. When we loose our sense of humor we need to check out what is going on and deal with it and lighten up.
In other studies of happily married couples, when they are asked what makes them happy they say something like "We laugh together" or "We have the same kind of sense of humor." or "He/she makes me laugh."
So humor is no laughing matter to use the overworked cliche. Rather it is one of life's most valuable coping mechanisms. As they say, "You can either laugh or cry." I recommend a good balance of both.
MEDLINEplus: Brain Rewards US for Laughing: Study