18 December 2008

Love and Laughter

New Research suggests that couples who laugh together have a better chance to last together. A study of more than 100 adults, conducted at Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois, found a close association between the willingness to laugh in all kinds of situations and the capacity to form successful, intimate relationships.

"Previous studies have shown a positive link between humor and relationships in the business and professional world," says William Hampes, Ph. D., who directed the research, "so it makes sense to find a connection between humor and deep intimacy."

Defined as the ability to listen to someone else's innermost thoughts and feelings and, in turn, to reveal one's own, intimacy appears to blossom in an atmosphere of wit and hilarity - although Hampes isn't sure whether intimacy allows one to relax and be funny or whether humor opens the door for emotional relating. He also notes that humor dovertails with closeness as long as one is laughing at oneself and the foibles of life. A sarcastic, hostile wit applied at the expense of others doesn't have any of the same magic and, in fact tends to keep people at a distance.

Can couples use humor - whether it's watching a Marx Brothers video together or just sharing a good new joke - to help a 30 or 40 year marriage out of the doldrums? "I don't see why not," Hampes says. "Humor reduces stress, and handling stress successfully is a hallmark of a relationship that works."


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