Finances are tight, you hardly go out anymore, so dinner at a restaurant with white tablecloths and candlelight is a BIG deal. You get this great coupon, finagle reservations, get yourself all dressed up (OK, so it’s last year’s fashion, or the year before, who cares), ready for a super night with your Honey.
Only when you get to “El Swanky Restaurant” the hostess informs you in a frosty tone that your coupon expired – yesterday, and no, she won’t make an exception. “Next!”
You’re mad! You rant, you rave, you stamp your feet. Meanwhile, Honey is cracking up. “What’s so funny?” you demand, wanting him to at least drum up some modicum of pissed-offedness. “Sweetie, it’s just funny!” he chortles, “Here we are, dressed to the nines, rejected because of a day-late coupon. It’s funny!” “Come on,” he says, “I’ll treat you to a pizza. We’ll be the best-dressed couple in the joint.” You do not want to be amused. You sulk, pout, insist on going home, where the both of you proceed to have a miserable night.
Wow. Too bad. Could have had a nice evening together, if only you’d been willing to laugh.
“Laughter is the best medicine” isn’t just a cutesy phrase. Laughter is a phenomenal healer: it lowers stress and boosts your immune system, among other things. It’s also great for your relationship. It’s hard to be mad when you’re laughing. It’s hard to hold a grudge when you’re laughing. Studies show that couples who laugh together at least once a day have happier marriages. They get through the rough times better too.
“Sure,” you say. “They laugh because they’re happy.” No, it’s the other way around. Couples who laugh about things find it easier to be happy together. When the spaghetti boils over, instead of getting mad at her, he laughs (as he turns the heat down) and says “My, what a head you’re getting on the ‘ghetti!” When he forgets to take out the trash, she chuckles and says “That must have been one big skunk that walked through here this morning” which works a lot better than nagging.
You get to choose your response to any event. You can choose to get upset and all worked up about things, or you can choose to see the humor in the situation. Yes, there are matters which are serious and never to be laughed at. She has a migraine, it’s not funny. You had to take a pay-cut, it’s not funny. But most of the ordinary day-to-day of life is funny, when we choose to see it that way.
Sharing humor and laughter with your nearest-and-dearest over the foibles of life on this planet is one of the best and surest ways to happiness.