Research shows that the more you and your partner can laugh together, the happier your relationship will be. So, by learning how to laugh more with your partner, you can also learn how to feel closer, grow stronger, and overcome conflict. If you and your partner already laugh a ton, you're very lucky. But if you wish you had more laughter in your life and relationship, that's OK — there are ways to create it.
"Couples who report a high level of relationship satisfaction consciously pay attention to adding positive interactions into their relationships every day," licensed clinical professional counselor Julienne Derichs, LCPC tells Bustle. "Couples need to consciously and deliberately add positive interactions into their relationship. Research shows that there is an actual ratio of 5:1 that is helpful to keep in mind. For every negative interaction, there need to be five positive interactions to maintain a healthy positive attitude about your significant other. Stable and happy relationships share more positive feelings and actions than negative ones. Unhappy relationships tend to have more negative feelings and actions than positive ones."
One effective way to add positive interactions to your relationship is to laugh together. A recent University of Kansas study, for example, found that people with a good sense of humor — and people whose partners had a good sense of humor — were more satisfied with their relationships. To enjoy these benefits, here are some ways you and your partner can laugh more as a couple.
1Turn Frustration Into Laughter
If things aren't working out as planned, Derichs suggests finding a way to laugh about it. After all, that's a lot more fun than fighting over whose fault it was.
2Laugh At Yourself
Proving yourself right when your partner's mad at you may feel satisfying, but it won't help your relationship. What will help is admitting what you've done wrong and having a sense of humor about your flaws and mistakes, says Derichs.
3Watch Something Funny
You don't need to be the ones to supply the humor, says Derichs. Try going to a comedy club, turning on a funny movie, or even just watching some silly cat videos.
4Bring Out Your Inner Children
Playing sports, frolicking in the snow, and other childlike activities tend to bring out laughter, therapist Sarah E. Clark, LMFT, LMHC, CVRT tells Bustle. So for your next date, try going somewhere you enjoyed as a kid, like the zoo or water park.
5Do Something You're Bad At
If you have trouble laughing at yourselves, one surefire way to get better at it is to do something you absolutely suck at, says Clark. Try making art, playing mini golf, or anything you're confident you'll fail at. When there's no pressure to succeed, you won't even be tempted to take yourselves seriously.
"Flirting is, on a basic level, having fun with someone you find attractive," life and relationship coach Jonathan Bennett tells Bustle. "And, it involves a lot of laughter." So think about how you talked to each other when you first met and try to recreate that sense of flirtation. Exchange witty banter and tease each other. It's OK if it feels a little silly — all the better for laughing!
7Be Random, Awkward, & Weird
Remember that scene in Garden State where Natalie Portman makes a strange noise and hand motion because she just wants to do something nobody's ever done before? That's exactly the kind of thing that can produce laugher when it seems like there's nothing to laugh about.
"Give yourself permission to be silly — it’s easy to take relationships way too seriously," says Bennett. "You don’t always have to be on your best behavior. Sometimes, it’s OK to simply have mindless laughter and goof around with your significant other."