“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – E.E. Cummings
“Do you two need a tissue?” a voice gently whispered from behind us. We were sitting in a quiet theater watching a somber play when — at the saddest moment — something struck us as funny. Hysterically funny.
At just that moment, Les found a withered old banana in his coat pocket. Who knows how long it had lived there. He set this surprising discovery on my knee. Caught off guard by the incongruity of the banana and the play, I developed one of the worst cases of the giggles I’ve ever had. Les quickly caught the same disease. We tried desperately to stifle our laughter, but, as we bowed our heads to hide our faces, we couldn’t keep our shoulders from shuddering. An older woman behind us, thinking we were moved by what was happening on stage, offered us a tissue for our tears, which made us want to laugh all the more. When Les accepted her kind offer, I really lost it and had to leave the theater.
Just another day in the marriage of Les and Leslie? Not quite, but we do laugh a lot together. The tiniest of things can sometimes set us off — a slight inflection or a knowing glance, for example. We can quote a funny line from a movie or sitcom for weeks. Better still are the unplanned faux pas in front of others that bring embarrassment. We have the same funny bone and can’t keep from using it. No wonder we enjoy our marriage.
Laughter bonds people. Any good friend will tell you that laughter is the shortest distance between two people — especially in marriage. But one never knows what’s funny to others. In a survey of over fourteen thousand Psychology Today readers who rated thirty jokes, the findings were unequivocal. “Every single joke,” it was reported, “had a substantial number of fans who rated it ‘very funny,’ while another group dismissed it as ‘not at all funny.'” Apparently, our funny bones are located in different places. Some laugh uproariously at the slapstick of Larry, Moe, and Curly-Joe, while others enjoy the more cerebral humor of Woody Allen.
Wherever you are on this continuum of humor, one thing is certain: Laughter, on a daily basis, is like taking a vitamin for your marriage. And it is a healthy habit all loving couples enjoy.