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  • Writer's pictureYvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS

The Power of Laughter: Strengthening Relationships Through Humor

In the rollercoaster ride of life, challenges are inevitable. Whether it's navigating financial strains, facing health issues, or dealing with the everyday stresses of work and family, couples often find themselves in the midst of tough situations. However, amidst the chaos and uncertainty, there exists a powerful tool that can help alleviate tension, foster resilience, and strengthen the bond between partners: humor.

In my marriage, humor is like the secret ingredient that keeps things spicy. My partner and I have this knack for turning even the toughest situations into a comedy show, and let me tell you, it works like magic to ease the tension and bring us closer. I've always been a playful person but truly embodied the idea within my marriage after reading Brené Brown's works, and man, it's been a game-changer. Brown talks about how play isn't just for kids—it's this super important thing for adults too. It's a fundamental aspect of human nature that promotes creativity, resilience, and emotional well-being. By embracing playfulness, we've found ourselves laughing more, communicating better, and experiencing deeper levels of intimacy. So, we've made it a point to inject a little playfulness into everything we do. Whether it's goofing around during chores, having impromptu dance-offs, or just cracking jokes, it's made our bond stronger and our days brighter. Laughter truly is the best medicine, and in our marriage, it's become our secret sauce for keeping the love alive and kicking.

“Rest and play, are as vital to our health as nutrition and exercise.” ~Brené Brown

Humor has long been recognized as a potent antidote to stress. Its ability to lighten the mood and provide a fresh perspective can work wonders in diffusing tension and bringing couples closer together. Incorporating humor and lightheartedness into challenging situations not only reduces stress but also cultivates a deeper connection between partners. So, how can couples harness the power of laughter to navigate difficult times? Let's explore some strategies:

1. Find the Funny Side: No matter how dire the situation may seem, there's often a humorous angle to be found. Whether it's poking fun at absurdities, laughing at mishaps, or sharing silly jokes, finding the funny side can help lighten the mood and provide much-needed relief. By embracing a playful attitude, couples can tackle challenges with a sense of levity, making them feel more manageable.

2. Use Inside Jokes: Inside jokes are like secret codes between partners, carrying shared memories and meanings that only they understand. Drawing upon these inside jokes during tough times can serve as a reminder of the bond shared between partners, infusing moments of stress with warmth and familiarity. These moments of shared laughter create a sense of intimacy and solidarity, reinforcing the strength of the relationship.

3. Create Humor Rituals: Establishing rituals centered around humor can be a fun way for couples to cope with stress and strengthen their connection. Whether it's a weekly game night, a comedy movie marathon, or a lighthearted competition, dedicating time to laughter can become a cherished part of the relationship. These rituals provide an opportunity for couples to unwind, share laughs, and create lasting memories together.

4. Use Playfulness to Problem-Solve: When faced with a challenge, approaching it with a playful mindset can lead to creative problem-solving and reduced tension. Instead of getting bogged down by the seriousness of the situation, couples can brainstorm solutions in a playful manner, thinking outside the box and exploring unconventional ideas. This collaborative approach not only fosters a sense of teamwork but also strengthens the bond between partners.

5. Laugh at Yourselves: Learning to laugh at oneself is a valuable skill that can help couples navigate through difficult moments with grace and humility. By embracing their imperfections and quirks, partners can diffuse tension and avoid unnecessary conflicts. Self-deprecating humor not only lightens the mood but also demonstrates vulnerability and authenticity, deepening the connection between couples.

6. Use Humor to Communicate: Humor can be a powerful tool for communication, allowing partners to express themselves in a lighthearted manner. Instead of resorting to arguments or criticism, couples can use humor to convey their thoughts and feelings, making difficult conversations more approachable and constructive. A well-timed joke or playful banter can break down barriers, fostering open communication and understanding.

Incorporating humor and lightheartedness into challenging situations is not about trivializing or ignoring the seriousness of the issues at hand. Rather, it's about approaching them with resilience, optimism, and a willingness to find joy amidst the chaos. By embracing laughter as a shared language, couples can navigate through life's ups and downs with grace, strengthening their bond along the way. So, let's laugh together, knowing that in laughter, we find not only relief but also the deeper connection that sustains us through it all.


Action Steps:

  1. Schedule Playtime: Set aside dedicated time this weekend for playful activities with your partner. It could be anything from a game night to a spontaneous adventure.

  2. Practice Playful Communication: Make an effort to infuse humor and lightheartedness into your conversations with your partner, especially when discussing challenging topics.

  3. Create Inside Jokes: Share a funny moment or create a new inside joke with your partner this weekend. It's these shared laughs that strengthen your bond.

  4. Reflect on Play: Take some time to reflect on the role of play in your relationship. What playful activities do you both enjoy? How can you incorporate more play into your everyday life together?

Journal Questions:

  • How does humor currently show up in my relationship with my partner?

  • What are some playful activities or traditions that my partner and I enjoy together?

  • How can I infuse more humor and lightheartedness into our relationship, especially during challenging times?

  • Reflecting on Brené Brown's insights, how does the concept of play resonate with me personally?

  • What are some specific ways I can prioritize play and laughter in my relationship moving forward?

Brené Brown has been a guest on several podcasts where she discusses the importance of play and its impact on various aspects of life. Here are some podcast recommendations where you might find Brené Brown talking about play:

  1. Unlocking Us with Brené Brown: Brené's own podcast, "Unlocking Us," often delves into topics related to vulnerability, courage, and resilience, which may include discussions on play.

  2. Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard: Brené Brown has been a guest on Dax Shepard's podcast, where they engage in candid conversations about life, relationships, and personal growth. You may find episodes where they touch upon the topic of play.

  3. The Tim Ferriss Show: Tim Ferriss, known for his in-depth interviews with experts across various fields, has featured Brené Brown on his podcast. They might have discussed the importance of play among other topics.

  4. SuperSoul Conversations: Brené Brown has appeared on Oprah Winfrey's "SuperSoul Conversations," where they explore spirituality, personal development, and living a meaningful life. Play could be one of the subjects they've covered.

  5. TED Talks Daily: While not strictly a podcast, Brené Brown's TED Talks are often featured on TED Talks Daily, where she shares insights on vulnerability, shame, and resilience, which may touch upon the role of play.

These podcasts provide valuable insights into Brené Brown's work and may include discussions on the significance of play in fostering creativity, resilience, and connection. Be sure to check their archives to find specific episodes where Brené delves into this topic.


As an AuDHD professional, as well as a counselor and writer, I navigate the intricacies of neurodiversity firsthand, championing diverse perspectives. In counseling, I foster a safe, inclusive environment that celebrates neurodiversity. Through my writing, I aim to enhance understanding and appreciation for the complexity of human cognition. By advocating for the rights and strengths of neurodivergent individuals, I am dedicated to fostering a world that embraces diverse experiences.


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