Does She Laugh With You?

Does she laugh with you?

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal why laughter & a sense of humor is one of the key components of a healthy relationship.

First a quick update:

“The Top Nine Tips to Help You Enjoy The Holidays”
Listen to the 45-minute interview I give to Jim Peake of about how to avoid arguments, fights and enjoy the Holidays; click here.

Now, let’s talk about laughter & a sense of humor and why it is critical to a successful and healthy relationship.

The 2009 motion picture, “The Ugly Truth” is a romantic comedy that features Katherine Heigl as Abby Richter, a romantically challenged morning show producer whose boss decides to hire a new correspondent to boost the show’s ailing ratings. The new correspondent is Mike Chadway (played by Gerard Butler) who has an extremely chauvinistic approach to relationships and uses his theories to help Abby find love and to try and win over Colin, a hunky man.  Mike Chadway has a simple outlook on relationships and believes that the ugly truth is that sex is the only bond in a relationship for men, they can’t change, and they only respond to women’s looks.

In one scene, Mike (Gerard Butler) and Abby (Katherine Heigl) are sitting in a coffee shop and Mike begins to coach Abby about what men want and what women need to do to win over men:

Mike: Rule number one: never criticize.
Abby: Even if it’s constructive?
Mike: Never. Men are incapable of growth, change or progress.
For men, self-improvement ends at toilet training.
And rule number two: laugh at whatever he says.
Abby: What if what he says isn’t funny?
Mike: That’s irrelevant.
A fake laugh is like a fake orgasm.
Abby: A fake orgasm is good?
Mike: No, but a fake orgasm is better than no orgasm at all.
Abby: A fake orgasm is no orgasm.
Mike: Only to you. You’re not the only person in the room, you know. Let’s not be selfish.
(Abby laughs and Mike is struck by the sound of her laughter.)
Mike: Now, that was perfect. You have a perfect laugh. Real or fake?
Abby: You’ll never know.
(Mike raises an eyebrow and is suitably impressed.)

Mike continues with more rules and yes, throughout the film there are numerous flaws in Mike’s theories about relationships as it is revealed that his chauvinism is motivated by a fear of becoming vulnerable and a fear of revealing his true self; Mike uses sex as a wall, as protection from being hurt and from falling in love. For example, Mike’s third rule is that men don’t want to hear the woman’s problems and they don’t care but, Mike does care about Abby and her problems.

Nonetheless, there is truth to some of Mike’s teachings, theories and rules. Yes, although no one likes to be criticized, men seem to be even more sensitive to women’s criticism since they are often seeking women’s appreciation. Mike also says “Men are incapable of growth, change or progress.” The ugly truth is that men are highly resistant to change. As I explain in my Newsletter from October 29, 2008, “Why don’t you change?” men do not want to change, don’t believe they need to change, don’t like to be told to change and will only change when they really have to – when the stakes are extremely high.

The second true teaching by Mike is that men want a woman who will laugh at their jokes; someone who will find them funny. As I reveal in my newsletter from April 12, 2007, “Healthy relationships”, there are there are five ingredients in a healthy relationship – Love, Friendship, Companionship, Sex and Intimacy.

In that newsletter, I also reveal that after the five major ingredients, there are six other elements that also play a significant role in building and keeping a relationship strong so that both partners feel loved and fulfilled.

1. Mutual concern

2. Joint Growth

3. Identity & Individuality

4. Open Communication

5. Supporting each other

6. Fun and a sense of humor

“Fun and a sense of humor are important to a successful and happy relationship. Many people think that as long as they have physical attraction and love, the relationship will be just fine.  Time and experience proves that theory to be false. As the years pass, a sense of humor will help keep a relationship alive and strong. Without fun and a sense of humor, partners may become critical and bitter towards each other.  As two people grow old together, the banter, wit and jovial discussions make their time more magical. Being able to laugh at yourself keeps love alive.” (From my book, “Soul Mates – Discovering, Sharing and Loving”)

Lou and Angie are friends of mine who have been married for over 42 years. I find it inspiring and uplifting to sit at their dinner table and watch Angie laugh at Lou’s jokes and comments about the stories he tells about his life and their life together. Angie related to me how she has been laughing with Lou from the day they met when she was just 18 years of age. Angie says that his ability to make her laugh is one of the reasons why she is so attracted to Lou and probably one of the key reasons they have been able to survive and overcome so many of life’s challenges and even some of its major disappointments.

Laughter has many benefits. It:

  • Reduces stress, tension and blood pressure
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Decreases systemic inflammation
  • Releases negative tension (physically and psychologically)
  • Aids in overcoming challenges in life by shifting one’s perspective
  • Raises hope
  • Brings you into the present moment – when you laugh you are focused on the moment and not on future worries

Bill Cosby says, “If you can find humor in anything, you can survive it.”

But in the movie, “The Ugly Truth”, Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler) was referring to more than laughter when he says “And rule number two: laugh at whatever he says.”

Laughing at someone else’s jokes, words and stories signifies acceptance. When a woman laughs at a man’s jokes or sayings she is expressing acceptance for him, reaffirming that she likes him as he is and that he has a positive effect on her.  He feels confident, proud, and free to express himself. She also becomes more attractive to the man because she is glowing, smiling, attentive and interested; her eyes and face light up, the walls come down, tension is relieved and freedom of expression is encouraged. Bonding begins. Seriousness is lifted and life, in the moment, becomes primarily about celebration, gratitude and feeling good.

Ask yourself which populates your relationship – criticism or laughter? When laughter shrinks and criticism expands, the relationship is dying. If you are a single man, ensure you team up with a woman who finds you funny and if you are a single woman, ensure you team with a man that you find funny and whom makes you laugh.

Laughter and joy are the opposite of sadness and depression, and laughter makes everyone feel good, particularly if you are the one generating the laughter.

If you are a woman seeking to find love, listen to my audio book, “Get the man you want”.

You can comment on this newsletter by visiting my blog or directly to this article.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.

Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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2 replies
  1. Avatar
    Paula says:

    When I first met my husband, he was clumsy and stuttered when he got nervous. Neither one of us was really attracted to the other one but we both liked the same things we discovered. Over the course of a few months we started dating and doing those things we liked-antiquing, hiking and going to the movies. In three years we were married, he is my best friend, someone I can confide in, my protector, my lover, and someone who is as goofy as I am!
    He makes me laugh, mostly at his silly impersonations and very dry jokes (yes I laugh at them because he makes them funny).
    It has been seventeen years since we decided to spend the rest of our lives together. We have two kids, two dogs, and four fish and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    Has it always been easy going, well, I am the patient one and I let a lot go, where he is the one who is more uptight and holds on to stuff longer. Like someone quoted once-life’s a dance, sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow. That is so true, he has been there to prop me up and give encouragement as well as a shoulder to cry on or a sounding wall to release my anger on when I feel I have been wronged.
    We did not get married in a church, it just didn’t work out for us to do so monitarily and logistically-I’m from the East Coast and there lies all my family.
    We grew up with the same moral values although two different sides of the Christian spectrum-he’s So. Baptist and I was raised Catholic.
    The main thing is that we rspect each other and over time we have learned how to express our anger or upset over what the other has done to wrong or what we have perceived as wrong done to the other person.
    The main thing though is laughter, we crack each other up and even when we fight we end up laughing at each other most of the time. He will say something wrong and try as I might to hold on to that angry moment, I can’t! We end up laughing over the silliest things and that keeps us strong. I have noticed when we can’t laugh at each other, that is when it gets tough to live with each other. He has tossed up the “D” word a time or two but that has usually been at the heat of the argument and fades away as our anger subsides. That doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, it just means we’re human and that marriage is hard work! It is the hardest and most fufilling thing I have ever done. I have a hard time in fact understanding those that don’t choose to marry and pick a lifetime partner. Part of me thinks that, that line of thought is so selfish and beyond comprehension. Not to say that I never thought I’d be where I am today and that I don’t totally get it, but it seems foreign to me now.
    I saw the Ugly Truth and had to take it at face value because I know that men truly do not act like Mike Chadway-at least not totally. I have had men friends that were that shallow, but thankfully there were not too many of them! I think men are awesome and I love that boyish quality that they have when it comes to humor, especially when they can laugh at the circumstance or themselves. If you can’t laugh at that, then what can you laugh at?

    • Avatar
      Patrick Wanis says:

      Dear Paula,

      Wow! What a great story. Yes, it is inspiring to hear that you and your husband are devoted to each other and your marriage and that he makes you laugh and that you are both goofy! Well done!

      It is also powerful for others to read your story and know that marriage takes hard work but is so rewarding.
      Incidentally, it does not matter that you are Catholic and he a Baptist; what matters is that you both share the same values – the same morals. But I am sure you now recognize that.

      Again, thank you for sharing your story with everyone!
      All the best,

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