Don’t Forget To Laugh
How Humor Can Help (or hurt) Your Relationship
Several weeks ago, a very nice couple came to see me for some marriage counseling. They are both attractive and they seem to love each other very much. They have two children and they have been married for about twenty-eight years.
They came to see me because they have some questions about the best ways to parent their kids. In addition, like many couples who come to see me, they have some difficulty communicating with one another and they sometimes feel as if they are not doing a good job of working together as a team.
Unlike some couples who come to see me for marital therapy, it does not appear that their relationship is in serious trouble or in a crisis that could jeopardize its survival. Their problems are minor.
As I explained to this husband and wife, it seems like they need a tune up, as opposed to an engine overhaul. I met with each of them individually first. I almost always do this when I treat couples since it gives me a chance to take a clinical history and get to know them each a bit. Also, if there is a lot of tension and anger between the members of the marital dyad, it is often best to keep them separated for a while.
During the third session we all met together. We solved a few problems regarding their children and the couple did a good job of cooperating with me and with each other.
Toward the end of the session, the wife said that sometimes she dislikes the fact that her husband curses when he gets upset or a little angry. Her husband, who works in civil engineering replied, “Honey, I’m a construction worker. What do you expect?”
We all had a good laugh about this remark. I enjoyed it so much that I am writing this week’s column about it.
Humor is an important tool in the therapy process and if utilized properly by the doctor and the patients and can promote growth, better communication amongst couples, and healing. This man’s comment helped to remind his wife to focus on major problems and let go of some of the smaller things which may be wrong between them.
In addition, the man’s remark brought some additional levity to the situation and allowed our meeting to end on an upbeat note. Hopefully, we will carry this positive momentum into next week’s session.