Someone once referred to me as being a "Training Junkie." I'm sure I've been called worse, and actually I must admit I do enjoy going to conferences and workshops and seminars to increase my knowledge and, hopefully, skills base. I tell you this to explain why I went to Phoenix last week and attended a two day training to become a "Certified Laughter Leader". That's likely not a title you are familiar with, but I am pleased to now carry the designation. It's not about the credentials as much as it is about me now realizing more than ever the vital part that humor and laughter play in one's overall sense of wellbeing, life satisfaction and, of course, marriage.
The training was sponsored by the World Laughter Tour which is headed up by the incredible Steve Wilson. Steve is a psychologist, speaker and author, living in Columbus, Ohio. His preferred title is the Cheerman of The Bored of World Laughter Tour, Inc. and he is also the Director of National Humor Month.
While at the training I glanced at several books which Steve has authored. One book in particular that caught my attention is called "Toilet Paper, Toothpaste, and Tuna-Noodle Casserole: Observations and Advice on Love, Marriage, and Authentic Intimacy from a Psychologist Who's On The Practice-Makes-Perfect Program". I asked Steve to select a couple of excerpts from the book to share with you today.
A Funny Valentine Could Be Serious (Part 1)
Pet names, private jokes, whimsical gifts, and shared fantasies are the games of love. In an extensive study, William Betcher, M.D., discovered much about how and why lighthearted play and humor can kindly, renew, and reaffirm romance, ease stressful situations, help solve problems, circumvent crises, and add excitement to our relationships. He maintains that humor is important not only for the pure pleasure it offers, but for the loving way it allows you to deal with trouble spots.
Jim Pelley, a humorist in Sacramento, California, suggests several specific ways a man can humorize his love life. There is absolutely no reason why a woman couldn't use these ideas, too.
•Waltz her around the room while you hum her favorite song.
•Ask her what's the matter in your best Pee Wee Herman voice.
•Leave little surprise notes around the house for her, such as, in the freezer: "Honey, the meatloaf was great!" or, about 100 pages ahead of the bookmark in her bedside mystery: "I don't know whodunit, but I'd like to do it with you."
•Slip a new tape into her car stereo if she's been complaining about traffic jams on the way home.
•Carve a heart encircling your initials in the bar of soap she takes to the gym.
•Put a candy bar in her briefcase if you know she loves chocolate.
•Underneath the bread in the sandwich she takes for lunch: "I love you!"
From the first meeting to courtship, marriage and beyond, it is apparent that a sense of humor and an element of playfulness is vital. Clearly, improving your laugh life will improve -- or save -- your love life, make you more attractive, and bring satisfaction to your intimate relationships.
Here is my best tip for marriage: Pam and I try to maintain a sense of humor about our marriage. I don't try to run her life, and I don't try to run mine, either. That works out real well! (And Henny Youngman is our favorite marriage counselor.)
Allow me to interrupt Steve's thoughts just for a moment. Henny Youngman is likely unknown to many of you reading this, but he is well represented on You Tube. For a taste of what comedy used to look like you might just take a few moments and watch some clips. Ok, now here's more from Steve:
A Funny Valentine Could Be Serious (Part 2)
"Love may make the world go around but it's laughter that keeps us from getting dizzy." -- Donald Zochert
"I kissed my first girl and smoked my first cigarette on the same day. I haven't had time for tobacco since." -- Arturo Toscanini
"The most difficult years of marriage are those following the wedding." -- Unknown
"A relationship without humor is like shaking hands with gloves on." -- Sherry Suib Cohen
Over the years I have worked with thousands of singles and couples who are searching for answers to an eternally contemporary question, "When the weight of daily responsibilities drags us down to grim seriousness, how can we recapture the color and exuberance we once enjoyed?" Even in relationships that are comfortable, when you know everything is okay, you can get to feeling bored by the predictability of the same old thing. The answer may be easier and more fun than you might expect.
The great abundance of books, articles, and TV investigations by Geraldo, Sally, Phil, Oprah, Jerry, Tom, Dick & Harry have tried to find the answer which may be as plain as the nose on your face. It isn't really news that a successful relationship requires effort. You cannot take it for granted; you have to nurture and care for it. But this is what I find fascinating: one of the most important ingredients for keeping the spice, spark and sizzle in your love life is a good sense of humor and taking time for fun.
I'm back again and so thankful for the encouraging and wise words from Dr. Steve Wilson. You can find out more about Steve by visiting his websites stevewilson.com, humormonth.com, or worldlaughtertour.com. You could also call him at 800-669-5233. I know he'll be glad to hear from you. Also, Steve will be my guest on tomorrow's TWOgether as ONE radio program on KLJH 107.1FM from 6-6:30 p.m. We'll be discussing a concept he developed called Good Hearted Living and much more -- I hope you can join us then.