Do you get annoyed when he teases you about being clumsy or talking too much? Do you wonder if you married one of the Three Stooges when he tells a rehearsed joke with crass body language? Do both of you sit at the kitchen table slinging sarcastic remarks at each other? It’s time to consciously use humor as a strategy to charm him, not alienate. Humor can make your marriage happier than ever! Allow yourself to explore his comic range and you just might like it. You will discover that men use humor to achieve status and women laugh at men’s jokes to show appreciation. Now reverse the roles: When men laugh at women’s jokes and women produce the humor there is truly a happy blend.
Neuroscience explains that what makes you laugh is not only subjective, but based on gender. Women are self-mocking and use improvised humor. This makes sense because women are caregivers and nurturers and use this style of humor to cope with the never-ending stream of little emergencies. Research shows that for women self-deprecating humor actually lowers their blood pressure! On the other hand, men do not make fun of themselves because they link laughter to status. Making fun of themselves would lower their status and reduce their dominance while making fun of others increases their status. Men usually tell a rehearsed joke because of a guaranteed response.
If you want to charm the man in your life and make him feel on top of the world, laugh at his jokes. You know the way you did when you were first going out together when everything he said made you giggle. An extra incentive: He will be eager to please you and do stuff around the house. Understanding his style of humor can make him more endearing as well as reveal important clues about how to be in-sync with him.
- He loves slapstick humor like the Simpsons and Tim Allen:
He is a fixer! Laughing at life’s absurdities is linked to enhanced problem solving. He’s happiest when fixing something for you!
Boost your relationship by releasing your inner child. Ask yourself: what would Lucy do?
Be a clown, tickle his funny bone and if you must, get out your water gun or have a pillow fight. A belly laugh will do you some good – just ask Norman Cousins!
- He delivers a direct punchline like Why did the chicken cross the road? He’s dynamic and refreshingly to the point. He hates to sit still, loves variety and has a quick mind. Boost your relationship by speaking to him in direct, concrete language. Get to the point in two minutes or less. He won’t pick up on your metaphors or connotations.
- He teases you mercilessly and his humor often has a bit of an edge: He is unconventional. He loves to break the rules, stir things up and most importantly, looks for your reaction. Sarcasm is how he tests the waters because he is afraid of failing and not earning your approval. Boost your relationship by beating him to it! Poke a little fun at yourself, “Oh, what a klutz am I?” to encourage him to ease up on himself and open up to you. This will lower your blood pressure and his!
- He tells a rehearsed, narrative joke: He’s organized. He loves those long jokes involving at least three different people because he is detail-oriented and determined to achieve. To boost your relationship try to beef up your joke-telling skills. Practice telling a rehearsed joke three times in 24 hours – while he’s in earshot. He will be so impressed! Work as a team: Divide up the labor into areas of specialty. Let him handle his areas of expertise and you handle yours.
- He laughs at himself. This guy is definitely a man of the times because he is in touch with his feminine side and easy to be open with. He will listen to you attentively and process what you say. You can be yourself and he will do his fair share around the house. Boost your relationship by appreciating him and complimenting him liberally, especially if his humor is self-deprecating. He doesn’t know his own worth.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com