Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint. And in between all of the highs, there are going to be some lows. When you’re in the throes of one of those unavoidable rough patches, a shared sense of humor can truly be a lifesaver.
Science says laughing together can be an indicator of how strong your relationship is. Although there isn’t a ton of research on the subject, a small 2015 study from Laura Kurtz and Sara Algoe at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill found a link between the amount of time couples spent laughing together and how supported and close they felt to one another.
Kurtz and Algoe recorded 71 heterosexual couples talking about how they first met. During the retelling, researchers tracked each couple’s shared spontaneous laughter and how long each of those instances lasted. Couples also completed a survey gauging the quality of their relationship. From this, Kurtz and Algoe learned that couples who spontaneously laugh together more often tend to also report feeling closer to and more supported by their partner overall.
Karl Pillemer ― author and professor of human development at Cornell University ― interviewed 700 Americans ages 65 and older for his book 30 Lessons for Loving. He, too, found that a shared sense of humor is one of the keys to a lasting relationship.
It might sound corny, but it’s true: a sense of humor really can be the glue that keeps a couple together when everything else is going badly. Marriage is no joke, but if you can laugh together, you’re on the right track.