Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Humor, Intimacy, & Golden Anniversaries

You want to reach your Golden Wedding Anniversary? Than laugh with your partner, a lot. A great deal of evidence suggests that this is one of the strongest predictors of relationship health. One study conducted by Krystyna Aune in 2002 explored the relationship between the level of playfulness in a relationship and relationship satisfaction, and not surprisingly she found that the more couples incorporated lighthearted and playful behavior into their relationship patterns the happier they reported being. Aune found that people who were quick to use playfulness and humor in life tended to have higher levels of self-esteem, and also experienced higher levels of other positive emotions in their lives such as joy as a result of their lighthearted attitude towards life.

Playfulness in a relationship can also produce better levels of intimacy and greatly increase sexual satisfaction in a relationship. One wonderful movie that explores the relationship between sexuality, humor, and attitudes about sexuality in old age is called Still Doing It
which explores the sex lives of women over the age of 65. This movie includes a great deal of material of how humor bonds people together and is one of the tools that promotes a healthy sexual life for people, even as their physical bodies may be in decline. With the fastest growing population in the United States now consisting of people over 85, this film is a must see for anyone who wishes to better understand how the things such as our sexuality that make us uniquely human don't simply disappear as we age. The film also makes the point that having a good sense of humor is one of the strongest allies we have as our physical bodies change, even as we cope with the changes and loss that aging inevitably brings.

Through my own work in Nursing Homes throughout the years, I can assure you that sexuality is indeed one of the last things to go, and many people who work in Nursing Homes will tell you that in terms of sexuality these places are often more like college dormitories than hospitals. Many of the stories from my book Stories of Hope and Courage, including this one called "Love conquers all"
talk about how romance often thrives in a Nursing Home, and as a caregiver this was always inspiring and often deeply touching to see. Much like is probably true for Junior Highs, dating events, nightclubs, and any other places people go to meet one another, humor is the catalyst that often brings people together.

On a personal note to emphasize this idea, my grandfather Hank just passed away at the age of 90. He was one of the funniest men I ever knew, and his outlook on life helped instill in me a lighthearted template for life which I hope I will always be able to remember. He was married to my grandmother Lee for 67 years, and I have no doubt that the humor and laughter between them was one of the best reasons they were able to reach their Golden wedding anniversary and much, much more. A person could fill their home with books on maintaining relationships, but not find a simpler recipe for marital success than being able to consistently laugh at life's little moments together. This was the secret of my grandparent's success, and a lesson I hope I'll continue to remember.

P.S-- Special thanks to Ron Davidson who sent me this link to a band called "The Zimmers" singing The Who song "My Generation." This is a wonderful example of how humor doesn't decline with age, check it out!!!!!


Jeremy Jacobs said...

Humour to psychology!

Divinius said...

Very good your blog.

I live in the street of the nothing
That one that nobody sees
But that all step on
It has seen for the infinite
E finishes where the soul starts...

Ron Davison said...

Well said.
In that vein, you'd probably get a kick out of this hilarious video about the zimmers, the world's oldest rock and roll band.

Dr. Joe Guse said...

Thanks for your comments guys. Ron, that video is hilarious. I get so much great information from fellow bloggers and I am going to go back and provide a link to that video which is fantastic, thanks!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Joe- Long lost Cousin Holly here from the inferno that is burning all around me, no not Hell---Idaho. It's been a real pleasure reading your stories on the net. I comment to Vicki and Marlene about what a gut roll I get out of reading them. This last blog about Grandpa Hank was sensational!! Continue to do well write your stories (true or not) I love them!!!

generic cialis said...

I agree. I think laughter is the solution to most of the problems and the key to a happy marriage.