Marriage enhancement through humor
The primary goal of this research was to study what was known about bonding and humor in order to add new knowledge about the connections between these two phenomena. The researcher surveyed a number of fields for insights into the importance and use of humor in couples. These included research and writings in humor, mate selection, marital cohesion, bonding, and the physiological effects of laughter. Exceedingly little can be found that directly connects humor and bonding, and no information was found about methods of developing and increasing couples' ability to bond through humor. The researcher's initial qualitative study of 4 couples demonstrated that humor plays a significant role in helping partners deal with daily stresses in a way that increases their closeness. Utilizing insights from this research, the researcher developed a psycho-educational seminar to help couples recognize and use bonding humor. Eighteen non-distressed couples took the seminar, and quantitative data were collected from 15 couples. Pre- and post-seminar questionnaires developed by validated research and with additional items from the present researcher demonstrated statistically significant increases in humor generation and reception, proximity seeking, and use of bonding humor that lasted at least 30 days after the seminar. The implication is that the use of bonding humor can be taught as a relationship skill, at least to some groups.