You give him crap every time he puts on those busted boxers. He calls you his little lumberjack on account of your incessant snoring. And it may be the healthiest thing for your relationship.
Being the butt of a joke can sometimes sting, and there's certainly a difference between playful ribbing and cruel cutdowns. But the lighthearted inside jokes that punctuate a healthy relationship are exactly what makes it seriously awesome, and here's why.
When you laugh with someone, all your stress melts away
Studies show that laughter lowers your stress hormones and blood pressure, and is even as relaxing as meditation. "Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations [and] helps you connect with other people," explains the Mayo Clinic. Less stress means fewer fights over who did the dishes last, and more time finding new things to eat and watch together.
No wonder Appalachian State University researchers found that couples who have a lot of hilarious memories are the most satisfied. "When people laugh at the same thing, they validate each other's opinions," Dr. Doris Bazzini told Prevention. "And inside jokes or pet names -- things others just don't 'get' -- strengthen ties between couples."
You argue more effectively
Whether it’s that vein that bulges in your forehead or the way you flail your hands when you’re trying to make a point, you’re funny when you’re mad -- and your partner is sure to point that out every time things get heated between you two.
Getting called out when you’re trying to make a serious point is about as fun as learning that your bae lost your favorite hoodie, but there's actually a great benefit: Couples who tease while they’re arguing resolve their differences better, according to Dr. Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at UC Berkeley. Breaking the tension allows you guys to weather storms that may seem unbearable, like when he actually has to go to that coed baby shower with you.
You may get each other sick less often
Some research has indicated that laughing can boost your immune function, and the aforementioned stress-reduction effects could save you from catching a cold. It’s hard to go on sweet dates or have fun in the bedroom when one or both of you are oozing snot.
So don't take yourselves too seriously, and you may be in a better position to make other people sick with your public displays of affection.
The sex is better
Speaking of fun in the bedroom, stress is a total libido-killer for both women and men. Dr. Gil Greengross of the University of New Mexico explains that a sense of humor makes you more attractive, and Dr. Robert Provine of the University of Maryland agrees that laughing boosts intimacy.
Joking around leads to some pretty hot romping around, and isn't that all the reason you need?
You defuse problems before they explode
It drives you crazy that his car is a pig sty. He's mad that you two can’t have a date night without you texting your BFF all night long.
Fortunately, these issues may never reach full-on barnburner status because you joke about them before things get too real. As we mentioned before, you'll have healthier disagreements if you two can laugh about them -- but you also may have fewer disagreements, because humor is a great way to deflect annoyance. "Sometimes just laughing and saying, 'Here we go again,' can do wonders," writes Dr. Margaret Paul, a psychologist and bestselling author.
Joking about your bae's bad habits (while not insulting them) gives you the perfect chance to voice how you really feel without getting in trouble -- because, after all, you are just kidding.