8 Comedy Rules That Could Save Your Marriage

Adriana Velez | Aug 17, 2015 Love & Sex

How is marriage just like comedy? Well, both can be hilarious. But in her new book, Take My Spouse, Please: How to Keep Your Marriage Happy, Healthy and Thriving by Following the Rules of Comedy, comedienne and actress Dani Klein Modisett shows us so much more.

Here are just some of the comedy rules Modisett says can make your relationship happier, and help you both hang in there for the long haul.


Image via Dmytro Zinkevych/shutterstock

  • Your Timing Matters


    "One woman who had been married for 23 years gave some good examples of micro-level timing: 'I don't talk about property taxes during the Super Bowl, and Steve doesn't talk to me about where the boys are going to middle school when I've lit my vanilla soy candle and am up to my neck in bubbles.'"

  • Listen Carefully


    "In the real world, we often have to engage in low-level denial ignoring certain realities to keep our jobs, get along with coworkers, or keep peace with extended family. But live comedy is supposed to be a better experience. So is marriage, without the two-drink minimum ...

    If you don't take the time and focus to tell the truth and listen to each other in a marriage, the two of you can get swallowed up in one big ball of unheard feelings that congeals into an impenetrable orb of resentment. I've never heard of anyone laughing from inside a congealed ball of resentment."

  • Show Up Even When It's Hard


    “One of my favorite comics, Janeane Garofalo, used to do a bit about how much she preferred dating to any more consistent interaction with men. She referred to dating as a ‘greatest hits’ album.

    Marriage, however, is not a ‘greatest hits’ situation. Long-term marriage is the whole album plus the outtakes. It includes the experimental cuts, maybe some sad, atonal songs, and a few crazy hopped-up whiny passages where you’re sure the CD is damaged and wonder why you bought it … Long-term marriage means being present and staying with your spouse. And then staying some more.”

  • Know Your Audience


    "Trying to change your spouse is like doing your retirement account material to a room full of college kids and then blaming them for not getting your jokes and stomping off the stage cursing. Getting angry because you can't accept who people are, and where they are, whether it's an audience or a party of one, your spouse, does not work."

  • Hang Out With Winners


    "Complaining is easy. Spend time with people who don't." 


  • Change Things Up


    "Just like any comedian worth the price of admission, you don't want to let yourself and your marriage fall into a rut. You don't have to jump out of a plane -- just challenge yourselves a little. Or, as the comedians say, write some new material.

    No ruts, all glory."

    More from The Stir: Communicating With Your Spouse This Way Can Make Your Marriage Hotter & Happier

  • Give 'Em What They Want


    "Sex is to marriage what jokes are to an audience: Without it, the natives get restless."

    More from The Stir: 10 Sex Hacks You Need to Try Tonight

  • One Bad Night Is No Reason to Quit


    "For years, every time Tod [Modisett's husband] and I had a fight, I'd think it's surely the end, or it should be. And yet we've hung in there for 13 years. In fact, now, usually two days after a fight, I can't tell you what 90 percent of them were about ... Fighting in marriage for some of us must be like giving birth for most women: we forget the gory, painful details so we can keep doing it."