Humor Keeps This Couple Together

An old adage says, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Laughter, however, could also help couples avoid separation. This week, an image of a Michigan man’s wedding ring reached Internet virality on the website Reddit. The photo illustrated the couple’s sense of humor and raises questions about humor’s effect on married life.  

The Ring

Dan and Amanda Tallman were married in 2013. They now have three children together and live in Lake Orion. For their wedding, Mrs. Tallman had a surprise for her husband. While the couple was getting fitted for their rings, Mrs. Tallman slipped a note to an employee at the jewelry store. The note requested that the store engrave “put it back on” on the inside of the ring.

Mr. Tallman told the Daily Mail that he found the engraving funny and indicative of his wife’s personality. He said, “When I thought about it, it made sense, because it’s how Amanda is. Our relationship is one full of love and laughter and some good humorous jokes.”

The Groomsman

One of Dan Tallman’s groomsmen, Jordan Goddard, took a picture of the ring a year ago. However, he only recently posted his photo to the forum-based website Reddit. He included a brief description of the image, explaining, “This is just a slice of [his wife’s] humor.” The Huffington Post reported that the image received over 900,000 views.

Research Encourages Humor

Three researchers through the Universitatea din Bucuresti in Romania published a study investigating how humor effects marriage. The 2010 study looked at the difference between negative and positive humor as used by different couples.

Constructive, positive humor was shown to lead towards increased satisfaction in a relationship and a lower likelihood of divorce. Self-defeating humor inversely predicted separation. The study also elaborated a few gender differences. Men who used anti-social humor often had lower relationship satisfaction.

Local Data

Data published by MLive last November shows that divorce rates in Michigan seem to be declining.  The total number of divorces peaked in the early 80s. The total number of divorces has since decreased by about 7,000. In West Michigan’s Kent County (home to Grand Rapids), divorce rates have declined over the last six years. The numbers increased slightly in 2011, but divorce total went down overall.

Oakland County, where the Tallman’s live, has a higher population than Kent. The divorce rate there has been more consistent, steadily declining since 2010.

The Ultimate Irony

Humor seems to be an important part of the Tallman’s relationship. Mr. Tallman says that he rarely takes his ring off. If he does, it’s only to do chores around the house. Mrs. Tallman, however, was the one who misplaced her ring. She lost it for a few months before finding it again. This is something that Mr. Tallman sees the humor in. According to him, “All of [their] friends said that she put [the message] on the wrong ring.”

Mr. Tallman’s wedding has gained a lot of Internet traffic. This fact seems to encourage a new era of marital humor. The popularity of the image might not be caused by the ring’s inscription, but by the fact that both spouses enjoy the joke. Even though Mrs. Tallman was the one who took off her ring and forgot to “put it back on,” it appears she gets the last laugh.

Mack, J. (2015, Nov. 24). Look Up Divorce Rates In Your Michigan County. MLive. Retrieved Feb. 23, 2016, from http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2015/11/look_up_divorce_rates_in_your.html

Saroglou, V., Christelle Lacour, and Marie-Eve Demeure.  (2010). Bad Humor, Bad Marriage: Humor Styles In Divorced And Married Couples. DIAL. Retrieved on Feb. 23, 2016, from http://dial.uclouvain.be/handle/boreal:129843

Tempesta, E. (2016, Feb. 4). Put it back on’: Wife Engraves Cheeky Reminder On Back Of Husband’s New Wedding Ring. Daily Mail. Retrieved on Feb. 23, 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3432185/Put-Cheeky-reminder-engraved-husband-s-wedding-ring-wife-s-request-takes-internet-storm.html#ixzz3zHNZYi61