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11 Ways to Laugh With Your Spouse During the Holidays

With holidays come unavoidable travel (even if it's just cross town and all you have to do is keep the sweet potato soufflé from tumbling over), more time than usual with in-laws, worrying about kids off in rooms with cousins you can't see, Grandparents whose memories and continence are failing and excessive amounts of alcohol to fuel the flames of disappointment all around. The next month can become one swirling tornado of marital squabbles where thoughts like, "Why did I ever marry this person and into this psych ward of a family?" are a daily occurrence.

So what better time for tips on how to laugh more with your spouse? It's that or stab each other with the toothpick that formerly held your olives in your martini and see who draws blood first.

There is a better way to navigate all this stress than coming to blows over whose family takes priority, whose responsibility is it to make the "Tofuham" for Aunt Trudy or who is sleeping in the doggie bed at Grandma's house. Here are tips for making sure you lighten up together and find some holiday cheer. Or at least not come to blows.

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1. Show up even when you don't want to

Even if the gathering is a total disaster—someone throws up or, you know, a holiday roast falls off the tray onto Grandpa's lap, ripping the respirator off his face—it'll make a great story for years (generations?) to come.

2. Dress comfortably and attractively

Make the effort to upgrade your look in some way. A sparkly necklace here, a pair of real shoes there, a little festive gesture. Despite what weight-loss magazines say, don't wear waistbands that are too tight. It will make you cranky.

3. Go easy on the alcohol

No wants a scene from "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" Avoid hysterics by limiting yourself to one or two drinks. This also shortstops hangovers. It's hard to laugh with a splitting headache and feeling like you need to barf.

4. Find a common enemy

Nothing unifies a couple more than shared contempt. Doesn't have to be a person, it can be gluten-free stuffing.

Stop in the middle of screaming at each other and say, "Holidays are stressful, if we keep screaming like this then the terrorists have won!"

5. Get some fresh air

Take a break from all the trips down memory lane (aka: rehashing of bitterness and resentments). Instead, grab your spouse and go for a walk. Hold hands.

6. Have sex after everyone goes to sleep

7. Have sex before everyone wakes up

8. Eat breakfast with extended family around you

Even with those who haven't had sex in the last 24 hours or, perhaps, the last 24 years. Smile at your spouse from across a crowded kitchen.

9. Be grateful that you are still a person who is ...

Neither too old, too bitter, nor too single to have sex with someone you know.

10. If you fall into the trap of holiday fighting ...

Stop in the middle of screaming at each other and say, "Holidays are stressful, if we keep screaming like this then the terrorists have won!" It doesn't make sense and, given the current stresses it's even in bad taste. But it might make you pause long enough to get some perspective on whatever was so important when the fight started.

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11. Repeat numbers 6-9

Happy Holidays, my brave, married friends. See you on the other side.

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