Eric Bana Laughs His Way into Smooth Marriage

08/26/2009 at 08:55 AM EDT

Eric Bana Laughs His Way into Smooth Marriage
Rebecca Gleeson and Eric Bana
Charles Sykes/REX USA
Eric Bana may not be known for comic roles, but that's only onscreen. Married to the former Rebecca Gleeson since 1997 and the father of two kids – Klaus, 10, and Sophie, 7 – the Australian star of The Time Traveler's Wife suggests there's really one ingredient for keeping relationships running smoothly: good, old-fashioned belly laughs.

"My wife and I really, really like each other as well as love each other," Bana, 41, tells Women's Health for its September issue, now on sale. "We definitely laugh together every day. And I don't mean chuckle – I can make her really laugh."

Not that he's suggesting a guy go solo in the guffaw department. "A girl's got to be fun," he insists. "It's the one bit of advice I always give to friends of mine who are thinking of getting married."

On the serious matter of choosing a partner, "I think love can come fairly easily and grow – but really liking the core essence of someone is a much harder thing to bottle. If you have both, you're in pretty good shape," he says, while also noting that women "are so much better wired than men to deal with multiple things at once. They're better at dealing with background noise and multitasking."

For instance? "If I'm writing something down while my wife wants to give me instructions for something else, I have to put my hand up and say, 'Let me finish my one task and then I will take the next.' It's weird."

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