Playing in the leaves

The stakes are high. If you’re married, there’s little if anything that has a bigger impact on your sense of wellbeing than the state of your relationship. Every marriage is the union of two sinners, which means you will face big challenges. Marriage takes regular investment of time and energy if it’s going to thrive. But some of that regular investment needs to be making sure there is fun in your marriage.

Friends enjoy each other. Your spouse should be your best friend, and friendship includes having fun. You’ve probably heard the adage “the couple who prays together stays together.” But there’s also strong scientific data to say that the couple that plays together is more likely to stay together too.

You may feel as though your marriage is too broken to have any fun. Having fun together can be an important way to reconnect and move your relationship forward. Lightening up at times and finding joy is a great investment in your friendship.

Here are a few ideas about putting fun back in your marriage.

How to Keep it Fun

Your personalities and lifestyle will have a lot to say about what means fun to you. But here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Fun for both of you. If one of you is having a good time and the other is dreading every second, your friendship is not being helped. While some fun activities will appeal to one of you more than the other, make sure your fun is something both of you can at least somewhat enjoy.
  • Be reciprocal. A friendship takes into account the personalities of both partners. Fun should be something you engage in regularly. Take turns with your spouse in choosing or initiating fun. And when your spouse chooses, stretch yourself to engage in something they enjoy. Choose to enter their world, and you may enjoy it more than you expect.
  • Don’t punish or embarrass. It’s possible to plan something “fun” that you know may embarrass or hurt your spouse. That’s passive aggressive; just don’t do it. You’re not teaching your spouse a lesson; you’re working to come closer together.
  • Think experiences, not money. Some of your most memorable times of fun are likely to not cost a dime. If you have extra money to spend on fun, that’s fine. Just know that a snowball “fight” may do more to cement your relationship than an expensive night of entertainment.
  • You initiate. If you’re the more spontaneous spouse, take the initiative to inject some fun into your relationship. Don’t keep score on how often you or your spouse comes up with something fun. Find something that you know will draw your spouse into the experience.

The Place of Fun in a Challenging Season

What if there are serious problems in your life or relationship? You can’t still have fun. (I’m not talking about when abuse going on. If that’s the case, get some help right away.) Having fun is not the only thing necessary to grow your relationship. Learning things such as forgiveness, communication skills, conflict resolution, character growth, and prayer are absolutely necessary. And life has a way of bringing troubles when you least expect it.

But periodically breaking away from the seriousness of life is good for your emotional health and your marriage. Doing something fun together builds memories that elicit a sense of bonding and connection between you, and you need that especially when things are challenging. Some of your date nights should be just for fun. Find other little ways during the week or month to lighten up. Your relationship will be stronger for it.

Some may worry that having fun means you are minimizing or ignoring real problems. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can explicitly agree together something like this: “For these two hours we’re just going to have fun. We’re not going to talk about problems; we will come back to that tomorrow.” (And make sure you do come back to addressing any challenges that are present.)

Few Fun Ideas

Here are a few ideas to get you started in thinking about something fun to do with your spouse.

  • Get outdoors. A hike up a mountain, a walk by the lake, a couple hours at the beach – God’s green earth is endlessly creative. Go out and enjoy it.
  • Recreate a memory. Think of something fun you did while dating, or earlier in your relationship. Go back to that restaurant. Give that gift again. Play your favorite song and dance in the living room.
  • Cook together. Food can be a lot of fun. Choose a meal you both would enjoy, perhaps using a meal service. Find the ingredients together, and prepare it together. (Afterwards, if you’re really adventurous, go outside and have a food fight with the leftovers.)
  • Old photos or movies. Get out the old pictures or movies that illustrate your years together. Play “remember when . . . ?” Look through them and talk about what you remember.
  • Enjoy your bodies. Who said physical intimacy had to be boring? Take a shower together. Get creative with strawberries, or whipped cream, or feathers. Dance naked in your bedroom. (Yes, that’s OK for all ages!) Enjoy each other.

Go ahead and put the fun back in your marriage! You might be surprised how much you enjoy it, and how much it strengthens your relationship with your spouse.

Your Turn: What will you do with your spouse that’s fun this week? Leave a comment below.

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  • Love can be fun. With all the seriousness and hard work of relationships, it’s important to put the fun back in your marriage. It will bring you closer together.   Tweet that.

Love is in Style Any Time

Download these 7 Tips for Husbands or 7 Tips for Wives – essentially free and very doable Love Challenges to do every day for a week. We originally created this for Valentine’s Day, and while it may not be Valentine’s Day season when you’re reading this, these tips can be fun ways to say I Love You! any week of the year.

God’s love provides the only glue that can truly hold a marriage together. We’ll also send you a 7-day devotional email series designed for couples to go through together.

Why not decide to begin your Love Challenge right now?

For HIM                                               For HER

As the six-year-old girl said, “If you love someone, hurry up and show it!”