When marriages suffer, there is one problem cropping up over and over again. It’s a problem that many people fail to address, and it’s one that often ends up destroying the marriage. The problem is simply this:
A lack of fun.
Having fun with your partner is one of the most important aspects of your relationship. Dating and having a good time is what brought you together in the first place. If you’re wondering why your relationship isn’t full of the passionand joy you used to have, it may very well be that you have let the fun die.
And when the fun dies, the entire relationship often goes with it.
Think about it. You can’t spend every single moment in your marriage talking about the heavy stuff, dealing with your issues, or worried about who is going to take care of what chores. When you do this, your whole relationship turns into one big problem after the other. That doesn’t give it much room to breathe.
If you were committed to a psychiatric hospital or if you were involved in a marathon session (therapy that continues for a day or two), you might expect to talk about your problems the entire time. In those settings it would make sense.
But you aren’t in a psychiatric ward. You’re out in the world. You aren’t in a marathon session. At this moment, you are out living your day-to-day life.
Talking about problems is important. In the context of your daily life, however, talking about them constantly is unhealthy and boring and is likely to stifle your marriage.
Similarly, spending every waking moment taking care of work and chores, or talking about who is going to take care of work and chores, is like starving your marriage of the vital nutrients it needs for survival.
I know you are busy. I know the pace of your world has picked up tremendously, and often you feel like you barely have time to breathe. Spending time doing something fun with your partner seems to be simply out of the question.
Let me ask you a question. Would you go to the local nursery, buy a delicate, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, expensive plant, and then proceed to put it inside a sealed glass jar and never water it or allow it the air it needs to survive?
Of course you wouldn’t. That would be foolish. If you had any investment in keeping the plant alive, you would give it air and water. You would tend to it and make sure it was thriving. You would take the time out of your day to nourish it and take care of it.
An equivalent nourishment of your marriage is having or creating fun experiences with your partner. Of course, you need to create the times for this to happen.
Now I know for some of you, going out and having a good time is complicated by your hurt
and angry feelings. Your bad emotions might feel so intense that you simply don’t think you can enjoy time with your partner.
Another problem for many of you is that you simply have no idea what to do together. You might have a hard time coming up with fun activities. Or, you might have a sense of what you like to do independently, but you have no idea what you could do together.
Have you found yourself in the situation where you answer, “I don’t know. What do you want to do?” And then you hear the same response from your partner. Neither one of you decides what to do for fun, so no fun is had at all.
If you find yourself in the first situation, where you have intensely bad feelings, for example if you are recovering from an affair, you are not going to be going out for fun right after the revelation.
As soon as possible, though, when you begin to feel some positive feelings, and when you can imagine that your time together won’t be all bad, try going out. You’ll never know if you don’t give it your best effort.
Start small. Don’t begin this process by taking your dream vacation together. Instead, start with something simple like going out together for a cup of coffee, or going for a walk in the park together. You can build your time and pleasurable activities together as your comfort level increases.
Be gentle with yourselves, but at the same time push to have some fun together. I know it’s hard at first, especially when you are dealing with so many difficult problems in your marriage. But if you let the fun die, you are only going to increase your problems.
For those of you who have a difficult time deciding what to do, or have a hard time coming up with creative date activities, I recommend brainstorming.
Look through your local paper, check in about events that are going on in your community, think about ways you can take advantage of your surroundings (living in the country versus the city will make a big difference in terms of the kinds of local activities you might find), and make a list of every single fun activity you can think of doing with your partner.
If you have a hard time getting started, here’s a sample list you can use to get your own creative juices flowing:
Free days at the local museum
Free concerts in the park
Family days at the local aquarium
Have a picnic with or without other friends
Have a barbeque with or without other friends
As you can see, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to go out and have fun with your partner. You can spend as much or as little as your budget allows. What’s more, you can spend more or less time having fun depending on what your schedules allow.
Rank order your list of activities in terms of what you would most like to do.
Ideally, your spouse will do the same exercise. Compare notes and consolidate this into a final list of fun activities you can try together.
When the time comes to go out on a date, look over your list and decide what you are going to do. If you have a hard time deciding, just pick the first thing on the list and
work your way down from there over the course of your dates.
Not every date is going to be a homerun. Some will be more fun than others. Try to look at this as an opportunity to spend time experimenting with the person you love most in the world. When you look at it that way, you can’t lose.
Use the dates as learning activities. If one of your activities doesn’t work out to be so much fun, you’ll know not to do that activity again. If another is a blast for both of you, you
could put that activity on your list of regulars.
The key here is to develop your own list of activities you enjoy together. Then go out and do them!
Going on dates, spending time enjoying your spouse is a fun way to save your relationship.
Let me know how it goes with you. I’d love to hear about your marriage. Post a comment to this blog by going simply by clicking the add comment below. As always I wish you all the best on your road to a wonderful marriage.