My wife and I love to dance! We’re not the greatest dancers, but we dance. If we are in a shopping mall and the music is perfect for a swing and a twirl, then we take a break and dance. We have been known to dance our way to the top of an elevator while people sigh and laugh and say they wish they had someone to dance with. If the music that catches our ear is slow, we will dance slowly. But we love faster tunes where we can twirl and spin under each other’s arms. I fold her into me, and then I spin her out. I lead, she follows, and for a few short moments, the tough realities we face go away. We are each other’s and it is evident we enjoy being a couple.
When our kids are with us, I think they get a little embarrassed. But I also think they secretly enjoy seeing the smiles on our faces and on those who stumble upon our romance. Now that our boys are teenagers, they are even getting into the act. We were at an open-air concert and James, our then thirteen year-old, stood up and started dancing with his mom. It is contagious. And it is fun.
Fun in marriage keeps a marriage from going stale. It keeps couples connected in a positive and relational way. Fun is isn’t something you merely tack on to your relationship as an extra; it is integral to the health of your marriage. Fun is more than the icing on the cake; it is a vital ingredient in the cake itself. You need fun and humor in your marriage.
Now, I know that if you’re in a stale or bitter state of marriage, the last thing you want to focus on is fun. I understand. It’s not going to happen instantly or easily. But just think back to the early days of your relationship. What did you do that was really fun for the both of you? Was it something that you have not done in years, like riding go-carts? Was it an event such as a live concert? Was it taking a walk in a favorite park? You must have done a number of things that created fun for the two of you.
Imagine what chill might be thwarted if you engaged your mate in that fun thing from the past. Think of the message that would send. It would say that you’re willing to try something risky or look foolish if it might add a new dimension to the relationship or even shake it up a bit. Just the attempt at putting some fun back into your relationship could cause your mate to see your marriage in a new light. A little humor and fun may be your best path to restoring or renewing or revitalizing a relationship. It could do wonders for the romance of your marriage.
As the following passages show, God deems fun and good humor to be vital ingredients to a full and healthy life.
- A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance but by sorrow of the heart, the spirit is broken (Proverbs 15:13).
- All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast (Proverbs 15:15).
- A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones (Proverbs 17:22)
Friendship forms the foundation for the fun and humor that make marriage enjoyable at times and endurable at others. If husbands and wives don’t nurture friendship, their marriage can fizzle into a kind of business relationship where daily responsibilities of career and children drain the emotional connection. According to marriage counselor and pastor Bill Hanawalt, “Couples that don’t give attention to developing their friendship often come apart.”
A primary characteristic of friendship is doing together the things you both like to do. When you were dating, you discovered you had common interests, and those were the things you did together. This is surely one reason—aside from your irresistible sexual magnetism, of course—that you were attracted to each other. So, the question is, do the two of you still do any of those things you did when you were dating? If not, have you replaced them with fun things more suitable to your age or physical abilities? Or, like so many married couples, have you allowed fun to fade into the background or even disappear into the clutter of cares, responsibilities, humdrum routines, or the so-called realities of life?
Start embracing friendship and fun in your marriage. Focus on the important things you have in common and share those activities to the fullest. Sit down with your spouse and make a list of five things you both love to do or used to do and agree you are going to schedule them over the next couple of months. Couldn’t we all use a little more fun in our lives?
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Steve Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries and host of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show, New Life Live! the founder of Women of Faith conferences and serves as a teaching pastor at Heartland Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Steve is a bestselling author of books such as Every Man’s Battle and Healing is a Choice. The above excerpt is from his book The 7 Minute Marriage Solution. Steve resides with his family in Fishers, Indiana.
Publication date: April 27, 2015