So, you’re married, and a few months, years, or even decades have passed. You’re still hanging in there, still holding on to the love, but are you still having fun?
Volumes of books have been written about the intricacies of the marital relationship. Lectures, seminars, conferences, and sermons have been orated and presented on the importance of effective communication, honesty, intimacy, and healthy financial unity. Much can be said about these hotbed topics which are often marriage makers or breakers. However, within the great discourses exploring the philosophical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional bonds of the marital union, one simple aspect of lifelong commitment is often overlooked.
Imagine having a friend who watches movies with you and laughs at all your corny jokes. Could you see yourself strolling through the park and enjoying a carefree afternoon with someone you love? Perhaps you enjoy dining out at restaurants or cheering on a favorite sports team and doing so with someone special by your side. Maybe you prefer doing nothing at all, but with the one person who wouldn’t mind doing the same.
Wait, you say. All that sounds like dating. You know, dating, when you first meet someone and you go out and get to know each other while doing something fun! Well here’s a secret: dating should not stop after you walk down the aisle. In fact, dates with your spouse should just be getting started! You have agreed to a lifetime partnership with your significant other. Why not let fun, both spontaneous and planned, be part of your journey together? What good is it to your well-being to have a partner helping you to pay the bills and raise the kids if you can’t have fun together as well?
We hear about girl’s night out, and game night, and spa days, and other times that we spend nurturing ourselves by ourselves or with a group of friends, but when is the last time you nurtured yourself with your spouse? When is the last time you joined along with his or her hobby, or made attempts to find a new hobby together? Play a board game. Plan a trip. Read and discuss a novel or a comic strip or a sci-fi movie. Get creative.
There will always be bills to pay and dishes to clean. Children and jobs can complicate schedules and sap energy. However, the same way we make time in our planners to go to the pediatrician’s office or figure out whose night it is to load the dishwasher, we have to make time for fun. We have to build it into our schedules and weave it into the threads that bind our unions. Remember that a friendship, a marriage that is bound by laughter and play, is one that is not easily broken.
This article is intended for general education purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling or medical care. If you are interested in seeking professional counseling, please contact The Stone Foundation by clicking here, or by phone at 410-296-2004.
Leslie J. Sherrod is a mental health clinician with The Stone Foundation and the author of several novels. Her work includes Losing Hope and Without Faith, the first two books of the groundbreaking “Sienna St. James Series;” Secret Place, which was featured on CBS and NBC affiliates as addressing mental health issues in the African American church community; and Like Sheep Gone Astray, which received a starred review from Booklist and was featured on AOL’s Black Voices. She is also a contributor to the bestselling A Cup of Comfort devotional series and has a short story, “The Jericho Band” available exclusively on Amazon Kindle. Leslie was recognized with the SORMAG Readers Choice Award as Christian Author of the Year (2012).