Important key in marriage: fun and spontaneity
When talking to engaged or newly married couples, it doesn't sound thrilling to advise them that marriage is work, but truly it is. Something many are surprised to find out is that you have to actually work on remembering to have fun. It seems sort of like an oxymoron but the thing is, admist bill paying and cleaning and running the kids here and there you do have to actually remind yourselves to have fun.
Teeb and I have been married for 20 years but it's nothing for us to have a wrestling match, or a tickle fight of all of sudden. We play a lot of very silly games that I sometimes wonder if we'll still actually do when we are 60...70...80?
One game is, "I have the upper hand." This all started well over 20 years ago. We would get into a debate about something and go back and forth, arguing our points. Mid-debate, one of us would think we won and say, "alright, I have the upper hand on this..." and we'd shoot our hand in the air. At one point, Lar did that and I jumped up and shot my hand up in the air and said, "no I have the upper hand!" and so he jumped up higher than me and stuck his hand above mine and said, "no I do" and we just kept going, trying to out jump each other. So we have gotten into debates before at night talking before going to sleep and I have even shot up out of bed and stuck my hand in the air and screamed, "I have the upper hand" to which Teeb will get out and do the same thing until both of us are jumping on the bed screaming, 'NO, NO, NO, I HAVE THE UPPER HAND!" In case you are wondering, none of that is serious, it's all a HUGE JOKE, but we have had a lot of fun with it over the years. That's just one of our many crazy things we do and then we start busting up laughing and sometimes I'm laughing so hard I'm crying or falling off the bed, the couch, or my chair depending on where we are.
Both of us are really competitive people. Sometimes this can get a lih-tle crazy! One time we were playing a board game with a bunch of couples at a friend's house and it was one of those "girls against the guys" games of pictionary. In saying our "guesses" out loud one of the ladies guessed correctly but our team didn't get the point because Larry said they couldn't hear her. Me being the competitive woman I am, from then on when I had a guess, I started screaming it so loud, the whole neighborhood could hear and encouraged my whole team to do so. The screaming of these ladies was so deafening, the guys were holding their ears and begged us to please stop because we were about to shatter some glass or at least give them a headache. I said, "fine then, give us the point back or we keep screaming our answers to guarantee that we are heard." (They did but not before we fell over in piles of laughter over it.)
Why do affairs seem so attractive to some people? Realize that things are seemingly so enchanting with the person they are having the affair with because they only do all the fun things with them. There is no bill paying, no late night feedings of a screaming newborn, no disciplining the kids, no carpools, no bathroom cleaning. No, it's just all fun and games. If they left their marriage for that person and then started to do all of the mundane things of life with them suddenly the relationship wouldn't seem so perfect anymore.
Teeb and I remind ourselves all the time to have fun and get a little crazy at times. We build it into our week, especially every Friday which is "fun Friday", our day off. And we don't confine fun to Fridays. We take advantage of every opportunity to do things together.
Fun has new meaning throughout your years together. Fun when we were in our late teens and twenties were concerts where our ears were ringing afterwards and we were tired from jumping up and down. We still enjoy concerts. However twenty years later, sometimes silence is fun. :-) After being a mother for 18 years and having lots of noise in the house and also being in ministry where the phone rings constantly and somebody is always tracking me down, fun is sometimes solitude. Larry and I have gone from two young people who fell in love and raced from rollercoaster to rollercoaster at amusement parks, to two 40-somethings who are content now to get a Coke and sit on a bench and talk to each other for a while or go see a show. It's not that we aren't adventurous anymore, however it has new meaning to us. Now that we have long work weeks and come home to more work, and a never ending list of responsibilities, we find joy in just laying on a beach blanket together and going to sleep with our toes in the sand. Rollercoasters are definitely not the pre-requisite for fun anymore.
The key is living outside the lines of our daytimer at times. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. My kids are now 18, almost 16 and 10. There are times Lar says, "hey let's go to a diner" in the middle of the night. It's nice because we've gotten to a point where our oldest is responsible and can take care of things at home. There are other times we wake up in the morning on Saturday and we had a full agenda of work to do and Larry says, hey - just pull on a t-shirt and shorts and let's go down to New York bagels and get a bagel and hot tea and talk for a while. So we put our work aside for an hour and we do.
Other times he buzzes me at the end of the day in my office and says, "hey, let's not clean out the garage like we planned to tonight. Let's go home and change clothes and watch a movie..." so we do. I forget about the messy garage. I put off the load of laundry I was going to do or the writing project I was going to start and save those for the next night. This is not always easy for me to do (mentally) because I'm a person who likes to get my work done. But I have to remember, my marriage is important work!
Sometimes it can be a crazy hour of the day or night and we decide to go take a long walk together...
get in the jacuzzi together....
get tickets to a concert...
go to the beach...
or simply join the other in the shower.
Whatever the case, it's important to keep the spontaneity and fun and games alive in a marriage. Allowing yourself to get to a point where you do chores and tasks and raising kids together and nothing else will absolutely kill a relationship. You have to remember to laugh, and put aside the work at times and enjoy some fun and relaxing moments together. Don't leave it to chance - the opportunity seldom if ever just presents itself on it's own.