God Wants Couples to Have Fun
The most important similarity between fun and romance is that both are God-created. And 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 nkjv).
- “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast” (Proverbs 15:15 nkjv).
- “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 nkjv).
Think back: Didn’t many of the things you once did together lead to “sporting”? Did you ever compete in a game with each other and then fall into each other’s arms afterward? Did you play pool or Ping-Pong and end up hugging and holding through a good laugh? Did you ride bikes or climb mountains and then find yourself falling exhausted in each other’s arms? Whatever it was, give it another chance. Sure, you might look foolish and embarrass yourself a little. But if it gets the two of you out of your self-obsession and into the fun and laughter mode, who cares?
Being a Friend with Your Mate
The idea that couples should have fun, laughter, and a good time with each other brings up an important facet of marriage I have not yet addressed —friendship between husband and wife. Surely you have heard this before, but let’s review what friendship means. Friendship is one of four kinds of love that humans experience. Its biblical name is “brotherly love” (philia in the Greek). The other three loves are affection (the Greek storge), sexual love (eros), and sacrificial love (agape).
Affection is the warmth and tenderness we feel toward another being. The object of affection can be a family member, a friend, or a pet. Sexual love (eros) is to be directed only toward one’s wedded mate. Sacrificial love (agape) is that deep love that sees the other as more important than the self and is willing to make great sacrifices, including one’s life, for the other. This love can be directed toward one’s mate, family members, friends, or even toward animals. We learn much about the high value of marriage when we realize that it is the only relationship on earth that embodies all four of these loves.
When friendship is present in marriage, it differs from sexual love in that instead of the mates focusing on each other, both focus on a common interest. Lovers look at and are absorbed by each other. Friends look together at some interest other than themselves. Competent sexual lovers say to each other, “What can I give to you to increase your joy and pleasure?” Friends say to each other, “Let’s direct our focus toward that object or activity we both enjoy. Let’s have fun together.”
Friends Enjoy Things Together
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 in the clutter of cares, responsibilities, humdrum routines, or the so-called realities of life?
I have heard some couples complain that over the years they have grown apart, and they no longer have in common those things that first drew them together. Well, I agree that we all grow and change as we mature. When people marry young, as the majority of couples do, these changes may be dramatic, as both are still discovering themselves and defining who they are. This can mean diverging interests, but it need not mean the couple drifts apart. Even if you develop widely different interests, each of you can make it a point to show interest in the other’s pursuits. And you can maintain a firm grip on those things in common that initially drew you together. No one can be alike in every way, but everyone can focus on the important things they have in common and share those activities to the fullest.
Active Fun Increases Intimacy
One of the biggest complaints I hear in marriage is a lack of sexual intimacy. The bottom line is that activity and exertion outside the bedroom often lead to more sexual activity in the bedroom. I have done a couple of book projects with Bill and Pam Farrel. In their book Red-Hot Monogamy, they tell us that couples increase intimacy when they engage together in fun activities that involve bodily exertion. Instead of letting your dates get stuck in the rut of going out to eat and to the movies, plan dates that involve physical activity of some kind.
Things to Do if Your Spouse is Resistant to Having Fun
- The fun stops when bitterness and resentment rules, so make sure nothing you are doing or have done is unresolved between you and your spouse.
- 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.
- If finances are a concern, start saving for whatever you can afford even if all you can afford to do initially is rent some old movies you saw together and loved.
- Be willing to sacrifice spending money on something you enjoy so you can spend that money on both of you having some fun.
- If your spouse loves to do certain things that you hate to do, be willing to participate in those things and see if that does not open the door to him doing some things you love to do.
- If your spouse won’t do anything fun, you do some fun and interesting things anyway, inviting your spouse to join you, allowing your mate to see that fun things energize you and positively impact the relationship.
- Plan something with another couple and if you have no couples in your life, fix that problem on the way to addressing this one.
Excerpted from The 7 Minute Marriage Solution by Stephen Arterburn © 2013. Published by Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., Brentwood, TN. worthypublishing.com. Used by permission.
Tell us what you thought of this excerpt on Twitter: #7MinuteMarriage @WorthyPub[schemaapprating]