Being married should be fun.
I remember on our honeymoon feeling naughty for staying out very late, past the closing time of most restaurants and anything legal. Lori and I were purposefully staying out late because it was not something we could do before we got married (her father wouldn’t allow it).
We were at Niagara Falls, Canada, and while there were lots to see and do, it didn’t really matter what we did. We were having fun because we were doing something different together.
In the 27+ years since our honeymoon, we continue to have fun – together. In fact, having fun is an important ingredient of our relationship. And if we’re not having fun, then we plan some!
As a differentiating value, Fun means activities that are enjoyable or amusing; playfulness; therapeutic refreshment. Two of these words really resonate with me: therapeutic and activities. While these two words might seem a bit odd together – just like a husband and wife – they work.
So how to create therapeutic activities?
Two opposite ideas come to mind: Planned and Spontaneous.
Some might view the idea of planned fun as an oxymoron and that it can’t be done.
My experience suggests otherwise. Here’s just one example.
In 2004 we were living just North of Dallas, Texas. I saw an ad for the Dallas Classic Guitar Society playing at the Mesquite Arts Center. I had never heard of this society nor had I been to the town of Mesquite (and we’re not real artsy-type folks). It sounded intriguing.
I had no idea what to expect. And I wanted this to be a surprise.
So I began to plan.
The event was scheduled for a Friday evening and I carefully considered all aspects of the experience: what time we would leave our home, where we would go for dinner, the rationale of why we were going out, what to wear, where to park, where we would sit in the theatre (in the Arts Center), and what we would do after the event.
Lori loved the idea we were going out on a “date”. All couples should do this regularly (visit this site for great dating ideas). We had a lovely dinner at a restaurant in Mesquite, because I suggested we try something new.
Then I told Lori about the surprise.
I said we’d be visiting the Arts Center. She smiled and said ok, but I could tell it felt a bit boring – which was perfect. Remember the saying “under-promise and over-deliver.”
Well…. when we arrived and took our seats in the theatre… and then the soloist began to play on his classical guitar…. alone on stage…. Oh!! My!! (yes, there were tears) They make movies about the feelings and emotions we experienced together that evening.
The planning worked. The event was extraordinary. We had fun. And we still talk about it today.
On the other end of the spectrum, we enjoy experiencing life as it happens – naturally. We let fun happen spontaneously as it presents itself.
This works well for Lori and I as we happen to enjoy road trips and traveling vacations (vs. staying at a resort). On such trips we enjoy the spontaneity of trying new things – eating at new restaurants, stopping to see new sights, looking to have new experiences.
In fact, it’s all about the new experiences.
As an example, on our first time driving through West Virginia we drove along U.S Route 19 and discovered the New River Gorge Bridge. The view is breathtaking. And it’s a mastery of engineering. For many years it was the world’s longest steel single-span arch bridge.
Of course we stopped at the scenic overlook and walked the staircase that descends part of the way into the gorge. The experience was… natural. And the pictures we took remind us of the fun we had there
Note that it’s not the bridge that mattered. It was the fact we ‘discovered’ it on our journey. Before that trip we knew nothing of the bridge or of that amazing view. Now it’s part of the collection of experiences we’ve created through spontaneous discoveries.
So…. there you have it. Two ways to inject some fun into your marriage: planned fun and spontaneous fun.
Not sure what’s right for you?
Try some of both and see which one is a better fit. You just might find the perfect set of activities that is therapeutic for your marriage.
What fun experiences have you made in your marriage?