“Some people ask the secret of our long marriage. We take time to go to a restaurant two times a week. A little candlelight, dinner, soft music and dancing. She goes Tuesdays, I go Fridays.” — Henny Youngman, English-American comedian and musician
Seize life! Eat bread with gusto. Drink wine with a robust heart. Oh yes – God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. – Ecclesiastes 9.7-8
Life can get hard at times, many times in fact. It can throw you curveballs. Yet, life can be beautiful, especially if we allow ourselves to see it that way.
Marriage can be affected by seriousness of life. Dating days. Oh my. One can move the mountains just to spend time with their loved one. You explore various exciting things together- travel, movies, eating out, games, spending time with family and friends. Life is blissful. You can talk for hours on end about nothing and anything. If serious about pursuing marriage and it happens, the expectation is that this season will carry on into marriage with the same exciting spirit.
Life gets more serious.
Bills need to be paid. Food needs to be put on the table. A lifestyle needs to be sustained. Relatives long for your presence. And if you have children, well, they just don’t grow like weeds. They need to be fed, cleaned, talked to, played with and your presence is much required. As time goes by and with ageing parents, there are other responsibilities that come along in terms of taking care of them. We can get too busy.
Recently, my husband and I hosted one of our younger friends who had just engaged his girlfriend, now fiancé. He is very excited about getting married. He mentioned that he has been loving going out on dates with his fiancé and hopes that this one aspect will continue into marriage. There was some silence in the room. He was waiting for our reaction. We laughed because the truth is that going out on dates can be a lot of work in marriage due to the responsibilities I have mentioned above. I didn’t want to destroy his hopes and I pray that this one aspect he desires will work out in their marriage.
Later on, I reflected on how at times it has been difficult for us as a couple to do the things we used to do for fun. And not in a bad way. We have gotten used to dealing with things that life has handed down to us. We do have many responsibilities but does that mean we cannot have fun in our day to day activities?
Many couples find themselves in this space where they are caught up in doing life and not knowing how to get the spark back in their marriages. I am encouraged at the same time because there are others who have a found a way to keep the fire burning. There is indeed a time and season for everything. A time to date, a time to wed. A time to keep, and a time to throw away. A time to laugh, a time to weep. A time to love, a time to hate. Yes, all the seasons that the wise man Solomon outlined in Ecclesiastes 3. But God does make everything beautiful in its time.
I have been working from home since this pandemic hit us. I have found a rhythm that works. The other day while working, my husband sent me a message asking that he takes me out for lunch. My initial reaction was to say no because of the number of things I had to do. And I think I took long to say yes. Well,we went for lunch to a nice place and talked for a few hours. I was glad that I said yes to a little fun that day. Did the world stop? Did anything stop working? No. A simple thing that yielded good results.
How can we find a way to keep the fire burning in our relationships? How can we simply have fun?
Having fun in a marriage results in more emotional connections than just getting things done on your list of responsibilities. As I write this, I am seeking to remind myself of the importance of this topic in my marriage.
1. Play together. Jim Burns in his blog with Doug Fields, ‘Make the Serious Choice to Have Fun in Your Marriage, states that in his research for his book, he noted ‘that those who intentionally took time to incorporate play in their family time thrived, while families who did not value playing together tended to be less satisfied in their primary relationships.’ So, play. Board games, take up sport together, play with the kids. Just play.
2. Plan for time together. It is very easy to get busy such that there is no time for each other. Find the time and use the time to catch up with your spouse on where they are at in life, their joys, pains, catch up on common objectives and just be intimate.
3. Learn something new together. I am enjoying small steps we have taken with my husband in a little flower garden in our compound. Gardening is a new thing in our space. Does it sound too simple? It does not have to be a complicated affair. It may just give you something exciting to do together.
4. Budget for fun times. How do you spend your money? Set aside some money for doing fun things together. Investing in your marriage is equally important as investing in other areas of your life e.g. business, a home or education. The activities do not have to be expensive. I read somewhere that budget for experiences, not just for things. Budget for a drive, night out without the children, or whatever other activity you choose to take up.
5. Let go of the small stuff. One of the hindrances to enjoying time together is conflict. And often, the conflict is not over big issues. Learn to let things slide. Proverbs 17.14 says ‘The beginning of strife is like letting out water; so quit before the quarrel breaks out.’
Incorporate fun in your marriage. It may just work out!
“Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one!” Ecclesiastes 9.9