So many times, we hear that relationships are work. This statement often turns couples off who come to counseling because they do not want to hear that truth. As M. Scott Peck noted in his book The Road Less Traveled, life is difficult, but once we realize that life is difficult, it is easier to manage. Yes, the reality is that life is tough. But if we accept that truth, we can make it through. So how can this principle be incorporated into your relationship as a positive plan, rather than as a negative one?
You already know that many things that need to be done are not fun. The daily “to do” list may involve household chores, grocery shopping, cooking, driving kids around, and walking the dog. These things may not exactly put a smile on your face and if you have to add yet another “job” (finding time for fun), it may seem like just another chore. But the importance of putting fun into the schedule cannot be emphasized enough. It is the difference between an exciting relationship and a boring one.
First, find out what fun means to you and to your partner. In order to have fun in a relationship, a shared activity needs to be enjoyed by both. Make a quick list of your favorite recreational activities and look for similarities on both of your lists. If nothing hits the mark, be creative and try something new.
With your newly discovered information, use this list to start the process of incorporating more fun into your daily lives.
- Tell jokes. Have a joke of the day. Share it either by email, text or in person. Or perhaps watch a funny movie. Sometimes even a movie you’ve already seen can bring the laughter back. Check out Laugh USA, a great Sirius radio station to get some real belly laughs.
- Take a class together. Ballroom dancing, cooking, gardening, pottery, painting, martial arts or anything you want to learn together.
- Try outdoor activities. Many couples like sports, sailing, running, hiking or camping. Even walking the dog can be a time to talk about fun things.
- Plan romantic evenings. Either away or at home, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Put on music and dance, cook together or sip a glass of wine on the porch.
- Have a regular date night. Even if your destination is local, going somewhere can be a good change of pace. You can even plan overnight dates. Be alert for interesting places you can explore together. Dinner and a movie or a local show. Take a drive to nowhere just to be together and stop for a latte or glass of wine.
- Play board games. A little competition is stimulating. Scrabble can work the mind and still be fun. Cards, Yahtzee or checkers are all entertaining.
- Be intimate with each other. Get creative with your style in the bedroom and learn each other’s fantasies. Talk about the fantasies if you would rather not play them out. Try something you’ve never done. You might be surprised at the results.
Relationships do take work, but you can make that work fun. Then it doesn’t really feel like work at all. When you turn relationship work into fun, you will reap the benefits that hard work delivers. The final result is a win-win for both of you.