“Highly happy couples aren’t just spending time together because they’re happy; a big part of the reason they’re so happy is that they’re spending time together!”
–Shaunti Feldhahn, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages
While Shaunti continues to recover from surgery and treatments, we are sharing this encouraging and insightful guest blog from her dear friend, Jill Savage. Her story below illustrates the importance of this finding and we are sure it will encourage you.
True story: When Mark and I had been married for just a couple of years, he gave me a bowling ball for Christmas. It was my favorite color, purple, and it even had my name engraved on it.
However, I wasn’t a bowler.
As you can imagine, I was a bit baffled by his gift. As he read the confusion on my face, he promptly opened up a nearby closet and produced a similar bowling ball in his favorite color and — you guessed it — with his name engraved on it!
“I thought it would be fun for us to do something together,” he said.
Unfortunately, those bowling balls were never used and somebody named Mark and Jill probably picked them up at a garage sale for a really good price. Our marriage suffered because I didn’t value having fun together.
As a couple, you know the importance of having a strong marriage, but how do you make your marriage stronger? It is often the small steps that make the biggest differences. So, today, I encourage you to be comfortable with learning new skills and to allow yourselves to be okay with taking small steps towards your goal of a stronger marriage.
Are you ready to put that into practice?
Let’s start by making time to have fun in your marriage.
I know you might think that this should come easy but often as we’re living life together on a daily basis, having fun can easily go right out the window unless we’re intentional about making it happen!
Here are some strategies for making fun happen:
- Put it on your calendar as a recurring event. Select a regular time to spend together (i.e. every other Friday night, one Saturday a month, every Sunday afternoon) and put it on both of your calendars. If you have children, set up a regular childcare arrangement as well, or determine to have some intentional fun together after the kids are in bed.
- Decide what you’ll do ahead of time. Maybe you decide together, alternate which one of you is in charge of the time together, or maybe one of you is more of a planner and the other is happy to go along on the ride. Any way works—just decide how to make that decision.
- Go into time together with no expectations. Expectations rob us of contentment. Have a flexible heart open to how God leads your time together. It might turn out different than you planned, but if you’re flexible you can fully enjoy the time you set apart to be together.
Here is why this is so important:
Having fun together helps couples feel positive emotions, which increases relationship satisfaction. It helps couples unite in order to overcome differences and gives hope when working through difficult challenges.
Prioritizing fun will have a huge impact if you take the time to make it happen.
So, whether it’s bowling, a nice dinner, or enjoying a special dessert together at home, find some ways to prioritize fun and see what a difference it can make.
Honest. Vulnerable. Deep. These are just a few words people use to describe Mark and Jill Savage. Their marriage and their family have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Because of this, they care deeply about people and helping them navigate the relationships that mean the most to them.
This article was first published at Patheos.