One of the elements of a good marriage is what I call the “Fun Factor.”
Men and women fall in love because they do fun things together. Without important elements like fun and sex, marriage is little more than a business relationship.
When Karen and I started dating, the first thing that brought us together was how much fun we had before it even became romantic. (As I remember it, we didn’t even kiss until the eleventh date.) We fell in love finding fun things to do and then spending time doing those things. That is how we have stayed in love, too.
If you are not having fun in your marriage, you are in danger.
In 2008, the psychologist Howard Markman released the results from a study he performed for the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. He concluded that the more couples invest in fun and friendship, the happier the relationship will get over time.
Another researcher, Thomas Bradbury from the University of California, indicated in his own studies that people in happy relationships “generate fun.” These activities keep their relationship strong and healthy and fresh.
He cites a really surprising statistic: Cities with a Major League Baseball team have a 28 percent lower rate of divorce than cities that do not have a professional team, but have expressed interest.
In other words, the more fun your city is, the better it is for your marriage. Unfortunately, we can’t all live in a fun city. In those cases, you have to become your own source of fun. Otherwise, daily stress can damage your health and even your marriage.
Additional research indicates that today’s couples visit friends less than they used to. They also go out for leisure activities and dine together less than before.
What about you? Do you and your spouse go to baseball games together? Do you spend your leisure time taking walks, exercising, or playing games? Or is watching TV the only time you spend together?
Sadly, “quality time” these days may involve a husband and wife sitting on the couch next to each other while looking at their phones. When Karen and I met, there were no cell phones. When you were alone with a person, both of you were alone together.
I believe every family needs a technology-free time in their day where they relate to each other without TV and without smartphones. Technology might be a great servant, but it is a horrible master.
Men and women also need to understand each other. One of a man’s deepest needs is for his wife to be his friend. Guys want a buddy—someone to hang out with and someone who is willing to join them in fun activities.
Women need to connect emotionally with their husbands. The good news is that guys open up emotionally when they are having fun. Men may be emotionally guarded, but they’ll communicate more after they are convinced you are friends.
Having fun together fulfills both of these needs: a man’s need for friendship and a woman’s need to connect. So be deliberate about it. Schedule date nights together, and find activities both of you like to do. Laugh and play like when you were dating.
Are you and your spouse having fun in your marriage? If not, bring back the fun. It will make your marriage stronger.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today