Having Fun Together as a Couple

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22

Elegant Divider

Courtauld CafeThey liked each other as soon as they met, so they started dating. They did all kinds of fun things. They saw movies and went to concerts. They both liked to ski, loved the same music, and enjoyed talking about the Bible. They had fun together. They laughed often. They made life feel good for anyone who was around. It was obvious to them and their friends that they were meant to be together, so they got married. They were best friends.

After the wedding, they settled into their new life together, and the dating gradually stopped. Life got serious, and they forgot the importance of having fun together.

Almost every time I ask an engaged couple what drew them together and what they like about each other, invariably their answer is that they are best friends. They have fun together, they laugh together, and they want to be together all the time.

People are wired for fun, to enjoy life. We love to laugh, experience new things, and have adventures. We tend to gravitate toward people who are fun to be with, who want to do things we like to do. When a couple keeps on having fun together, their marriage tends to stay fresh, they continue to like each other, and they don’t have to look elsewhere for satisfaction. But when a couple stops having fun together, their marriage is headed for trouble.

Why is this the case? Simply because having fun is one of the top three major areas of fulfillment in human experience. People everywhere need spiritual fulfillment. There is a strong, almost universal desire for sexual fulfillment. And everyone needs to have fun in order to enjoy life. When you combine spirituality, sexuality, and fun, you create a life that is deeply satisfying and meaningful. When you do that in your marriage, the result is an amazing marriage and home life.

popcorn-1433326_1920Think back to the time just before you got married. Can you remember the things you did together? Who planned the dates? Where did you go? Did you have fun together?

While My wife and I were dating, we would go to a movie, spend an afternoon at a park, or go to the beach. We played miniature golf, hung out with friends, and played tennis. We played cards with her family, spent a lot of time talking, and went to church. One time, we had a midnight picnic with another couple. The event was planned by the ladies, and was a lot of fun.

After marriage, things begin to change. You finish school, look for jobs, have a few kids, get into debt, and life gets serious and heavy. It seems there’s no time or energy or interest in having fun anymore. Some couples just don’t have enough money.

It’s important, however, that you build fun into your lifestyle. You have to balance the seriousness and responsibility with lightheartedness and fun. You have to make time to play, and you need to do it together, not just with other people.

Kayak 4

Look What Amazon Delivered

Jeff and Barbara posted this picture on Facebook with a note that said, “Look what Amazon delivered today! We’re looking forward to reading it together. We’ve always been grateful for the wisdom you shared with us in the past. PS How do we get this autographed?”

Jeff & Barb Hall Pic Holding WisdomBuilt

My good friends and I used to work together, once upon a time, and amazingly, they STILL decided to get the book. Since they’re in Utah and I’m in Florida, we’ll figure out how to get together, go out for dinner, and do a personalized, one-on-one book signing. I love you guys, and hope you enjoy the book.

 

 

 

 

 

Stranger in Boston

entering-boston

The station wagon with the third seat facing the rear pulled into Boston. My two younger brothers and I rode that seat from California to Massachusetts, watching where we’d been, rather than where we were going.

3,177 miles backwards. For a while I was dizzy, car sick, nauseous, but after a while I got used to it.

third-seatThe ’59 Dodge was a big car. It seemed like Mom and Dad, and whoever else was sitting up front with them, were in a different county. The actual dimensions of this monstrous car? Just over eighteen feet long, six-and-a-half feet wide, weighing about 4,200 pounds. The advertised top speed was 120 MPH, but I never saw my parents drive faster than 115. Mom liked to drive fast. I remember my turn to sit up front and help her “stay awake” one night driving through the Arizona desert while Dad got some sleep. It was scary.

We got about nine miles per gallon if one or two people were in the car. Seven or eight miles a gallon when all ten of us went somewhere together, like we did on this cross-country trip. Nobody had seat belts back then.

As we pulled up to a traffic light in this strange city far from home, suddenly, my dad was yelling and talking excitedly. Someone outside was shouting and talking just as fast. From way back in the third row, I tried to see what was going on. Were my dad and the stranger mad at each other? Why were they yelling? I looked out the side window of our car and saw that the driver of the car next to us had dark skin and black curly hair. Why was he yelling at my dad? And why was my dad yelling back at him?

At first, it seemed they were angry with each other. But no, they weren’t upset. Rather they were excited and happy. They were yelling for joy. But why?

As I kept on looking at the man in the car next to us, I glanced down to see the license plate on his car. We had played the license plate game all across the country: keep track of all the license plates, and see who gets the most states. There were a lot of variations to that game; you’ve probably played something similar.

Riding backwards made it easier if the cars catching up to us had front license plates, because looking backwards I could see them before my brothers and sisters in the middle seat could see them. But if we were passing the other cars, then they got to see the license plates first. The way my parents drove, nobody ever passed us, so I never won the game.

traffic-lights-686041_1920At the red light in Boston, the license plate on the car next to us looked familiar. Was it? Yes! It was orange and black, a California license plate! We hadn’t seen one of those since we left home. Was that why Dad and the other guy were hollering? Yep, sure was.

There we were, our first day in Boston. We didn’t know a single soul in the city, or in the entire state of Massachusetts. But that first traffic light we stopped at in Boston placed us right next to another human being from California. It was his first day in Boston too.

My first memory of encountering an African-American, and the thing that stuck in my mind more than anything else was the connection that he and my dad made with each other. It wasn’t age; my dad was forty-two and the other guy seemed to be younger. It wasn’t family circumstance; my dad had a wife and eight kids in the car, while the other guy was single. It wasn’t that they had similar careers; my dad was in the Navy, and the other guy worked in a factory. And it wasn’t that they looked alike; my dad was a balding white guy, and the other guy was black with a full afro.

No, the connection they made with each other was simply that they had something in common. They were both from California, and that was enough. They were both more than 3,000 miles from home, and friendless – until that moment. They found someone from home.

I often think about that experience. Why is it that people who are different despise each other? Why do people of different skin color or different nationality or different language or different gender or different religion or different political party or different socioeconomic standing hate each other? Why can’t we do what my dad and the stranger did in Boston that day in 1962?

I was seven years old when we drove into Boston. Over the past fifty-plus years, I’ve tried to focus on what I have in common with other people, instead of our differences: marriage, kids, jobs, sports, music, food, weather, fears, dreams, movies, faith, or our human-ness. There’s so much we share, it’s a shame people choose to fight over their differences.

Something powerful and amazing happens when we connect over something we have in common.

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