The Privileged Life: Practical Tips for Marriage that Lasts (Part 3)

(Photo: Unsplash)

“He who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15b)

Want a marriage that lasts…and also thrives? A simple tip: Have fun. 

The tricky stuff is in figuring out what’s “fun” for both of you…and making it happen.

When my husband and I first met, we discovered several interests in common—going to symphony concerts, taking walks, shopping for antiques, and traveling to historic places. 

Then, kids happened. Most of our “fun stuff” together vanished as we launched into kid-centered activities—cheering at ballgames, teaching Sunday school, going to school plays, camping out, hosting birthday parties, and so forth. These were all great activities, and I’m glad we participated in them during that season of our lives. We had fun.

In the empty-nest stage, our “fun” paradigm has shifted again. We still like the symphony, but bluegrass has taken root. Walks are still appealing, but we’ve added hiking and kayaking. Antiques? We more often look at stuff now than actually buy it…decluttering is more important. Traveling is the constant, and the adventure is in exploring new places.

The biggest challenge remains the same as it was during kid-raising years—making plans, getting them on the calendar, and following through with commitments for “dates.” Otherwise, we’d just careen through busy days without stopping to focus on each other.

I gave my husband a special list this past Christmas—a “date” idea for each month in 2023. Our January date was nothing more than playing Scrabble together on our living room rug. Hikes, picnics, and local daytrips are now on the calendar. This gives us an opportunity every month to enjoy each other’s company, even if the activity itself isn’t hugely romantic.

How about you? Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk with your spouse about his/her definition of fun. Think outside of the box, maybe exploring activities you’ve never tried before (for us, that would be pickleball). Look for activities that promote conversation.
  • Stay on a budget. Fun can be very inexpensive. The last movie we watched, at home, cost us $4 plus a couple of packages of microwave popcorn. It turned out to be a fun date night, and we talked all through it!
  • Consider working on a project. We enjoy cooking together, experimenting with new recipes, and hosting friends for meals. Also, we just painted a room in our home, working side by side, with relatively few arguments or criticism! Talk about accomplishing something—fixing up your home, going on a mission trip, building a Habitat for Humanity home, or delivering a meal to a shut-in. Discuss opportunities, timing, costs, and rewards. Choose what would be most fun for both of you.
  • Be ready to sacrifice your own agenda. Case in point: I am a terrible golfer…it’s a maddening game for me. But my husband loves it, and he sometimes invites me to join him. I swat at the ball and occasionally hit it, but the pleasure is in joining my husband outdoors, and that’s what matters. It’s a bit of a sacrifice for both of us.
  • Follow the rhythm of work and rest in your lives. Fun should be a mix of happy busyness and restful moments. Don’t let your work life and fatigue overwhelm you to the point where you neglect the enjoyment of your spouse. Likewise, don’t let your individual hobbies/interests prevent you from spending quality time in your mate’s company.

Making room for fun will draw you closer and calm the waves of conflict. Don’t let anything else—work, personal hobbies, children’s needs, and even church ministry—consume you to the point where you neglect your marriage partner. To have a marriage that lasts a lifetime, make happy memories together…the kind that continue to bring smiles to your faces years later. 

Heavenly Father, Author of all joy and comfort, breathe life into our marriages by Your Holy Spirit. Give us inspiration to work and play together in harmony with Your will and each other. Help us to enjoy each other’s company and cherish happy moments that turn into beautiful memories. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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© Copyright 2023 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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