There’s no doubt you’ve heard the expression “Laughter is good medicine.” That same idea is also found in Scripture: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT) We believe with all our hearts that this is also a truism for marriage. This may sound like an oversimplification, but couples who have fun, play, and laugh together are the same couples who enjoy a deep and gratifying relational connection.
Marriage researchers report that strong emotional connections arrive more often from fun rather than from checking off the “to do” list or telling one another what’s wrong with the relationship. We’re not sure how much those researchers got paid to uncover that learning, but you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand the truth behind their discovery. Fun is fun! When fun is evident in a marriage, couples communicate more effectively. You want your spouse to talk more? Then have more fun!
Cathy and I (Doug) find that when we’re hanging out on a trail and walking or jogging that we have deeper and more honest conversations then when we’re sitting in the kitchen because “we have to talk about this [issue] now.” Communication and connection flow better when we’re more relaxed, hanging out, and having fun together. Having fun together is not just a good idea or an extra for your marriage when you have the time–it’s essential to a healthy marriage. One of the best ways to protect your marriage is to enjoy your marriage. Please don’t underestimate the power of fun.
Several years ago, I (Jim) wrote a book on traits of a healthy family called 10 Building Blocks for a Solid Family. While researching happy and successful families, I discovered that playing together was one of the essential factors for developing a close-knit family. Those who intentionally took time to incorporate play into their family time thrived, while families who didn’t value playing together tended to be less satisfied in their primary relationships. The glue that made healthy families stick seemed to be the additional element of play. The principle is also true for you in your marriage. Playing together, expressing humor, laughing, and having fun will not only build a foundation of memories that you’ll return to when times are tough, but it will also unite your hearts and help you heal the occasional wounds that are part of every marriage. Fun and playfulness will become deposits of love that you can bank on when the negative withdrawals happen.
So, drive a stake into the ground today, and commit to being a couple that proactively and intentionally makes the serious choice to add more fun to your marriage.