The Importance of Fun & Laughter
The First Few Years of Marriage
One of the reasons fun and laughter are so important for your future as a couple is because marriage isn’t the easiest of relationships.
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Speaker 1: Well, welcome back. We are talking about the first few years of marriage and this time we are talking about chapters three and four, where we talk about laugh daily and date weekly, and slowing down. So we’re going to jump right into it. Any questions from what you read? I know not everybody reads, so the people that read will ask the first questions.
Speaker 2: I have a tendency to take on too much and be a little intense, and I just am wondering if you have any suggestions to help us with kind of relaxing a little bit and kind of going with the flow.
Speaker 1: Well, I think there’s a lot of people who are like that. My wife is like that and yet, take your intensity and have serious fun. I mean, make it a priority. I think sometimes I’ll say to the people who ask a question like that, I’ll say, “Well then you be in charge of the fun factor.”
Let me tell you a story. My wife and I were sitting at our kitchen table. We have a daughter, Heidi, who just got married and is actually, the book is partially dedicated to her, along with with others. And she was in about ninth grade and she had been babysitting some really good friends of ours, and they’re great people. And she comes back and Kathy and I are sitting at the table. We were doing finances. So that’s never a good time for us. And so we’re kind of being duds.
And she comes in and she goes, “Oh, I love Scott. I love Anita. They are the best parents.” What does that make us feel? When she said it and then she goes, “But they said something, mom and dad, that I had no idea. You’re their youth pastor, dad and mom. You were involved in a small group with Anita, but they said something else. They said when you guys were the youth pastors, you guys were fun and funny.” And then she kind of stops like, “And what happened to you?”
Kathy and I had this big conversation that night and said, “we’re not as fun as we used to be,” and we’re actually fun with other people, but we’re not necessarily having as much fun together. And we felt that that was the need. And so, again, intentionality, we decided we’re going to have fun and we’re going to make our dates more fun. We’re going to have fun experiences as a family and have family fun times. And you know what? It really changed. But Kathy, our intense person, was the one who became intense about having fun and putting it on the calendar, and because it was on the calendar, I think the fun factor actually changed the dynamic of our marriage, and it actually changed the dynamic of our family, later on.
Speaker 3: I just wanted to say thank you guys for being here and for leading us through this, and tapping into dating as a whole. Like I love dating my husband, but do you really think it’s intentional and important to do it weekly?
Speaker 1: Well, weekly. I don’t want to get so legally mystic on that, but yes, and I actually learned that from Jim. Jim is much, much older, but Kathy and I were able to watch their relationship and they made dating a priority. When Kathy and I went to premarital counseling, I remember two things the counselor told us. He said, “Doug, sex starts in the morning,” which I was like, “Awesome. That’s great.” I was 22 years old and thinking that’s great. Starts in the morning. I mean, this is going to be awesome. I remember that and then he went on to explain to me it starts in the morning by the way that I treat her. And then he said, “What got you here will keep it going.” So meaning that you were dating one another, like we talked about in the last session, you’re chasing one another, you’re pursuing one another. What got you here will keep it going.
Kathy and I, we’ve made a commitment to a weekly date night. Now what the weekly date night does is it actually is, we talked in last session about course corrections. It’s a big course correction. You can have little drifts throughout the week, but when we get together for our weekly date, it’s a big course correction. It also really gives us something to look forward to, so when life gets busy, and chaotic, and crazy, we know that on Wednesday nights, for us, that’s our date night.
In the book, we give several reasons why dating is important, but one of the things I want to say about it, briefly, is that when you go on the date, we don’t want you to have an agenda. Don’t talk finances. If you have kids, don’t talk about your kids. Don’t have an agenda for your date night. Just be together.
Speaker 4: So we know that we’re too busy right now. We’re just in a really busy time of our lives. What are some ways that we can kind of slow down amongst all the business that we have in our lives?
Speaker 1: The one thing we all have in common is we have 1,440 minutes a day. Okay? 1,440 minutes a day. You can’t make more time. So when you think about busy, all of us have choices that we make in those 1,440 minutes, and it comes down to our choices. That busy-ness is a choice. So every time I say yes to something, I’m actually saying no to something else, right? Because I can’t make more time. And a lot of times what we do in marriage is we say no to the things, we say no to the person, who is the most important person in our life. And we say yes to things oftentimes that are trivial. So in marriage, one of the ways that you help each other is sometimes I need help saying no to things. So I need Kathy to jump in and say, “Do we really need to do that? We establish our priorities. We just talked about dating. We’ve got calendar conversations that we’ve got, but we can’t do anything more with those 1,440 minutes.
Now, what I found in my own life, here’s my brokenness. Busy-ness, because it’s a choice, a lot of times I’m choosing to be busy because I’m a people pleaser and I want other people to like me. And so I’d rather, in some ways, I’d rather strangers that want my time or whatever it might be, want me to volunteer for this or do that. I’m, in many ways, I’m pleasing them more than I’m pleasing Kathy by saying yes to them. So yeah, you’re busy. Everybody is busy.
I asked three questions and I answered them. Typically, if I’m busy in a bad way, if I’m not busy in a better way. And here are my three questions, really important questions I think to ask, and I think it relates to our own soul care when it comes to our marriages.
The first question is this, “Do I like the person I’m becoming?” You know what? If I’m so busy and I don’t have any margin, I’m not even sure who I am and I’m not sure if I like that person. And if I have some margin, I can begin to kind of understand what’s going on in my own life. So do I like the person I’m becoming?
Secondly, and this is one for me as a person in ministry, but at the same time, I think it’s for all of us. I say, “Is the work of God I’m doing destroying the work of God in me?” And another way of saying it, “Is my heart for God growing or shrinking?” Do you know that when my heart for God is shrinking, I also do not have as good of a marriage, but when I have my margin, and I can’t do it with busy-ness, but when I have margin, then my heart for God oftentimes is growing because I’m putting intentionality and energy there. And I’m actually healthier in my own spiritual life and then I’m healthier with my relationship with Kathy.
And the last question, and it’s one of the most important questions, and I don’t like how I’ve had to answer it sometimes when I’m busy, but am I giving Kathy only my emotional scraps? Or because I have kids, am I giving my kids on my emotional scraps? I mean, Doug and I are a lot alike in those ways. What I’ll do is I’ll be up in terms of excited and enthused about what’s going on at work and people and whatnot. And then soon as I come home, then I become the big dud because… And it is a place to relax. I understand that. It’s a place to not have to always be at the top of your game. But what I find is that if I’m only giving Kathy my emotional scraps, then our marriage begins to do that drift. And so what I have to do is actually stop being so busy and when I do have more margin, it’s interesting how things begin to line up again.
We’ve talked about dating and slowing down and laughter and the reality is is you can’t date if you’re too busy, you can’t laugh if you’re always stressed out. These actually go together and what we want you to do is we want you to talk about it. We want you talk about it as a couple, or if you’re watching this with a group of people who want to talk about what does it look like if our life was to slow down, what would happen if we said no to other things so we can say yes to us as a couple? Maybe you’d even turn and face each other and say, “Here’s how I feel when we’re really, really busy.”