7 Tips for Keeping the Fun in Your Marriage

Abby and Casey. Photo courtesy of  Ruby Ridge Photography

Abby and Casey. Photo courtesy of Ruby Ridge Photography

This weekend I’m going to a wedding.

My phenomenal cousin Casey is marrying the woman of any man’s dreams, Abby. He’s a brilliant, funny, artistic, smart-ass of a guy who’s chosen to remain in his small hometown and teach art to elementary school children. Abby is a kind, patient, peace-filled nurse who loves Casey just the way he is, smart-assness and all.

These are the kind of people that give you hope in the future of mankind when they come together; the kind of couple that should be required to bring children into the world for the betterment of all humanity.

Yeah, I like this couple. Of course, I want them to stay together forever, but more than that, I want them to have fun together forever.

My blog is about finding fun for GenXers in the DMV, but it’s also about having fun as a partner to someone, when you no longer have the drama and exhilaration that comes with dating. Let’s be honest, it’s not effortless to have a ball with someone you see every night at dinner. It’s much easier to take them for granted.

But what I’ve learned over 16 years of really enjoying the company of the guy I sit across from at dinner – what I hope to give Casey and Abby as they start on this grand adventure together – are a few tricks to maintain the fun with the person you need be having the most fun with. To love, honor and make him obey are indeed important (snicker), but to promise to enjoy each other, to laugh and to explore, those are the things that make marriages the happily-ever-after tales we dream of.

Casey and Abby, I hope for happily ever after for you.

7 Tips for Keeping the Fun in Your Marriage

  1. Pick a regularly scheduled “date time,” and maintain it on your calendars – You can choose to go out every other Saturday night or enjoy a coffee together every Tuesday morning if that’s all your busy schedules allow. It doesn’t matter when you do it, as long as you prioritize time in your schedule for you to be together as a couple, enjoying each other’s company.
  2. Talk about stupid stuff – Every now and then at the dinner table, during a car ride and definitely during your dates, place a moratorium on discussing the mortgage, the dog and who’s driving to soccer practice on Wednesday. Sharing duties on the home front make for great marriages, but sometimes you need to look at your spouse not as your co-chair but as the hot guy or girl you’re lucky to be with. Talk about your excitement for the Star Wars release, reminisce about that one trip you took to Quebec or try to figure out why that apple after your first kiss was the best apple ever created.
  3. Embrace what the other person is into – You don’t have to LOVE your partner’s interests and you don’t have to adopt them as your own. But you have to give them a try, you have to be supportive of the fact that your partner is into them, and under no circumstances whatsoever can you malign them. Occasionally, people who find football boring should go to the sports bar with their spouse and watch the Sunday game. Every now and then, the person with two left feet should agree to take a salsa lesson with their partner. We think we know ourselves, but one of the advantages of getting married is the chance to see the world through another’s eyes.
  4. Take down time – One thing I feel is lost in our competitive, self-guilt-inflicted, go-go-go culture is the benefits of relaxing. It’s hard to have fun and appreciate your partner when you’re totally wiped out. Take time to do nothing; allow your spouse the same.
  5. Ask about their day – This sounds so simplistic, but I believe what we want most as humans is to be seen and acknowledged. It’s very easy to take the person you go to bed with every night for granted; it’s also relatively easy to make them know you care. Ask about their day – regardless of whether it’s date night or not – and sincerely listen to their response.
  6. Balance the amount of date time spent with friends – Inviting friends along on your date night is highly entertaining and adds the spark of new conversations and insights. However, balance how often your precious couple time is spent in a group. Friends sometimes can be the unknowing bandaid over issues that need to be dealt with in your marriage.
  7. Deal with the non-fun stuff – One of the best ways to insure fun in your marriage is to deal with the hard stuff as it comes along. It’s impossible to have fun with someone you resent, and resentfulness – or disdain – only builds when issues are allowed to fester. Deal with the hard stuff as soon as you can; be brave enough to have those hard conversations. This person chose to build a life with you; trust that they accept you – warts and all – and that they want to deal with the hard stuff so that only good intentions, hopeful hearts and fun times remain.