Remember when you first fell in love and you laughed together all the time?
You two were so silly back then!
It was so much fun to be together that you decided to become permanent partners in crime. Your relationship felt so light it filled you with hope and optimism.
So how did it get to be this heavy?
It could have been the pressures of the mad rush to get to work, pick up the kids, get the mortgage paid and the laundry folded. You aren’t alone!
Feeling overwhelmed is decidedly unfun. So is wondering if you picked the right partner to begin with. Either one can make your marriage tedious.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be drudgery.
Here are 3 ways to make your marriage fun starting today
1. Start a Smile Campaign
The tension was high at Liz’s house after a blowup.
When her husband came through the door the next night, she watched his face to see if the storm had passed yet, but she could tell that things were going to be tense again that evening.
When I asked her what she thought her husband saw on her face as he came through the door, she said, “I was afraid. He probably saw that.” Then she paused and added, “I might have looked stern. Maybe he thought I was still upset.”
She decided to smile at him the next night as he came through the door, regardless of how he was acting. “I want to feel happy when he comes home, no matter what look he has on his face. I feel better when I’m smiling, even though it’s scary because I’m not sure how he’ll react,” she told me.
She needn’t have worried because greeting her man with a smile the next day set the mood for the rest of the evening.
“All of a sudden we were friends again,” she explained. “He even read me some funny stuff he’d found online, and we were cracking up! It was so much better than brooding and ignoring each other. That smile broke the ice.”
Maybe, like Liz, you feel hurt or scared to bring the fun. Nobody wants to be shut down and told they’re ridiculous for being playful.
That’s why it can feel vulnerable to do the Macarena in the kitchen or to use your husband as a towel when you get out of the shower or to put your hoodie on backward and pretend you’re a giant burrito lumbering down the hall.
But that vulnerability is so attractive–especially smiling, laughing, dancing vulnerability.
A simple smile is a great start. Nobody needs an excuse to smile.
If anybody questions you, you can always say you’re just happy.
What will happen at your house if you decide to smile more?
2. Restore Emotional Safety
Smiling, laughing and joking around are signs of confidence.
That’s what humans do when we feel secure, when there’s no danger of being judged, shamed, attacked or abandoned.
When we’re scared, we play it straight. So if it’s been a while since you cracked up together, it could be that neither of you is feeling safe.
Fortunately, you can change that single-handedly by using a few simple cheat phrases that help restore the emotional safety in a hurry.
Consider apologizing for being disrespectful (only if you have been disrespectful, of course) or saying “Whatever you think” to show trust by referring him back to his own thinking about something that’s his to decide.
I was amazed how far treating my husband with respect and trust went toward restoring the good ol’ days in my marriage.
Once John felt that I esteemed him, he was back to the important job of making me laugh really hard.
When your man wooed you, I bet he tried to make you laugh too. Every time he did, he counted himself very successful. And you had fun and felt adored. You both felt confident.
You can bring all of that back when you restore respect and trust.
3. Prioritize Play
What I’m about to tell you is the kind of thing that makes people think John is the funny one in our marriage, even though I keep telling everybody how funny I am.
Every afternoon when the mail slot in our garage clanks shut, John pokes his head in my office and announces, “Nothing came in the mail.”
That’s my signal: The race is on.
I jump up and sprint down the hall to grab the mail before him. He always gets ahead of me, only to run right into the closed door with a thump then crumple to the floor like a cartoon character.
Next, I swoop in and triumphantly pick up the grocery store flyers and credit card offers, giggling all the while.
This kind of thing has been going on for years now, but it wasn’t always so.
I used to be way too busy to interrupt the very important work I was doing–especially for something so childish.
I thought I had to be serious because I was the only responsible adult in the family. Turns out I was just the most uptight person in the family.
Fortunately, I have recovered from my years’ long bad mood.
I’m happy to say that I’m finally back to being the Girl of Fun and Light, and we’re back to having a ridiculously good time.
These days I tend to prioritize laughing and playing over finishing the email I’m working on, which will still be there after John splats into the door and I retrieve the postcard about the mattress sale.
After all, there was nothing more important to me than doing silly things with my man when we were dating and falling in love. And those were good times.
If I can bring back the fun after the bore my marriage had become, you can too.
What will you do to bring more fun into your marriage? I’d love to hear in the comments below.