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How to Make Marriage Fun

3 Ways to Restore Playfulness to Your Relationship

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.

Every day.

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.

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

14 replies on “How to Make Marriage Fun”

After 15 years, your message NEVER gets old and the reminders are always in due season. Thanks for still sharing, my marriage has certainly benefitted. God bless you!

Thanks Laura, I needed this advice and am going to use it starting today. I do have one question about what to do when it seems your husband will only joke in ways that have gotten to be super irritating- I’m talking farting, burping, poop jokes or acting like an ancient old man who is dying. Funny yes in small doses but I’m talking about hours sometimes of the same things that honestly start to gross me out. This is especially difficult for me because there has been infidelity on his part and I know he used his best charming and true humor to woo other partners in professional settings. All I get from him is this lazy weirdness. Yes the jury is still out on whether he fits the Laura definition of a “good” man but in the meantime I am working so hard on ME to make sure I’m no longer giving him reasons to go elsewhere for oxygen. I long for some real adult humor and silliness but I’m struggling with feeling I live with a first grader. Am I just too uptight? Is there a way to get back his best efforts at home?

I struggle with this too (eg the farting), however I have found that showing appreciation for positive aspects of my husband works better than looking for the negatives.

I have been Married for 30 Years and our Marriage has become Stagnant. Please HELP

Thought you were going to say take care of yourself, relinquish unnecessary control, and respect him again. Fooled me this time! You did it again, thanks, Laura et al!

What about if you do those things and it intensifies his insecurities? It literally makes him feel worse and therefore defensive. What then?

I love this! I just read your book Surrendered Wife for the first time (and have already begun re-reading:) about 2 weeks ago. After almost 25 years of marriage to my handsome husband I tried something new…. instead of being irritated at his choices yesterday (and telling him so) I chanted my mantra “I am the goddes of fun & light!” in my head while preparing dinner to the music of Italian dinner music. When he popped his head into the kitchen … I danced (comically) for him!! Completely out of character for me, but he LOVED it. About 10 minutes later he came back upstairs and said, “I don’t know what you are doing that’s different, but it’s working. I feel lately like you’ve got my back, that you want me here… it’s really awesome. I just thought I just tell you what I was thinking.” WOW!!! I couldn’t stop grinning;). Thank you, thank you!!!

I am so sincerely THANKFUL FOR ALL YOU DO.
There are times I doubt my Husband. Thanks to you I’ve been able to trust my Husband and more importantly… SHOW HIM I trust him.
He tells me he has to work late and my brain/thoughts can immediately go into negative thinking. Such as, “Is he really working at the office late? Or is he going out to dinner and not telling me?”
Big sigh… those thoughts when spoken out loud to him have ruined our marriage in the past.
Today and thanks to you, I’ve learned how to trust and respect my Husband.
I may have those thoughts come and go at times. However you’ve taught me how to react to them. Typically no reaction is necessary aside from a loving one because my thoughts are simply fears and not the truth.
Sometimes I will pick up your book to remind myself and sometimes I’m capable of remembering your tools on my own.
I thank you whole heartedly for all your guidance!
It’s been a major blessing in our marriage.
Peace and love to you!

I love this! Great advice. Great reminders!!
I remind myself all the time that one of the things that my husband wants most in the world is a happy wife — not a wife who efficiently and quickly pays all the bills, not a wife who has the house neat and tidy 24/7, not a wife with a perfect figure and hair — a. happy. wife.
When I’m happy and laughing and smiling and enjoying my day, it makes him happy. And then we’re happy together, and that is just pure bliss.

Awesome article thanks! I have a big smile on my face wondering what silly playful stuff I can do…

All this info is amazing. Is there anything/anyone who offeres similar advice directed at the men that I could suggest to my husband?

It’s so hard. Even Laura says a man who can’t be faithful doesn’t fit her definition of a good man. I want so badly to think my mastering of intimacy skills can turn my situation around. When you have children together it’s twice as hard. I don’t want to be a divorced mom. So I’m currently being held in limbo while he decides if he wants this. Im trying to keep super busy focusing on changing me, since I have zero power to change him. It has helped to keep my mind occupied and not obsessing and worrying so much.

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