We’ve covered two of the commitments we’re making so far in this series: Seek God with our spouse and Fight Fair. Today, it’s all about Having Fun. And the reason we need to talk about that is that the fun has gone out of a lot of marriages. It’s like the old joke: A man doesn’t know what happiness is until he gets married, and by then it’s way too late to do anything about it. Sad tribute to our times, I fear. But the truth is, couples have fun when they are dating, but then they get married, and life happens, and they stop enjoying each other.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 tells us this: Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthy toil. In other words, Enjoy life with your wife. Presumably, this also means that the wife is to enjoy life with her husband. It’s supposed to be more than a mere business relationship, where you split up the duties of running a household.
And, I know what some of you are probably thinking: We’ve got no money for fun. But fun doesn’t have to be expensive. When I started dating Jackie way back in high school, we didn’t have lots of money. Here’s what she recalled that was fun - sitting and talking about everything, going to the little drive-in movie theatre, picnics on the family farm, going bowling, coffee house with the youth group, working the concession stand together at high school basketball games, or just hanging out with family playing games.
We men pursue things, capture them, stuff them, and put them on our wall. Maybe it’s part of our God-given nature to fight the dragons. But too often, we pursue the woman of our dreams, win her, and then figuratively stuff her, and stick her on a wall. And what we hear a lot is, “Well, we don’t have time for fun anymore.” But, listen, if you don’t make time for fun in your marriage, you’re going to wake up one day and not have a marriage—at least not a good one. So, here are three types of fun that every couple needs to have to keep a marriage healthy and thriving.
Getting quality time together to talk and talk intimately and deeply about things. We read from the Song of Solomon 7:1-4, where the prince is bedazzling his love interest, and he talks to her, giving her details—because women love details, right? Look, there’s value in a date night, getting away just to be able to communicate with each other. And if you don’t mark out time for this kind of thing, here’s what you’ll find. You’ll be with family or friends, and everyone’s chipping in on the conversation. And suddenly, you hear your spouse throw something out there on the table—maybe it’s an opinion about a national or international event; maybe it’s a problem they are struggling with; maybe it’s a dream or a desire they have. And you hear it and you stop and say to yourself, “Man, I didn’t know that.” And you’re a little bummed that you’re hearing it for the first time in the presence of other people. But what you should be hearing is that you’ve lost contact. You’ve surrounded that face-to-face time. You have to guard that.
This is where you are hanging out with your best friend, doing something you enjoy with your wife or husband. It’s enjoying time doing common activities, beyond talking. Again, we see in the Song of Solomon 7:11 the pitch for getting away, heading to the countryside. You need to think something like getting away for the weekend. Let’s have someone take care of the dog, the kids. Leave the house and hang out together. Just as women typically crave face-to-face time, guys really come alive for the side-by-side things. It’s bonding for both spouses, but especially for the guy. And, again, it doesn’t have to be expensive to do things together. When Jackie and I were first married, we didn’t have leftover cash at the end of the month. We’d get up on a Saturday morning, head to the mall and window shop for 2-3 hours. Seriously, we didn’t buy a thing, just window shop. We’d then get $1 tickets to the movie matinee and buy lunch (a small bag of popcorn and a shared small coke), We’d get out of the movie, then window shop some more before heading home. But window shopping was cool because we would talk about what we liked and disliked, we would talk about dreams and plans. It was awesome. We also found out you could get cheap food somewhere and then sit and talk for 2-3 hours and get free refills on drinks.
I played basketball and softball, and Jackie would come to all the games. It was awesome to have her share that time. You hit a home run or make a three-pointer, and your woman is there to see it, it does something for a guy. We still find things to do together - find a weird recipe and cook it together, go on walks, do jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, read the advice columns and try to come up with our solutions and compare them to the “experts.”
I don’t know what those shared experiences might be for you. Maybe it’s golf, or rock climbing, or NASCAR. Maybe it’s hunting. You may not like hunting, but I guarantee you will cement your relationship if you go, ladies, and find a way to stab a squirrel or strangle a rabbit or something. Maybe it’s board games or bird watching or kayaking or gardening. But whatever it is, make a commitment to enter into each other's world. Do it because he’s there, because she’s there, too. Go on errands together, pick up prescriptions together, grocery shop together, go buy a bra together. Sounds weird, huh? It’s just intentionally and consistently finding time to invest in each other.
Belly Button to Belly Button Fun
Ok, corny, right? But this is the third type of fun every marriage needs to have going on. Again, read a passage from Song of Solomon, chapter 7, verses 11-12. What’s being talked about there is nothing less than a call to go have sex in the park. Be careful. I wouldn’t choose Nationals Park, although I did see on Facebook a couple of weeks ago a report on a couple who were caught having sex in the cheap seats. But the passage is talking about getting away for some belly button to belly button time. According to Proverbs 5:18-19, this is definitely fun that we are to have throughout our marriage. Enjoy lovemaking with that spouse for 5, 10, 20, 40, 50, or more years. Have fun, for Pete’s sake.
So, some advice before we let you go. Guys, work on your approach. Guys think about sex way more than the ladies do, but we need to realize that fact has implications. While our first thought might be about sex, it’s not hers. So, get a little creative, build a little momentum. Be tender, be romantic, talk to her, bring her a gift, flowers, offer to rub her feet or back. Find out when it’s best for her, when she’s not exhausted from the daily grind.
And gals, here’s my advice to you. You don’t have to worry about working on your approach as much as committing to making one. Any approach. Guarantee that he will pick up on it. That’s because it’s always pretty much front and center for him, so use that to your advantage. Truth is that most men desire sexual intimacy more than most women. It’s not universal, ok? Just in general, this is true. And when the faucet is turned off and things go dry, it’s a crisis for the guy just like it would be a crisis for you if all of a sudden your husband went silent on you. And you are his only legitimate option—everything else for him is sinful. One of the greatest things you can do for your marriage is to come together and engage in frequent and creative lovemaking. It’s a gift, it’s honoring to God, and it renews and refreshes the covenant you both made at the altar.
Now, as we wrap up, I know some of you are going, “Well, he’s a jerk, and I don’t like him. And I don’t like you for telling me I ought to have sex with him.” I get it. But you once had fun, right? I mean, nobody marries someone they hate. At one time, you liked and loved each other. Think about what you were doing at that time to have fun together and get that going again. You got married because you were having fun. Start having fun again. You may think the guy at work looks better right now, or that the girl at the gym seems like she’d be more fun. Here’s my counsel: if the grass looks greener across the fence, it’s time to water your own lawn. You start having fun, you begin to seek God together again, you begin to fight fair, looking to reconcile and restore rather than to win, and you’ll start to get back what you once had. With God, all things are possible.