Feb 202018 7 Responses

5 Reasons Your Marriage Isn’t Fun

Marriage is supposed to be fun. Not every day. Not in every season. But across the broad spectrum of living life together, marriage should be defined by joy, happiness, and gladness more often than it is dictated by struggle, frustration, and discontent. All are common elements of healthy relationships, but the positive characteristics should far more define the relationship than the negative ones.

Most relationships begin with fun. The initial interactions are exciting. The first few dates include nervous anticipation. The honeymoon stage is playful. However, many couples slowly lose their sense of fun as kids come along, careers develop, and the pressures of life replace the passions of new love. While it’s understandable for fun to take a backseat, it’s unacceptable for it to leave the vehicle. If a marriage isn’t ever fun, something is wrong.

Why Fun Matters

One of the mistakes we make with fun is that we assume it doesn’t matter. We think it’s nice to have, but life isn’t just about good times so we fail to prioritize fun within our marriages. Yet it does matter. While it’s not the foundational reason why marriage was designed, it is a vital element to connecting with the one we love.

Consider what fun does:

It helps us endure hardship. People who suffer well have an ability to see the good even in the midst of the hardship. We laugh, in part, to help us get through hard times. One of the places I laugh most is at the funeral home. During the most trying moments of life, humans use laughter in order to endure. When the fun-factor of our marriage decreases, we lose our ability to endure difficult times.

It reminds us we aren’t alone. Laughter is rarely in response to a joke. For one day, pay attention to when and why people laugh. While it’s true that we laugh when something is funny, far more often, we laugh as a way to acknowledge others, connect with them, and show we are not a threat. Having fun in a relationship reminds us that we are not alone. We have someone else who is for us and with us.

It positively impacts our kids. Few things are more important than for our kids to see us enjoying one another’s company. In a world that rarely gives a positive picture of marriage, they need to grow in the security that their mom and dad love each other and that marriage is a positive aspect of life.

Why Fun Leaves

It’s one thing to know that playfulness in a marriage matters, but it’s another thing to understand what causes it to disappear. By recognizing what destroys fun in marriage, we can be better equipped to avoid those elements.

Here are 5 reasons marriage isn’t fun:

1. Distrust. Enjoyment is a luxury. It can only happen when we feel safe. Soldiers don’t laugh in the midst of battle, they do so when they return to camp and the danger is past. For many, the absence of fun in a relationship is a symptom of distrust. When we fail to build and maintain trust with our spouse, we lose the luxury of ever letting our guard down. Guarded people cannot be fun-loving people. Humor, laughter, and playfulness all require a base level of trust. When distrust is present, fun is not.

2. Disrespect. Just as distrust is a prerequisite for enjoyment, respect is also a necessity. Trust allows us to lower our guard; respect empowers us to connect with the other person. Playfulness is born of equality. When we feel disrespect by our spouse, we do not have the ability to feel like their equal. When we are not on an equal playing field with others, we cannot enjoy time with them. The lack of respect prevents us from having fun.

3. Pressure. The higher our stress level, the less likely we are to see the good. When we feel pressed, our vision narrows and all we focus on is the source of the pressure. While it’s fair to expect seasons where we are pressed by various issues, we must be diligent to avoid unnecessary stressors and navigate those things which we can’t avoid. Debt is one of the most common, unneeded pressures which zaps fun from marriage. Rather than being diligent with our money, we carelessly go into debt for things that won’t bring satisfaction and at the cost of joy in our marriage.

4. Time. Fun demands time. When we choose (although it rarely feels like our choice) to spend very little time together, the time we do have gets taken up by the demands of life–raising children, making money, discussing the details of who is going to do what and by when. Many couples never have enough time together to actually enjoy their interaction. Playfulness is often born in the down times. Only after we’ve spent enough time together to cover the big issues will we have enough time to simply enjoy one another.

5. Habits. Routines can be either good or bad. When couples get in the habit of not having fun, they will likely continue that habit until something changes. In the same way, healthy couples make enjoyment habitual. They develop the skills to continually find ways to have fun. When we prioritize positive interactions with our spouse, this focus can radically transform our relationships. When we apathetically accept negative patterns of behavior, it will destroy any sense of fun among us.

Why Fun Returns

While many actions and activities can increase the enjoyment we experience in marriage, several specific actions define fun relationships.

Be Intentional. Without intention, time will erode our joy. We don’t naturally drift toward positive mindsets or behaviors. When intention isn’t present, we ease toward bad habits. Recognize that fun is an intended aspect of a healthy relationship and choose actions which will increase the likelihood of good times.

Be Adventurous. Different people have different personalities. While some are more adventurous, others are more cautious. However, in order to increase the joy in our marriage, we would do well to step outside of our comfort zones. This doesn’t mean we have to jump out of a plane, but it does mean we should try new things, attempt new ventures, and be willing to take risks. One of the best ways to have more fun in a relationship is to attempt something new together.

Be Playful. Playfulness is a mindset. It’s an appropriate attempt to lighten the mood even during difficult times. We shouldn’t attempt playfulness as a denial of hardship, but we should attempt to laugh, bring humor, or create games as a way to better carry a tough load. And when times aren’t hard, playfulness recognizes those moments and attempts to have fun. Life is short and hard, we should seek the good and enjoy as much of it as we can.

Be Gracious. Gratitude and fun aren’t synonymous, but they are related. To the extent that we feel undeserving of the good we have been given, we will extend grace to others. Entitlement kills enjoyment, but grace makes it thrive. As we attempt to add fun to our relationships, we will succeed and fail. We must give grace to each other when things don’t go as expected.

Healthy relationships are characterized by playfulness, good cheer, and enjoyment. Couples don’t view marriage as solely about having fun, but it is assumed as a natural byproduct of two people who are loving each other well. While some seasons will be defined by great struggle, the long arch of a relationship should be viewed fondly. And even the difficult times should be eased because the couple has an ability to see the good and share it with one another.

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