David and Claudia Arp, authors of numerous books on marriage, including the Ten Great Dates series, believe that fun in marriage is serious business.
“In our 30-plus years of marriage, we have learned important things like, if you don’t say what is on your mind when it is on your mind, it may not be there later,” said Claudia Arp. “We have also learned that it is critical for people to be intentional about having fun in their marriage. Most of us lead such busy, stressful lives that many times there is very little left over for the marriage, especially when it comes to anything fun. When the fun dies in a relationship, it is hard to keep the marriage alive.”
Through the years, the Arps have made it a point to enjoy each other’s company and to have fun. One time when they got lost, instead of getting irritated with each other, they realized they were lost together, and the kids weren’t with them so they decided to make it into a 30-minute get lost date.
“We believe it is important to model a healthy relationship for your children,” said David Arp. “Research has shown that the level of a couple’s friendship is a determining factor in whether their marriage will go the distance. In order to keep a friendship alive, you have to nurture it.”
The Arps have many good ideas to help people grow the friendship in their marriage, including this fun assignment. They encourage couples to kiss for 10 seconds in the morning before leaving for work with their eyes wide open. When you return home in the evening, do the same thing. With a mischievous look, they state they take no responsibility for tardiness at work or the evening’s activities.
If your marriage could use some jazzing up with a heaping helping of fun, the Arps share these examples of great dates to build a strong friendship in your marriage.
The key is to understand that you can turn any situation into a date, even a frustrating one. For example, you can go on a flu shot date; or if you find yourself in an airport with an extended layover, go to a gate where a plane is getting ready to take off. Pretend you are saying goodbye to each other. Once the plane leaves, move on to another gate and start all over again. You can do this for as long as your layover allows.
“A number of years ago, we moved our office and David gave in to using an answering machine,” Claudia said. The past few days had been rough so I decided to leave a message of encouragement for David on the new answering machine telling him I was really looking forward to seeing him at home and suggested some activities we could do. What I didn’t know is that David had some friends at the office who ended up helping him install the answering machine. Then they all went out to lunch. When they returned, one of his friends noticed he had a message. David hit play and the whole group proceeded to listen to my message. When it finished, the friends turned to David and wanted to know who that woman was leaving that kind of message on his machine. My red-faced husband tried to convince them it really was his wife. Needless to say, we have had more than a few good laughs over that one!”
Fun in marriage is serious business! To find out more ways to create fun and adventure in your marriage, visit the Arps’ website at www.marriagealive.com.