It seems we get too serious, uptight and lose our playful self in the business and structure of life. Do you make time to play? Do you remember back in elementary school when there was recess time? It was the most anticipated time, after you’ve been sitting in a desk and staring at the chalkboard with letters and numbers written on it. We need this break in the seriousness and chaos of life to stop and play. Making play a regular part of your life reduces stress and is good for our mental, emotional, physical and relational health.

Marriage can benefit from play. The definition of play is to engage in something you enjoy or recreation. Some of you may be scratching your head at this point and wondering how in the world do you do this or have time for this. We get so focused on managing our families and home life with our spouse, we lose the childlike play that nourishes our relationship.

How do we play with our spouse? Here are 2 types of ways:

Verbal Play
Verbal play usually requires laughter. If one of you is a story teller like the man I live with, it might include acting out the story or impersonations. My husband is a great story teller and he has me in tears sometimes. Sharing a funny story or memory can bring play into the relationship. If you aren’t easily offended or emotionally sensitive, you can even poke a little fun at each other. You know your partner’s flaws that you have a tendency to be critical of. I have noticed my husband is more receptive to hearing his flaws or my complaints through playfulness, instead of criticism. You have to figure out your dance that works for the both of you. I think for most men, they are natural at bantering and witty comeback communication, then they are the other emotions that usually involves tears. Humor can help lighten the mood and allow some feelings to be expressed in a non-defensive way. Relationship anxieties just dissolve.

Touch Play
High fives, fist bumps, smack on the booty, a caress down the arm, resting a hand on the leg, holding hands, tickling, or wrestling are some good examples of touching and playfulness. You and your spouse may get creative with what works for you. Touch is a powerful connection and relationship enhancer. It’s sometimes better than verbal or emotional connection, especially if it is your spouse’s love language. Check out Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages book for more on this.

Playfulness gives freedom and life to our relationships. Watch children play a game of tag and observe the spark in their eyes, the laughter on their face and the freedom in their bodies. Find this inner child, let yourself be free and fun. You’ll find a new you and a new marriage. I encourage you to make playfulness a priority in your marriage.