Friendships should be fun. You don’t fall in love if you’re not having fun.
You become best friends and fall in love by putting some effort into it. When you call each other up and say, “What do you want to do tonight?” you’re looking for something you both enjoy doing. You’re negotiating an enjoyable atmosphere for building your relationship.
How do you turn a spouse into a friend? Proverbs 18:24 tells us that “a man who has friends must himself be friendly.” You have to be a good friend to have a good friend. You have to purpose to have fun together. Without friendship and fun, marriage is just work. In fact, if you take sex and friendship out of it, marriage is little more than a business relationship.
This may sound a little strange, but Karen and I put effort into having fun in our marriage, and that’s what makes our marriage so enjoyable! For example, we celebrated our wedding anniversary recently by going out of town for three days. We stayed in a nice hotel and all we did was have fun. Everything we planned all day long was designed with enjoyment in mind.
There are things we both enjoy and, of course, we do those things. But there are some things that Karen enjoys that aren’t necessarily my favorite things to do. (Oh, like seeing girl movies, for example.) But she really likes it when I go see a chick flick with her. She knows I do it purely for her, and it blesses her.
Let me just stop for a moment and explain something about men. We can actually experience something akin to physical pain or an allergic reaction when sitting through Terms of Endearment or The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. But even when I feel that allergic rash coming on, I do it for Karen, because I love her!
I don’t mean to brag or anything, but one time, as a test of endurance, I sat through four “girl” movies in a row. Now, I didn’t know in advance that they were all girl movies. Frankly, Karen tricked me.
She said, “Oh, there’s a lot of fighting in this one. And it’s historical.”
The movie? Sense and Sensibility, the mother of all three-hanky chick flicks. The good news for me was that there were only two bad parts in the movie—the part where they were talking and the part where they weren’t. (“No, honey, I’m not sleeping. I’m just recovering from the exciting parts.”)
In the same way, there are many things husbands like to do that their wives find spectacularly uninteresting. But a woman needs to work at being fun for her husband and that may mean going fishing, camping or golfing (or occasionally watching a movie with lots of explosions and car chases).
Both of you must be willing (with a good attitude) to venture out of your world and into your spouse’s. You become a selfish fuddy-duddy when you say in effect, “I’m not coming out of my world. If you want someone to go with you to see a girl movie, call a girl! That’s why they’re called chick flicks. If my friends see me going into that movie, I’ll be marked for life!”
Too often in the stable atmosphere of marriage, we stop looking outside the immediate routines of the relationship for new opportunities to have fun. If we keep letting the pressing demands of children and work consume all of our time, before long we’ll find that we’re no longer having fun together at all.
To find ways to create opportunities for regular fun togehter, ask yourself what you’re passionate about. What does your spouse really like to do? What do you enjoy doing together?
Remember, you’ll have many friends, but you’ll be best friends with the person with whom you have the most fun. That person should be your spouse.
I love being with Karen. We like walking together—we walk together all the time; we enjoy traveling together—going on trips for two, three or four days several times a year, if we can. And we like sitting on our porch together, talking. We do these things regularly. That’s why, when I think about the rest of my life, I think of living it with my best friend. Yes, I love being with my children, and I love other people as well; but I could be with Karen almost exclusively and have a wonderful, contented life. I just like being with her.
It wasn’t always that way. And it didn’t happen automatically. But today, we have a lot of fun together.
Be sure to read the rest of the Secret To A Great Relationship series.