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10 Ways to Improve Your Marriage While in Quarantine

Be Playful to Help Improve Your Marriage While in Quarantine

Throughout my son’s childhood, I have admired his ability to play with just about anything he can put his hands on. My house usually looks like the path after a tornado by the end of the day. It gets frustrating to clean it all up and can be sense of contention between my wife and I as well as our children. However, I have noticed that when we are helping him pick it up, that his creativity in his play is mind boggling. He doesn’t just play with one set of toys or stay in one spot (hence the tornado). He has a unique ability to gather different objects and play with them together. It sometimes seems to have no rhyme or reason. He tends to have a knack for spontaneity by just picking up a toy where ever he is at, at any given time, and just go with it. I wish I still had that ability.

Somewhere along the way, we adults lose this ability. We lose the ability to be creative and the ability to just enjoy being spontaneous. We lose the ability to be flexible and go with the flow. And, not only that, we lose the ability to be playful.

Play involves all of those things: spontaneity, creativity, flexibility, and fun! The definition of play is engaging in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose. Being serious squelches fun and sometimes creativity. Have you ever been so focused on one thing, that you miss something important? Being serious also keeps us from being flexible at times. I know this first hand. When it’s bed time, IT’S BED TIME! My wife probably thinks I have a stick up my YOU KNOW WHAT every night about 8:00 PM. IT’S BED TIME! I am rarely flexible on this issue, and I become serious and goal oriented about this same time every night. I don’t know if this is my anxiety or fear about what may happen if they don’t get in bed on time, but that is another topic for another day and should be explored. Staying on topic, play rarely has a set goal if it is fun. Sometimes even playing sports can be so goal oriented that it loses it’s fun. PLAY IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!

Many couples lose their ability to play and have fun. When they were dating, they were flirty and playful… spontaneous, surprising, flexible and creative, BUT not long after they tied the knot, their life became mundane and monotonous…stressful, tense and goal oriented.

Relationships thrive off of playfulness!

Think about when you had your best times. Were you playful? Were you spontaneous? My guess is the answer is “YES!” The times we have the most fun with our partner is when we are playful. Being playful helps others to relax and enjoy the moment. Having fun creates memories that have a lasting affect on us and help couples to build deeper connections and help to grow the relationship. When we are playful, we tend to seize the moment. When we are playful, we don’t take life for granted. Being playful with your spouse is about loving and enjoying life despite the stressors around you. It’s about controlling what you actually CAN control. You CAN CONTROL how much fun you  have and create with each other, even in time of stress and discomfort.

I encourage you to use this time to play with one another. Be creative as we talked about in a previous blog post. Don’t let the worries of this world keep you from enjoying each day with one another. Lighten up! Be spontaneous, flexible and open to the possibilities around you. Play as my son plays! As you walk through your life, STOP and NOTICE the things around you. Be curious. Be that tornado that leaves a path of meaning behind you as you enjoy each moment with your spouse!

If you are having trouble find ways to play or enjoying time with your spouse, please let me know. Email Me or Call Me at 706-955-0230. Set up a free 15 minute consultation! Or go back and check out the rest of this blog series.

Next Post In Series – Practice listening and understanding

 

Thankful for Thanksgiving

How redundant is the title of this blog post? Yet, every year around this time I get a magical feeling bringing me back to my childhood home and the memories that flood back to me when I remember the years that have gone by. I am truly thankful for Thanksgiving. It reminds me to be thankful. It reminds me how blessed I am. It reminds me that no matter what happens, I have lived a wonderful life, even at the age of 32. I am so young, but have been blessed with so many wonderful memories and significant moments in my life. Stop…Just for a minute, let your memories flood in. Some of them are painful. Some of them are awesome!

I am truly thankful! I started thinking about his concept last night. The title just flashed before my eyes, “Thankful for thankfulness.” That was the original title I thought of, but the more I pondered Thanksgiving and gratitude, I changed the title. However, I think it is important for people to be thankful for the ability to be thankful. It means that we have something to be thankful for. We have been blessed.

It’s funny how this topic has emerged for me. This past year I have started implanting a coping skill with some of my clients were I asked them to write 5 things they are thankful for each day. I started implementing this activity months ago.  There is much research on the benefits of gratitude. Harvard produced an article describing the research done by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami and ways to cultivate gratitude.

My pastor on Sunday discussed being thankful. He could hardly preach about it at first and described his thoughts about preaching a Thanksgiving sermon as being a cliché. However, to the amazement of our church. The more he delved into his sermon, the more enthusiastic he became and the more his infectious attitude drew us in and opened us to an overall attitude of gratitude.

I too believe writing a blog about gratitude during the week of Thanksgiving seems to be a cliché, but I keep reminding myself that this is life. Life has so much meaning and the holidays we celebrate are to continually remind us of the blessings and what to be thankful for. Thus, the memories bring the feels. I am listening to Christmas music as I write this post. My stomach has butterflies. My emotions are soaring. I can’t help it! It’s a magical time. The question can be considered, if we did not have Thanksgiving, would we remember to be thankful? If we did not have this time of year, what would our nation be like?

And so, I implore you, remember the good times. Be blessed. Love your family and your neighbors. Spread the Christmas spirit. Talk about the important things in life. Let Jesus live through you this holiday season. And finally, let us not only be thankful now, but be thankful always. When we find that everything seems out of our control, being thankful is one thing we can control.

Blessings to All!