One of my pet peeves (wow when was the last time you heard that term?) is the notion that “marriage takes work.” Since I work all day, the last thing I want to do when I go home is work some more. What kind of life is that?
So may I suggest that rather than work, marriage takes focus, or perhaps attention, or maybe even intentionality? While you should never put your marriage on auto-pilot and hope all will turn out well, I hereby release you from the burden of thinking you have to work at your marriage to help it thrive.
One factor, I’m convinced, you really should focus on is how much fun you are having in your marriage. Life can get so busy at times, and it’s so easy to get caught up in that busyness that we forget to carve out times just for fun. And, that expression “find the time”? As they say in New York “forget about it!”. Rather than attempting to “find” the time, may I suggest you determine to “make” or “take” the time to focus on each other and your relationship by engaging in fun activities.
Michelle Weiner-Davis is a woman I have admired for a long time as a warrior for the cause of healthy marriage. Her first book Divorce Busting makes the point that if you are struggling in your marriage, you should go back and do the activities you were doing when you first fell in love, and you’ll quite likely find that love return.
When you first met each other, you naturally engaged in fun pursuits that required little or no effort. Ok, so now that life has gotten more complicated it may require some effort to have fun on a regular basis, but I can just about guarantee you the payoff will be well worth the investment.
If you have children it is vital that they are included in some family fun times, but please don’t neglect times for just the two of you. Let your kids complain that it’s not fair that you’re going out and leaving them with a sitter. They’ll thank you for it later. I’m even proposing some getaways be for a weekend or even a week together as you focus on each other and your marriage. Every married couple should have childcare providers they trust who can give them a much-deserved break on a regular and recurring basis.
Just in case you’ve forgotten how to have fun, or have fallen into the rut of dinner and a movie let me suggest some out of the box activities you may not have considered before.
One activity you could choose to engage in is to become site stewards through Salmon Ruins. You will undergo a 3-hour training in how to help us preserve and protect ancient artifacts or important places in our area that need to be preserved for coming generations. You will be assigned such a site, and you assume the responsibility for checking in every so often and reporting on the conditions you find. To get more information on becoming site stewards you can call Salmon Ruins at 632-2013.
Another fun activity is to go geocaching. For this activity, you will need a handheld GPS unit and a computer with internet access. You connect the GPS to the computer and go to www.geocaching.com. Once there you type in the zip code of wherever you happen to be and up will pop numerous locations where folks have hidden stuff.
I use the word stuff to assure you people are not hiding gold bars, Rolex watches or keys to Mercedes. They are hiding trinkets, but that is not the reason for the activity. It’s where they are hiding them that matters and the thrill of the hunt as you set out to find these “buried treasures.” Typically they are near rock art panels or scenic vistas. Some involve hiking, some jeeping, some a simple walk. You can read a description on the website and choose one that fits your interests and abilities.
Once you decide to make fun a regular feature of your marriage, you should have little trouble finding outlets to meet this important need. You might consider doing volunteer work together such as becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. Did you know there are opportunities to be a Big Couple where you can model for a youngster what a loving, happily married couple looks like? By getting involved in the life of a young person, you will reap even more benefits than they. Thankfully this is not a competition, but truly a win-win experience.
If you have musical ability you could consider joining the Caliente Community Choir under the very capable leadership and direction of the shy and timid Virginia Nickels-Hircock, and Robin Woodard. Those of you who know these enormously talented and fun-loving ladies get my dry wit with that description. I don’t believe there is a shy or timid bone in either of them.
I can assure you that, based on numerous testimonies, and my personal experience, this is a way fun experience to participate in individually or as a couple. I can personally attest that attending their concerts is a wonderfully entertaining and fun evening getaway. You can get more information by going to www.calientechoir.org.
And, lastly, this is my last chance to tell you that Taylor Mason is coming to the Farmington Civic Center next Thursday, April 20. Check him out on YouTube and then go to www.brownpapertickets.com to save your seat. For the cost of dinner and a movie you will have an evening to remember for years to come.
If you have a marriage question or comment please send it to me at ron@ProductiveOutcomes.com. You can also call me at 505 324-6328.