Eight Key of Marriage Growth: Rest & Recreation

The last key of marriage growth is one of my favorites! I’m a big advocate of resting and playing with your spouse. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day activities of keeping your household and family running and it’s hard to set aside time to relax. But it’s important to spend time resting and enjoying being with your spouse!

Early on in our relationship, Matt and I struggled to find things to do together. He liked basketball, I liked dance. He liked being active outdoors, I liked going to new restaurants. He liked classic rock, I liked pop music. After we got married, I realized that we both had to learn to compromise if we were going to enjoy doing things together, and slowly we started to appreciate some of the activities the other spouse liked. Now, I enjoy watching Matt’s basketball games, and he will often go to new restaurants with me. And we both found a love of country music, thankfully! As someone who married a spouse with very different interests and hobbies, I have a few tips on having fun with your spouse even if they enjoy different things.

Schedule it

The first thing to tackle is actually scheduling time for fun. Unless you and your spouse are both super spontaneous people, having fun together won’t happen if you don’t make an effort, and that includes putting it on your calendar. Don’t let anything else get in the way if you can help it. Say no to going out with friends, take care of your responsibilities ahead of time, get a friend or babysitter to watch your kids (or include them in the fun). Make an effort to get something on the schedule at least once a month!

Vary the fun

For those who have been married for a few years, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine with your spouse. You likely have a standard procedure for date night and how you spend your free time together. But I encourage you to get creative with your recreational activities! Recreate your first date, do things at a different time of day than normal, or double date with some friends. Mix up your routine so that your time together isn’t the same old, same old.

Try something new

In addition to mixing things up, be willing to try something new. Maybe your spouse has been asking to go on a hike with you or watch a new movie for a while and you’re not sure you’ll enjoy it. Give it a try anyway. Like I said, compromise is key in marriage! And if you’re both stuck without any ideas, try a book like The Adventure Challenge or a service like Date Night In boxes that have pre-planned dates for you. Have an open mind and be willing to try new things with your spouse. Either way, you’ll make memories!

Journal Question: What is one fun activity or hobby you want to do with your spouse? How can you include them in it?

Additional Resource: Have Fun! The Importance of Play in Couple Relationships by Naomi Brower

I hope you enjoyed the Eight Keys of Marriage series! If you want to learn more about the Eight Keys of Marriage Growth and how to practice rhythms for each of them, be sure to get a copy of Rhythms of Relationship.

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