How important is fun?
Besides the obvious – it’s fun to have fun – studies show that when we feel more positive emotions:
- our thinking tends to be sharper,
- we solve problems better,
- we deal with stress better, and
- we are generally more confident in dealing with the challenges of life.
For healthy individuals and happy couples, fun is a “need to have,” not just a “nice to have.” But how often do couples set aside time to go on a date and have fun together?
Let’s look at the data (see graph).
In a phone survey by Stanley and Markman, people were asked how many weeks it had been since they had been on a date with their partner/spouse. This slide shows the men’s and the women’s answers and are grouped by how long the couple has been together.
• Engaged • 5 years or less
• 6 to 10 years
• 11 to 19 years
• 20 to 31 years
• 32+ years
This graph reveals some interesting trends to ponder.
1. There are pretty big differences in the answers given by men vs women. It could be that:
a. women remember better, or
b. it feels like it’s been longer for women, or it could be
c. men and women have a different definition of a date.
2. The 6-19 years marriage range seems to be when couples are missing out on having fun. Why?
a. maybe kids get in the way of dating, or
b. couples are broke and can’t afford to date (kids are expensive), or it could be
c. couples are focused on their careers and kids instead of each other.
3. Couples who have been married 20 years or more seem to date the most! What is their secret?
a. The kids have flown the coupe so they have more time to focus on each other, or
b. The kids have flown the coop so now they have more money, or maybe
c. couples who have been married more than 20 years are couples who have been having fun all along!
So what is the takeaway?
While most couples start out having a lot of fun together—and hopefully you still are—too many couples let fun slip away over time. In fact, over the years, couples tend to do fewer fun things together, at least until they are much older and have more time. Do Your Part to make fun happen in your relationship. Keeping the positive bonds in your relationship strong can help the relationship weather the challenges you encounter.