Do you want a relationship that’s off-the-charts satisfying? Then you need to make sure you and your guy get enough playtime.
Take a moment to think about your average day.
Imagine it from the beginning to the end, like a video playing on fast-forward in your mind. You’ve got work, obligations to friends and family, and possibly more like working out or volunteering.
It’s a lot.
So here’s the question. When you get to spend time with your guy in the midst of all that chaos, do you want to feel like you’re just ticking off one more item on your to-do list? Or do you want to PLAY?!
Play happens when you do what you want to do, free of a sense of obligation.[i] It’s the fun, engaging, passionate part of life. It never feels like a chore because it never is.
When you and your guy play together, that’s when your relationship comes alive. Playtime is the time to build connection, get to know each other better, and to strengthen the bond that makes you a couple. It’s the heart of your romance.
It’s fairly easy to see how to make date nights playful. That’s as easy as doing something you both enjoy. But the real secret to unlocking the power of play is making even serious discussions playful.
How do you do THAT?
I have two suggestions. Used together, these two tips will turn even the most pragmatic conversation into an opportunity to make your relationship stronger.
- Turn serious discussions into games as often as possible.
Suppose the two of you have been talking about taking a trip together. You decide it’s high time you nailed down a destination and started making plans.
Setting an itinerary for a trip is work, make no mistake. It requires a certain level of organization. But there’s no reason why you can’t turn this kind of work into a game.
Start with a fun brainstorming session about possible locations. Even if you’re on a limited budget, dream big and get creative. Find ways to incorporate themes from your dream trip into a doable weekend away.
Then keep the fun vibe going as you book flights, reserve hotel rooms, and make other plans.
You can approach other conversations the same way. For example, a discussion about getting a dog together. Or holiday plans with each other’s family. Even talks about big topics, like marriage and kids.
As long as the conversation allows it, approach what might otherwise be a serious topic in a playfully way.
- When you need to have a really serious discussion, make sure you overtly state your ultimate goal: PLAY.
Some topics just don’t lend themselves to a playful approach. If something’s misfiring in your relationship, for example.
There’s no way to make a game out of telling him that lately you feel ignored.
So instead of making the conversation itself fun, make it a point to start the discussion by stating your ultimate goal. Something is stealing your joy, and you want to get back to enjoying your time together.
During the conversation, any time things get tense; remind him (and yourself) that resolution matters because that’s when the fun starts again. And when the conversation concludes, if possible and appropriate, follow it up with something fun and lighthearted.
Even when you need to deal with serious stuff, keep your focus on building playful interactions into the fabric of your relationship. Because couples that are able to maximize their playtime are some of the happiest couples around.
[i] De Koven, Bernard L. “To Play or Not to Play.” Psychology Today. HealthProfs.com, 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 14 Oct. 2016.
Not sure if this is the right place for this question. Apologies if it’s not. Do you have a program for the opposite direction, male to female?
Maybe called “What WOMEN secretly want?”
Thanks in advance!
Not yet, Dan. But thanks for your vote of confidence!
In the meantime, check out this book: For Men Only.
Welcome, DAN!! It’s good to see men posting on here. It probably means that more than just you are actually reading our (womanly) comments. It makes me feel good to think that men are just as interested in “getting things right” as we women. I think a lot of women do not really understand how men think – I certainly did not, and probably still have a lot to learn. It’s not about being “them and us” – from either perspective – man to woman or woman to man (or anything in between!!). It’s all about US. Being a partnership. The TWO of us – not a separate entity. Working together to make things better. Understanding each other.
James, can you not open up the forum so it’s not so gender-specific? Although it may become rather unmanageable, I expect. Nowadays, there are all kinds of mixes going on in relationships. How do women who are with women feel? Is it the same sort of relationship? It can’t be, as, I imagine, a gay woman must still have “womanly” feelings, which I know as a heterosexual woman are quite different to those of heterosexual men – in some aspects, but possibly not in all aspects – how would I know? Does she ALSO have masculine feelings, or does she ONLY have masculine feelings? I know there are many elderly women who have been married for years and have a family, then become gay. (Possibly because there are not enough elderly men to go around!!) It would be interestng to get different people’s perspectives on things. Woman to woman. Man to man. And even then, one person in a same-sex relationship must be the “man” and one the “woman”. Interesting!! Then again, I myself am a confident woman, have my own chain-saw – cut my own logs, do lots of DIY, heavy gardening (as much as my strength allows, as I am only 5ft 1″), like to drive my sports car fast, can handle sheep, horses and other animals, love to be scruffy, get my hands dirty – but then I also love to get really dressed up glam, put my high-heels on, make-up, jewellery, to go out to a special concert. I love my man to, first of all, make an effort to dress up when he takes me out, open the car door for me to get in, buy me flowers, open doors for me and take care of me, be romantic, make me feel special. A paradox!! But I know there are some women who hate all this. I guess we are all different. Just food for thought, James, as usual! As a Gemini, I never stop thinking!! Great stuff! But hard work at times, trying to get my head around it all. Keep up the good work!! Love you lots!!, Lorna
This is speaking directly to me right now! My marriage has been on the downward decline for “playtime” …in kinda like, what’s that again? Lol
My husband works constantly I’m bogged down with my kids and responsibilities surrounding them and their lives plus I work from home… we both enjoy what we do. But it doesn’t leave much time at all during the day or night to have “playful” anything. We are still able to be intimate on a tregular basis, but a lot of the time that is it. Afterwards we then we go back to being consumed by work and kids and life. So I would love to be more playful. Fact of the matter is our together time must be spent communicating very important details about what’s happening with the kids, what extra projects he has coming up on top of his regular work. And so on. These convos have really become a drag. I’m sure for us both. Bc it’s all business no fun. But necessary indeed. So thanks for lturning a light on in my head. I totally agree with your point that the happiest couples are the ones who have a good amount play time.
I will be giving this a try. I will probably have my husband read it as well. He has read a few things Bc I insisted! Haha and he likes your advice as well.