I was killing flight time by reading a magazine that I had picked up in the airport. It was one of those men’s wellness magazines that show you how to gain the perfect abs while conquering Kilimanjaro. The information was thoroughly useless and I was enjoying it, thoroughly. Unexpectedly, I came across a piece that was interesting and ultimately helpful.
Written by a man who was in a similar season of life as I, the writer was bemoaning how he had become lame. No, this had nothing to do with physical handicaps, he was healthy enough, but he was squandering his life. He had suddenly come to realize that he was a dull, lifeless reflection of what he had once been. The enthusiastic, adventurous soul of his youth had been weighted down by routine and responsibility. The thrill was gone, and it was harming his marriage.
His dilemma is not so rare, I think. Fun and fancy are often the first casualties of adulthood. With age we become sensible, serious, and lame! In our marriages, we do life together, but seldom live life together. The laughter is snuffed out by tedium, adventures are relegated to memories, and our futures are increasingly predictable. It’s a tragic loss.
Fortunately, this glum appraisal is not the lot of my marriage. Kathy and I enjoy each other and there is lots of laughter between us. But the writer’s warning was not lost on me. Our relationship is easy and we can be fooled into thinking that it requires little maintenance, but such thinking is the first shovel-full that digs the rut. Fortunately, the plane was soon to land in the Bahamas and Kathy and I had four days alone in paradise. We had ample opportunity to play together.
What a glorious time! Kathy and I swam and snorkeled, sailed and paddled, walked and talked, explored and ate. I can’t remember when last we squeezed so much fun into such a short time. At first we tried to talk about the concerns of our house, home, etc. But it’s difficult to concentrate on your children’s education when you’re seeing who will blink first—you or the puffer fish. I was reminded that making memories is much more fun than remembering them.
The writer of Proverbs 5 reminds his readers that it is good to enjoy the “wife of your youth”. The emphasis is on sexual faithfulness, but the implications stretch further. We can and should work to put play into our relationships. This is the paradox, we must work to play. As life grows increasingly demanding and complex, it requires intent to include levity in our marriages. I am not particularly good at this, but recent successes are motivating me to do better.
Let’s encourage one another in this. What adventures have you had together that were fun? Reminiscing is less fun than adventuring, but the memories may motivate us to plan for fun.