Ten Tips to Play Together, and Stay Together: Lessons from the Teepee Turn-around

There is an old expression, which may sound trite, but I believe it is true, "People that play together, stay together." A couple (by marriage or some other agreement) can increase their chance of remaining a positive statistic, by creating a habit of engaging in fun activities together. These can be planned or spontaneous. When you have fun together, it creates positive memories, which act as seeds for a long, playful relationship.

Carol operates a Bed & Breakfast and Country Vacation business. Through this, we have the opportunity to meet and learn about people from far and wide.

Last summer John and Audrey arranged to stay with us, away from their Edmonton, Alberta home. They were both in their seventies, and had fond memories of time spent on farms when they were children. They thought it was time to revisit a farm and create some new fun memories.

They arrived in mid afternoon, well ahead of when we expected them. I was repairing a fence, some distance from the yard and they did not see me as I approached. I stopped to watch "the game."

Audrey jumped out of the car and headed straight for the house. John went the other direction to a large teepee we have in our yard.

"Audrey, Audrey, come here. Look at this." John was pointing into the teepee.

"We better check-in first, John."

"No, come over here. It will just take a moment."

"OK. Look at what?" She said begrudgingly as she peered into the teepee.

"Go in and I'll show you."

Audrey crouched and stepped over a strap of canvas along the ground. John reached over and pinched her butt.

"Oh John!" she said with a giggle as she stood up quickly inside. John jumped through the doorway and chased Audrey around the inside of the teepee, both of them laughing and giggling as if they were young children.

John and Audrey had been together for over 50 years and I expect they will be together for many more years. While they were with us, they played horseshoes, bocci, and ping-pong together. We shared stories, joked, and laughed. They slept in the teepee to experience something new. They had perma-grins. It was a very good thing!

I remember when we were first married, we knew that play was important too. I played hockey two or three nights a week, and Carol played volleyball and racquetball two or three nights a week. It was good exercise and sociability for both of us, but not with each other. And the result was resentment, defensiveness, and discontent in our relationship. It was not a good thing!

Ten Tips to play together and stay together:

1. Plan a ten-minute meeting. You may need to mark it in your planner. I'm serious here. Unless you schedule it, you may not do it.

2. Find a comfortable place to discuss fun things, away from the phone, friends, or kids.

3. Brainstorm all of the fun things that you would like to do together. Yes, that says "together," not me today and you tomorrow. If you list forty ways and places to have sex ? that is fun, but it is just one thing.

4. Prioritize three things that you will do in the next week. These don't need to be majestic events, although they can be. It could be a romantic dinner, spa day, movie night, card game, or a walk in nature holding hands. Use your imagination and make them as wild and crazy, or as tame and relaxing as you wish.

5. Schedule these fun activities (dates and times) in your planner if necessary. These are agreements that you both commit to uphold.

6. Schedule another meeting next week to explore and plan the next week's fun activities.

7. Keep your agreements, regardless of the other "stuff" in life. A failure to follow-through on these agreements sends a powerful underlying message to your mate about the importance of your relationship.

8. If an unforeseen, uncontrollable "something" occurs that would hold you from your commitment, renegotiate another time to which you both agree. Do not cancel the activity.

9. Continue this process for four weeks. You are creating a new habit.

10. Celebrate your accomplishment in a fun way. The celebration keeps you motivated. Choose one of the fun things you like to do together, but with the intention that it is a reward for your commitment to your relationship.

Yeah, I know. Some of you are thinking, "This is too structured." "It will take away from the fun." "It won't leave room for spontaneity."

The point is this. Likely, you are not doing the fun things together now. Or if you are, you are not consciously recognizing them as such. Am I correct?

Consciously commit to these Ten Tips and I guarantee that you will experience more fun and love in your relationship. Spontaneous fun will occur more often. You will approach each day with an uplifted attitude.

There is always room for more happiness in my life. How about you?

Dan Ohler is Thinkin' Outside The Barn!
Dan writes and speaks internationally on happiness, relationships, and change. He helps you learn the secrets to create life-long delightful relationships and abounding success.
For FREE how-you-can-do-it-too articles, visit http://www.ThinkinOutsideTheBarn.com

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