Spread the love

This week, we have another installment of our hands-on exploration of Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by John Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman, Doug Abrams, and Rachel Carlton Abrams! So far, Eric and I have gone on the first six dates: Trust & Commitment, Addressing Conflict, Sex & Intimacy, Work & Money, and Family. Date #6 is all about fun and adventure — and making space for some good old-fashioned play with your partner. Let’s dive in!


Do you play with your partner? I can definitely say this has probably been one the most difficult topics for us to consistently find time for.


So a few nights ago, we decided to do this date out at a beautiful winery in Yamhill county. We listened to music, danced a little, and got some ice cream on the way home. Now, we are always busy. We always have reasons we can’t make time (can you relate?). Even this week, we find ourselves in the middle of projects that are time-sensitive. Nonetheless, we did it! We made this date a priority! 

We listened to this chapter while on a little road trip we took last weekend. The thing that stood out to us the most was the research showing that couples who play together stay together. It totally makes sense because when the fun is absent, negativity can settle in. Boredom replaces excitement and spontaneous sparks of joy. That leads to feelings of disappointment and resentment. The remedy is to talk about, plan, and incorporate fun things you both enjoy into your day-to-day life. (There is a pretty extensive list of ideas in the book to peruse if you need a little inspiration!)

Early on in our marriage, we used to keep a Jar of Fun. When we needed to add some fun and spice to our life, we would simply pull an idea from the jar and do it. We were so poor at the time that the dates were simple and cheap: take a bike ride, go berry picking, have a picnic, attend free concerts, take a dance class at the YMCA, invite a couple over for drinks and cards, and play cards (even strip poker!).


See, you can add spice and fun together, even if you don’t have tons of time and money to spare.


In Eight Dates, John Gottman shares how he and Julie are sort of opposites in what they love to do for fun. He is a bookworm, and she loves being outside, doing challenging hikes. He tells about how he supported Julie’s dreams of trekking to the base camp of Mount Everest with her friends (even though he didn’t make the climb himself!).


This demonstrates an important point: part of fun is being a champion of your partner’s passions. I’ve always loved watching Eric play basketball, and he loves listening to me sing or perform.


If you work together, professionally, like Eric and I do, it’s even more important to infuse fun into your life, even as you work. That might look like surprising your partner with an unplanned lunch together — or simply finding ways to laugh together and not always be so serious!


Also, make special getaways and vacations a priority. As we reflected on our fun times together, some of our best memories were ziplining in Costa Rica, snorkeling in Hawaii, and adventuring during our recent trip to Europe.


As you and your partner explore what fun and adventure looks like for your relationship, remember, you’re making an investment in your future togetherness every time you make space for play. The key in all of this is to be open — with your time and your spirit — and make FUN a priority!


Happy adventuring!