Maintain a Solid Marriage by Being Silly Putting aside the "adult" in your marriage may lead to a more open and honest relationship with your spouse. BY MISTY LYNN WALKER
Being silly doesn't mean you have to shun responsibilities, but it does bring joy.
The simple act of being married is easy. However, maintaining a solid, happy relationship does take effort on both sides. The tough part is that sometimes we simply don't know what to do to "maintain."
Like any problem, we first have to understand the issue before we can try to correct the situation. It's sometimes all too easy to forget our feelings and lose that "connection" with our spouse, especially after years and years of marriage. These issues can either sneak up on us or we can see it coming from a mile away, and many times we don't know how to deal with it or what to do to make the situation better.
A common misconception many people have is that once we've actually figured the issue out, the problem is over and we think, "Oh, that was it. Done. Fixed."
But, this is where the maintaining part comes in. To maintain something, or anything for that matter, is an ongoing cycle. When maintaining something there is a need for constant upkeep—making a constant and conscious effort to keep your marriage in good shape and not just when a particular problem arises, but all the time.
Of course there are a number of standards necessary to keep and maintain a good marriage. Trust and honesty are the most common and quite simply the most important in keeping a marriage healthy.
Yet, trust and honesty are often two of the hardest things to maintain for some couples. My husband and I will have been married 20 years this year. Not only that, but we've been together since we were 15 years old, which brings me to the word that follows trust and honesty—silliness.
Bring On the Silliness
If I said John, my husband, and I have had a good and strong marriage during the entire 20 years that we have been married, I would be telling you a fairytale. Of course, that is what most of us have in our minds when we get married, isn't it? The "Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After" fairytale of love.
I now work in an office, a sea of cubicles, if you will. But, not too long ago, I worked for the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida in the middle of downtown Orlando. My husband and I both worked there for two years. John worked in the Men's Emergency Shelter, and I worked in the Center for Women and Families.
Even though we have not worked there for several years now, I keep a picture on my cubicle wall at work of some of the kids that lived in the shelter when we worked there, along with our own kids' pictures.
You often hear people say the children of the world are our future. It is very true. But, we have more to learn from the children of the world than we may realize. And this is but one of numerous reasons I keep the children's pictures on my wall to view every day.
A child's first best friend is one of the most pure, open and strong relationships that one could ever find. As a child, we are honest with our best friend, we trust them with our most secret of secrets, aren't afraid of their judgment and we aren't afraid of being silly. With no reason or plans, we’re silly and make each other laugh with our pure and unadulterated silliness.
More than likely, before you were married or at the beginning of your marriage, you experienced this with your spouse. Sadly, what can happen after you've been married a while—once "life" comes in and you have more and more responsibilities: bills, kids, and worries—the word "adult" out weighs anything else and leaves you wondering where the silliness went.
You may try to go out for a nice "date night" to have fun together and then find yourselves bringing up all the "adult stuff" during dinner. "Oh, did you pay that bill?” or you may find your spouse bringing up work, or you might bring up a repair needed on your home.
Of course, yes, we are adults and we do have responsibilities. But, I am here to tell you: You are allowed to check the adult at the door sometimes.
A good suggestion to help: find a new activity to do that neither of you have ever done before or find a group of couples to make new friends that are looking to also find new and fun activities to partake. Introducing new activities and/or new people sprout new, fresh ideas and outlooks and will create conversations about new and different things.
If you don't feel like you want to do stuff with other couples, you could still join, or view online, a "meet up" group for couples in your local area and see what kind of activities they are planning. Even if you don't join their group, you may very well come across some things, places, or activities that sprout a new interest for you as a couple.
And, though it is nice if you're able to, you don't have to go out and spend money for a date night in order to do it.
Watch a stupid movie together and make fun of it during the whole thing; sit on the floor and play a silly game that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever; have a picnic outside and fly a kite; turn all the lights out in the house and roast marshmallows or hot dogs over a fireplace or the gas flames on your stove… whatever.
Okay, so you don't have a fireplace and your stove is electric, but don't miss the point here. Be silly, have fun, and enjoy each other in that moment and forget all the hubbub of being an adult, at least for a little while.
You may just find that along with the silliness and more open and honest communication, the trust and honesty will follow.