A key part of any dynamic, fulfilling relationship is ensuring there is a regular dose of fun, relaxing time together.
Ty and Andrea met on the tennis court. Every Saturday for months they secretly watched each other practice and play in an intramural country club league. Finally, Ty asked Andrea to play a match, and the rest was history. Eventually they discovered a shared passion for sports, and that became a central hub of their time together.
Once they married, however, the challenge became maintaining their couple fun.
Ty and Andrea are not alone. When Dr. David Olson and I did research for our book, The Smart Stepfamily Marriage, we found that many couples struggle to keep alive what we call the fun factor. For example, blended family couples tend to date each other without the children present; they engage in leisure activities that facilitate emotional bonding. But after the wedding, when the demands of parenting and work take over, half of these couples struggle to find enough leisure time together.
That’s a real shame. Especially since a regular dose of fun, relaxing time together predicts with 86 per cent accuracy whether couples have a dynamic, fulfilling relationship or a dissatisfied one. How much better instead is it to keep the fun factor working on your behalf!
Brainstorm a list of the leisure activities you enjoy together. Be sure to mention “biggies” (such as a seven-day cruise) and “little ones” (like playing cards after dinner). A healthy marriage has some of both.
Now discuss which activities are easiest to implement at this stage of your life. What has gotten lost in the stepfamily forest that you would like to rediscover?