Strengthening Your Marriage While Playing

The other day my husband remarked about our 1 year old son that the next few years of his life were going to be the best in terms of playing. When I questioned him further about this statement, he jokingly said “well when you are 16 it’s not really ‘cool’ or acceptable to play with G.I. Joes”. Although I have to agree with his explanation, I’m happy to say that his first statement doesn’t have to be true (sorry hunny!)

Couples come to counseling for many reasons but there are some common factors that these couples normally share. They often are experiencing less satisfaction in their relationship, are feeling less connected to one another, and are having a harder time communicating and resolving issues. Once your relationship is at this point, it seems like too much work to get it back on track, but let it go too long and you may just face a potential divorce. So what can you do now so that you do not get to that point? Have fun!!

Sounds too easy to be true huh? Well, having fun and playing together could just save your marriage. We often associate play with children, but we don’t realize how much it is an integral part of life. Play helps us learn, relax, and connect to others, all of which can help us in
our relationships.

Playing is the biggest medium of learning for children, but it can also be a great way for adults to learn as well. Play can help us practice our relationship skills in a non-threatening manner. It gives us new opportunities to learn about ourselves and our partners and how to best work together. During play we can take on new roles to find different ways of interacting with each other.

I think most will agree that when they are stressed, their relationships often suffer, especially those with their partner and children. Play can be a great stress reducer. As we are having a good time and laughing, our brain releases endorphins that help combat stress. By lowering your level of stress, you will be better able to enjoy your partner without snapping at, belittling, or easily getting annoyed with them!

By playing with your spouse you’ll also develop a stronger connection and bond. Play can be beneficial by helping us find new ways to connect with one another and giving us new experiences and memories to share. Those endorphins I talked about earlier also contribute to the feeling of love, and the positive feelings experienced during play will carry over into the rest of your relationship.

Although hopefully you are now able to see how “play” can benefit your relationship, it probably still sounds vague and a bit like child’s play! In the next entry I will discuss how to incorporate play into your relationship in order to get the most out of it and actually make it happen!

Gotta give credit where credit is deserved. Information has been adapted from a presentation given by past professors of mine Dr. Linda Vanderbleek, Ph.D., LMHC, LMFT, NCC and Dr. Leila Roach, Ph.D., LMFT, LMHC, NCC.


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