GettyImages-83162937Mark: The last 9 months we’ve been working hard both on the book and on our kitchen remodel. We were in desperate need of some down time.

Jill: Years ago I remember reading Willard Harley’s book His Needs…Her Needs and learning that one of the needs of a marriage is “recreational companionship.” According to Harley, recreational companionship is most often prioritized higher by husbands but it’s an important need of our marriage. Bottom line, we need to play together!

Mark: Think about it: much of dating is playing together. You go to movie, take a hike, go canoeing, enjoy a picnic, take in a ballgame, or ride bikes.  Once you say “I do” and especially once you add kids to the mix, it becomes harder and harder to remember the importance of playing together.

Jill: With little ones at home, sometimes that play time will include kids and sometimes it needs to be just the two of you. Your marriage needs both.  I admit, particularly when the kids were little I was sometimes a fuddy-duddy about playing together. There was just so much to be done that I didn’t want to take the time. Not only that but I was often too tired to play. I had to learn to prioritize play for the sake of my marriage.

Mark: Jill and I don’t often like to “play” the same things. That was another hump we had to get over. When I first got my motorcycle, she was fearful of riding it. I so wanted us to ride together.

Jill: I decided I needed to step into Mark’s world and ride with him. It took a while to be comfortable on the bike, but now I love it!  Mark’s also been willing to step into my world and do things I enjoy doing like taking a walk in the evening.

Mark: Jill and I set aside this past weekend as a play weekend for us. We’re not taking a vacation this summer so we’ve set aside a few days here and there to enjoy some down time. We spent the weekend with friends and just enjoyed some valuable down time.

Jill: Even just taking a walk, riding bikes after dinner, or sitting out on the porch, chatting, reading, or enjoying a fire in the evening can be playing together.  What’s most important is leaving the “to do” list behind and relaxing. What I love is when we break away from the everyday, let ourselves laugh, enjoy life, and focus on each other for a bit.

Mark: Playing keeps us from drifting apart. It combats stress. It creates time for unhurried conversation.

Jill: It won’t happen without intentionality, though. If you haven’t already, make some plans to play together!

What about you? Are you willing to play? Do you have time set aside to play as a couple?

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