Last night Ryan and I spent the evening watching our favorite summer program, So You Think You Can Dance, and playing a board game called Last Word. By the end of the night we were in tears from laughing so hard at all of the silly responses we had to the board game.
It was heaven! I thought, Now this was a good thing. We could have just sat there watching TV and barely interacting, but playing a game really brought a boatload-more magic and fun to the night.
And then I started thinking of all the other things that Ryan and I do to have fun together and I came to the conclusion that having fun together is one of the most important things we can do in our marriage!
But ‘having fun’ is often not very high on the ‘to do’ list of life, right?
Sometimes life is so overwhelming that ‘having fun’ doesn’t even seem possible! Like when your baby is crying it’s head off at 3 am and you haven’t slept in 1,237,987 days. Or when your air conditioning breaks and it is 2 million degrees outside and you’re wondering how on earth are you ever going to pay for whatever repairs or replacement job the air conditioning people might have to do????? – which is precisely the situation we are in as I write this.
It’s times like these that could really stress a marriage out and create some serious friction in the house! But Ryan and I have found that instead of snapping at each other or being grumpy, sharing a good laugh is the best medicine ever. And the Bible agrees! Just check out Proverbs 17:22! So, in our 7 years of marriage we have come up with 5 different games that help us cope with the stresses of life and keep our relationship sizzling.
1. The It Could Be Worse Game – This game was invented when Ryan and I were on a vacation and we had missed the Shuttle Bus back to our hotel. I had the brilliant idea of having us board another bus that I thought would take us somewhere near our hotel instead of call a cab like Ryan suggested. He finally let me lead the way and we boarded a bus. But, much to our chagrin, the bus ended up putting us even further from our desired destination. So we boarded another bus thinking that it would remedy the problem but it just kept getting worse and worse AND it was 5 o’clock traffic. We spent many hours on buses that day and I spent a lot of time worrying that my beloved hubby would never forgive me for sending us on such a mess of an adventure. We knew we hit rock bottom when at one point the bus driver decided that it was time for his break, so he just pulled off the road, got out, and smoked a cigarette while we waited and wondered if we’d ever make it back at all. As we sat there, I decided to try to express my sincere apologies to Ryan by making light of our situation. I turned to him and said, “Hey, it could be worse – at least this bus doesn’t have a bomb on it!” It was an absolutely ridiculous thing to say, but it made Ryan crack a smile. “It could be worse,” he said, “the bus driver could never come back and we’d have to walk the rest of the way!” And there our game was born. We went back and forth for awhile, coming up with all kinds of crazy scenarios that were WAY worse than the one we were currently facing. To this day, whenever we are in a pickle of some sort, we look at each other and say, “It could be worse.” Like now, “It could be worse – at least our air conditioning didn’t explode and leave a gaping hole in our wall!”
2. Hide the Ugly Statue Game – This game has been with us since the beginning of our marriage! At our engagement shower, a lovely couple whom we adore gave us a very strange gift – a white, ceramic statue of two people entwined in a passionate embrace. Never quite sure how such an odd and suggestive piece would ever fit in with our decor, we took to hiding it in random places for the other to find. I once came home and found the statue wedged in the toilet. I’ve left it in the refrigerator, wrapped up in Ryan’s towel, tucked in with his boxers, under his pillow, etc. It always makes us laugh with surprise when one or the other finds it.
3. The Quote Game – I love quotes and have this special book full of quotes on my nightstand. I was reading it one night and came across a couple of good ones that I decided to share with Ryan. I thought they would be meaningful and enlightening for him, but he was in a goofy mood that night so he started to poke fun at my little book. He came up with fancy sounding things to say, paused, and then said a name, mimicking the structure of a good quote. For example, we had just watched the movie Julie and Julia earlier that evening, so with it fresh in his head, Ryan said (in Julia’s voice), “Soup is the urine of the gods!!!” Big pause and then, “Julia Childs.” I almost wet my pants. Then we started making up quotes using our own names. I piped in with, “One must always wear glitter!” Big pause and then, “Julia Brasington.” And then because Ryan is always razzing me about my severe hair loss since having a baby he said, “A sasquatch lives in our shower!” Big pause and then, “Ryan Brasington.”
4. The Soap Opera Mute Game – This is more Ryan’s game because I am horrible at it but it makes us both laugh our heads off. If Noah’s napping and Ryan’s home during the day, sometimes he’ll turn on the TV, flip it to some soap opera, put it on mute, and then make up his own things that the characters are saying. You can only imagine the hilariousness of this as he puts words in the mouths of soap stars who are acting their scenes with super dramatic gestures and emotions. He is so good at this game that he can go for five minutes straight and not break character or lose inspiration.
5. Shadow Puppets – One of the greatest things we got off of our Baby Registry was a video monitor to watch Noah while he is in his crib. It’s amazing because we can see everything our little man is doing in there – like run laps or do headstands. The only downside is that it’s SUPER bright, so our once dark bedroom now has quite the light show. One evening we were lying in bed listening to Noah cry and I was having a new-mommy-anxiety-attack about whether or not we should let him cry it out or go get him and I was beginning to cry because I thought if we let him cry it out he was going to be scarred for life, and Ryan suddenly made the shape of a crane with his hand and held it up so that the light from the monitor reflected the shadow of his hand on the ceiling. I laughed and made my own butterfly shadow puppet and tried to get mine to eat his. It was pure silliness but it made me forget to be anxious about Noah’s crying and remember that it wasn’t as horrible of a situation as I was making it out to be.
As silly as our games might be, they are incredibly helpful in keeping our marriage magical as well as drawing either Ryan or myself out of the pit. They keep our eyes focused on the bigger picture – the one that reminds us that God is in charge. Christ came for us to have the ABUNDANT life! Laughter is a gift from Him that allows us to express our trust in the knowledge that He has been faithful and will continue to be.
“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” Psalm 126:2
What do you and your hubby do to have fun????