There are huge differences between men and women when discussing the concept of emotional intimacy. To most women, it usually means sharing secret things of the heart, talking things over, and affection such as cuddling.
There was a long running beer commercial where a man was alone out in nature, fishing or hunting, and as he opened his drink he would proclaim, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.” But most men would disagree. It could get a lot better, if his wife would join him and enthusiastically share in the activity.
Men are bent toward action and they feel emotionally connected when doing things together. Husbands feel closest to their wives when they are working together on landscaping, going to see a movie, enjoying a recreational activity. According to William F. Harley Jr., (His Needs Her Needs) “Spending recreational time with his spouse is second only to sex for the typical husband. “
Couples Who Play Together Stay Together
Play is not just for kids. According to research, married couples who have a fun time together in “joint leisure activity and recreation” have higher marital satisfaction and happiness. Some of the reasons for the findings is that hanging out with your spouse in fun activities can do the following:
- Renew your marriage
- Improve positive communication
- Develop stronger friendship
- Solidify your marriage commitmen‘So I decided that there was nothing better for a man to do than to enjoy his food and drink and his job. Then I realized that even this pleasure is from the hand of God.’ – Ecclesiastes 2:24 (Living Bible)
Assessing Your Activity Quotient
Take a few moments and answer each question True or False. (Adapted from Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, “The Love List”)
- I have learned to enjoy new activities because my spouse enjoys them.
- We have a specific time reserved on our weekly calendar where we can enjoy doing something together – just the two of us.
- I know that my partner thoroughly enjoys my company on outings we share.
- If we don’t do something active together during the week, we notice the negative impact on our relationship.
- One of us has forgone another opportunity in order for us to be together for an activity.
- We sometimes take a walk or even drive just for the fun of being together.
- I can remember a specific activity we enjoyed doing together in the past week that lifted our spirits.
- We rarely run out of ideas of things we’d like to do together.
- Our friends know what kinds of things we do as a couple.
- When it comes to doing something active together, we are very creative.
Eight or more “true” responses means you are well on your way to enjoying the habit of having shared activities in your marriage. Less than eight means that you will benefit from the following tips in strengthening this part of your marriage.
Keys to Doing It Together
- Be open to try new things. If you only think about all the activities you enjoy and all the activities you have ever witnessed or heard your spouse speak about, you may never find something that both of you enjoy doing. However, if you keep an open about broadening your sphere of interest, you will likely find a few activities that neither of you have ever tried that are worth trying out together.
- Make it a priority. You make time in your schedule for appointments that are important to you. Taking care of maintaining your marriage should be a regularly scheduled “appointment”. Research reveals that marital happiness is highly correlated with the amount of time spent together. Schedule it.
- Recognize your importance. One time Roy was leading a retreat in the Chicago area and, because of the timing of the retreat, ended up spending an extra day before flying back home. He spent some time at Navy Pier, on the top of the Willis (Sears) Tower, and tasking Chicago’s famed pizza and Italian beefs. Devra was looking forward to hearing all about it but was shocked when he told her, how wonderful it was but “it was just not the same as when I’m with you.” You being there with your spouse is vitally important.
- Be flexible. Sometimes the activity that you love the most is not going to be a fit for an activity the two of you can do together. Sometimes the activity that you think you will hate turns out to be much more fun than you could have ever anticipated. Be flexible to not force your spouse into your favorite activity or not give up on an activity before you ever try it.
- Enjoy the adventure. Try something crazy. Go for something radical. Keep it legal, but think outside the box. If nothing else, go for a drive together. Go for a walk together. Be together headed in the same direction and enjoy discussing the scenery.
Get a free copy of our friends Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott’s “Activities to Share” by clicking the link in this sentence.
What do you have to say?
We love to hear from readers. Do you believe men and women connect emotionally the same or differently? How did you do on the assessment? What questions would you add? What would you add to the list of “keys to doing it together”? How important is doing activities together to you and your marriage? If you tried any of these suggestions, how did it work out for you?
This article was written by Roy and Devra Wooten, authors of “The Secret to a Lifetime Love”. Learn more at www.LifeTogetherForever.com © Roy and Devra Wooten 2016. All Rights Reserved. You may replicate this article as long as it is provided free to recipients and includes appropriate attribution. Written permission for other use may be obtained at Secret@LifeTogetherForever.com.