Before every anniversary, you will usually reminisce about the good times in your relationship, the special dates, romantic vacations, even the unique and impromptu corny dates you shared when you could have been doing something more enjoyable. Once entrenched in marriage and family life, those recreational and social activities can soon give way to more career-oriented and straightforward couple responsibilities that can quickly drain the life out of any marriage.
Let’s see how this couple handled this very situation.
- Joe: Honey, what’s up for tonight? Are we going to see a movie?
- Lisa: Sorry, honey. I’m going out with the girls tonight.
- Joe: Again? This is the third weekend in a row. What’s up with that?
- Lisa: I figured you would be watching football. Didn’t the playoffs start?
- Joe: I’m really trying to spend some time with you. Ever since you got that new promotion, you have been spending more time in work mode.
- Lisa: I’m just out networking with colleagues. It really helps now that I’m in this new position. You know we are a team and this job benefits both of us. You know that! I promise next weekend.
- Joe: (under his breath) my wife is going to force me to get a girlfriend..
- Lisa: What did you say?!
- Joe: I said, “Have fun with your girlfriends.”
This issue, even though surprising to most, can be the catalyst that fractures your marriage to impairment. According to Willard Harley in his book His Need, Her Needs, recreational companionship is the second most emotional need a mas has. The first being sex. Men are socialized as boys to go outside and play, be active in sports, play video games. On the other hand, most women are raised differently. Even if they are into playing, it’s usually not to the same degree as men. Often in the courtship phase, one of the reasons your spouse was drawn to you is the enthusiasm you displayed when participating in the recreational activities men enjoy.
After marriage, when those activities suddenly aren’t important to you, because of a variety of reasons, it can cause the spouse considerable concern. This could lead to resentment or casually finding a recreational companionship elsewhere.
So, what steps should be taken in regards to your social calendar?
As your time become limited due to work obligations and your children’s activities, it’s imperative that you establish how you as a couple will spend your free time together. Depending on where your friends are in their relationship status could determine how you could incorporate them into your social time. For example, if your wife has a lot of single friends that are used to going out to dinner every weekend, it has to be established how your wife will maintain those relationships within the marriage.
You would also need to establish activities that both of you enjoy doing and would be interested in exploring in the future. That’s just one of the ways you can spend time together without getting into a routine. If both of you can identify 10 to 15 activities you enjoy together, it will help keep the marriage fresh and exciting!
You also can maintain a strong communication by honoring the male’s need for recreational companionship and the woman’s need for conversation as you discuss the day’s events.
So, COUPLES, I ask you, what’s the best way to describe the social interaction you have in your marriage? What are solo activities are you willing to give up, and replace with activities with your spouse?
Coach Keith Dent is a Life Coach who specializes in relationships. He lives in West Orange, New Jersey. You can find more about him and his amazing programs at http://facebook.com/strivetosucceed.dent. You can read his blog at strivetwosucceed.wordpress.com