Last year my husband Brian and I sat pondering what we should do to celebrate our June wedding anniversary. After quite a bit of hemming and hawing and none of the ideas really sounding that fun, we decided to take a 4-night canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). The last time we had been to this watery, million plus acre wilderness area in northeastern Minnesota, was to celebrate my 50th birthday, and more than a couple additional birthdays had passed since that time.
Since it was an anniversary trip, we decided to go the easy route and have an outfitter pack our food for us. We also rented some of the necessary gear that we did not have… canoe, paddles, Duluth packs, and ropes to hang our food items out of reach from hungry bears.
For Brian and I, paddling and camping in the BWCA scratches something deep in our souls. We found a wonderful campsite, complete with a calm bay out front, a beautiful sunset view, and a loon that frequented the area and filled some of the silence with its eerie calls. The food and coffee were delicious, cooked over an open fire or propane stove. There was no roughing it with the coffee, as we made sure to bring fresh, whole beans, a hand crank bean grinder and hazelnut creamer.
Along with crystal clear lakes and amazing views, the BWCA can harbor an incredible number of mosquitos. We definitely had our share of those. After we had our dinner each night and the sun began to go down, those hungry buggers came out, seeking us out for an easy meal. In an attempt to make it more difficult for them, we’d use smoke from the campfire, bug repellent and of course the good ole fashioned slap.
One of the things we really like to do on these kinds of trips, is not pay attention to the time. We wake up when we wake, eat when we’re hungry and use the sun to guide our use of the day.
To move between some of the lakes in the BWCA, you need to carry all of your gear (canoe, paddles, backpacks, fishing gear) on a path that runs between the lakes. This is called a portage. Thankfully, my personal Sherpa Brian always carries the canoe for us, while often also wearing a backpack and managing to strap all sorts of other items to the canoe as well. He marches steadily on the path, head down and looking at his feet and the path while the canoe obscures his view ahead. I follow after him and usually end up some distance behind.
On one of our portages, I noticed a pile of feathers on the trail. It looked so weird, but knowing I was near the end and anxious to put down my burden, I passed by it thinking we would go back and take a look. When I arrived at the end, I asked Brian, “Did you see that pile of feathers?”
He said, “I had the strangest thing happen. A ruffed grouse ran out in front of me and I stepped on its tail with my left foot, and then keeping my stride I kicked it with my right foot. I heard kind of a squawk but kept going with the canoe!”
We went back and looked, and there was a perfect tail of the grouse on the trail! A never to be repeated event. How funny! And unbelievable! That grouse tail is one of the many fun memories we have from taking that trip.
I share all this to make a point… It’s important for adults to have fun. Fun can be defined as something that brings pleasure, joy or playfulness.
We often think of fun as just for kids. As an adult, you should also make sure your calendar has some fun things scheduled into it this summer as well. For couples, having fun together is a powerful tool for strengthening your marriage.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
Couples start out their dating relationship doing all sorts of fun things together. Over time, familiarity with each other and the numerous tasks and responsibilities of life can push fun activities aside. We’ve all heard or said these statements… “We are too busy to plan to just have fun.” “We don’t like to do the same things.” “Someday we will…”
I recently heard a speaker say, “If you’re not laughing together and doing fun things in your marriage, your marriage is in danger.” I believe it!
Do you look at your spouse and associate them with fun? Was that truer in the past then it is today? I’m assuming that when you fell in love with your spouse, you did all sorts of fun things together. Having fun with your spouse will keep your marriage thriving. If your goal is to have a strong marriage, fun must find its way into it.
The data is clear. We are at our best when we are having fun. That means that couples are at their best when they are having fun! Consider the benefits of you and your spouse being intentional about doing fun activities together. Laughter, reduced stress, better communication, relational harmony, fun memories and closeness to name a few.
If knowing where to begin seems like a challenge to you, here is how to get started. With your spouse, take some time to brainstorm some ideas of what activities sound like fun. Your spouse will have some things they think would be fun that you won’t (i.e. winter camping). You will have some ideas that you think would be fun, that your spouse won’t (i.e. swing dancing lessons). But there will also be things that you both think would be fun. Pick a date and time and put it on the calendar.
If you are struggling at finding common ground, choose something that would be new to both of you, try it out and see if it fits or if you need to try something else. Remember, a fun activity has no accomplishment, no purpose… other than spending time together in an enjoyable way.
Our calendars can get filled quickly. If we don’t plan our time, it will get planned for us. Blessings to you as a couple as you intentionally seek to have fun together this summer and beyond!
Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 9:9