You ever watch a young couple in love? They’re always flirting and teasing each other. Laughter is the norm. There’s a playful quality that is present that is both infectious and energizing. Is it strictly youth that creates such a relationship?
We went out to dinner recently with our kids. For the whole meal we were talking and laughing and carrying on as we often do. A middle aged couple (our age) came in and sat at the booth across from ours. I couldn’t help but notice their complete lack of interaction with one another. I don’t think over the course of their meal that they said more than five words. My guess is they were empty nesters, dining out because they didn’t feel like cooking. They certainly weren’t there to enjoy each other’s company. Their food came, they ate, the plates were cleared, they paid the bill and departed. I don’t know anything about these people, or what is going on in their lives. But I do know this. They didn’t become a couple behaving that way. They didn’t fall in love by sitting silently or grunting at a waitress.
Since that time, I’ve noticed that they are not alone in this behavior. Many couples have little to say to one another once the kids leave the home. What kind of existence is that? How is it that the young couple that laughs and plays together, and can’t stand the thought of being apart for anytime at all becomes the old curmudgeons that see no reason to speak?
The best way to not lose your playfulness is to be intentional about it. Don’t let the pressures of ongoing life force you into a dull and serious relationship. Doing unexpected things, breaking out of patterns, going to new places are all simple ways of keeping things exciting. If you ever see us out alone at dinner, you’ll probably never see us silent. It’s not uncommon for us to pose a thought provoking question to one another that can consume our entire meal with intriguing conversation. It takes a little more effort, but I can’t imagine going through my marriage in such a dull and listless manner. As for us, we choose playfulness!