In the beginning, having fun is one of the cornerstones of your new relationship. You’re focused on dates and activities and adventures. Exploring and traveling and staying busy with something new and exciting and fun every chance you get, your relationship thrives on the mutual enjoyment. Like many couples, after a while Sammie and Jack spent more time on the menial tasks and have-to-dos around their home than they spent focusing on each other and on having a good time. It was strange but at the same time a new normal for them that the percentages had flipped.
One afternoon after a particularly long day reorganizing their carport and its contents, Sammie decided as a final measure to hose out the carport for a nice fresh clean floor. Jack rolled his eyes but relented. Even though he really wanted to be done with the job, there was no arguing with Sammie when she wanted to get a job finished “the right way”. So he stepped aside to give her room to spray away.
Next thing you know, an errant spritz of water found its way onto Jack’s shorts. Sammie freezes, knowing she’s already on Jack’s last nerve with insisting on making the carport perfect after it was already a long day doing a boring and grueling chore in the heat of the Florida sun.
What will Jack do? This is a moment of opportunity. Will he lose it or will he respond with a fun attitude? This is the crucial moment in turning toward instead of away.
With a heavy sigh, Jack exclaims and throws his arms wide, “FINALLY! I’ve been so hot all day and you JUST NOW decide to give me some relief? Give me some more!” With a raucous laugh, Sammie aims the hose and fires and before you know it they’re both wrapped in each others arms, soaking wet, and relieved of all the tension from a long day of chores.
How wonderful is it that we can take a moment that could lead to a huge fight and turn it into a way to reconnect with our partner? The Gottman’s research shows that the easiest way we have to connect with our partner is by having fun together, sharing humor, and engaging in playfulness. Are you willing to respond to a tense situation with silliness instead of sourness? See if you can infuse your relationship with more laughter and enjoy the effect of a stronger couple friendship and shared meaning. <3