I want you to meet Mr. Rubber Ducky, and Mrs. Fabulous Flamingo.
Play is the air that
keeps their love inflated.
Without it, both
partners would deflate emotionally and feel stuck in a flat relationship.
research highlights that 70% of a relationship’s satisfaction is determined by
the couple’s friendship. This research has been
done for thousands of couples, and is true for both men and women.
The couples who
found ways to play together at every stage of their relationship stayed
together. The couples who didn’t eventually separated or endured an unhappy relationship.
Play makes emotional
connection easy and enjoyable. It invites both partners to open up emotionally.
Play is a form of intimacy, because it requires an intimate knowledge of your partner’s inner world. A playful friendship with one
another creates a strong relationship.
Maybe you grew up
struggling with the concept of play. I know I did. I always felt that it came
secondary to winning prizes or achievements.
Your play style is a
reflection of the emotional security we were offered as kids. This is also true
for adults. Couples who create an emotionally secure relationship are often
more playful than insecure couples.
Couples who lack
trust or commitment tend to be kidnapped by their insecurities, thus blocking
the part of the brain that activates play.
Learning to play
well with each other is also what helps us fight well. Stan Tatkin, PsyD states that
“secure couples know that a good fight stays within the play zone.” In other
words, the conflict isn’t allowed to get nasty. Since both partners are committed
to each other for the long haul, they are able to keep their walls down.
Part of cultivating
Intimate Relationship is creating a culture of play.
Here are 3 Ways to
Increase Play in Your Relationship:
#1 Try New and
Unfamiliar Activities: Psychologist Arthur Aron recruited 53 middle aged couples to
study novelty and boredom in long-term relationships. The couples were asked to
either engage in activities that were familiar and enjoyable, to do nothing, or
to find something new to do together.
After ten weeks, who
do you think had a better relationship?
The couples who did
new and unfamiliar activities had a much higher satisfaction in their
relationship than the couples who spent their time doing familiar things.
Here are some ideas
a walk in a different part of town or venture to a new park together
a new restaurant in town
a new activity such as indoor rock climbing, roller skating, bowling, or
a day trip: Get in the car and drive. Stop whenever you feel like getting
out and exploring
#2 Re-invent Date
Night: My partner and I recently tried a date night box called “Night in Boxes.” The theme was called “blind
date.” We were asked to create an obstacle course, and then lead our
blindfolded partner through the course using only verbal instructions.
It was a great way
to connect and be playful with one another without leaving the comfort of our
home. I highly recommend it!
Here are some other
dressed up and take a class together, such as salsa dancing, or a paint
and wine workshop
to a coffee shop to sip warm drinks and chat
a tour in your town you’ve never been on
#3 Participate in
the 7-Day Emotional Connection Challenge: In two weeks I’m
taking a select group of couples on an exciting seven-day virtual adventure –
but in the comfort of their own home. Get ready to reconnect with your partner
in a very playful way! Check your email next week for more details.
Play is essential to
making love last. It’s created by both partners and requires intentionality as
an adult. Like scheduling sex and date night, we need to
schedule time for play, exploration, and adventures. These activities
revitalize our love life and deepen our emotional connection.
partners tend to drift apart from each other, making it impossible to sustain
To prevent this, Mr.
Rubber Ducky and Mrs. Fabulous Flamingo tether to each other with a long rope.
That way if they drift too far apart, they can intentionally pull each other
closer and reconnect through playful activities and adventures. Shouldn’t you
do the same?
Kyle “Mr. Rubber
Ducky’s owner” Benson