Recreational intimacy is a mixture of being AND doing. For some people this saying is almost a cliche. For others I come in contact with it is a foreign concept. In my work I meet people that are all about achieving, accomplishing and doing more. They are all about going over the top, but come to me confused when all that pressure to succeed eventually cracks something and their life leaks out in a uncontained puddle. Their overly competetive spirit was beneficial in many ways but at a great cost to less measurable parts of their soul.
Being and doing are both essential in recreational intimacy. There has to be place for the leisurely, the still contemplation in nature, the slow reflective walk around the lake while drinking coffee, the being. And there also must be room for the mountain biking, the water skiing, the snow skiing, the triathlons, the power walking, the doing.
Now, what you actually enjoy doing for recreation may be much different than the list above. Couples negatives in relationship are usually quite similar while their positives in recreation are more diverse.
What if there is a competitive person in the mix? I know of one couple where physical fitness is a high priority for the man. He wants to get out on the trail and get after it. She wants to take a leisurely stroll and talk and enjoy the mountains. There was tension as he felt slowed down and she felt left behind. To compromise he now gets out and gets his workout in and then catches up with her and they have a slower walk together enjoying one another and the surroundings. A good combination of being and doing.
Think about the most enjoyable, interesting, and fun activities you’ve ever done, or activities you would like to do together. These can be inexpensive like sitting in the woods, taking a walk or having a picnic in the park, or they can be pricier like a steak dinner and a broadway caliber show. These can be things you have done or activities you'd like to do. Is there anything new and different you'd like to see or do?
These can be activities you do with other couples, but be aware adding other couples can be a way to avoid having to deal with one another.
Is seriousness squeezing the life out of your recreation. Remember to be playful.
“Play nourishes our delight. When we engage in “purposeless” enjoyment of one another, we harvest some of the sweetest fruits of life.” Sabbath: Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest by Wayne Mueller
When was the last time you spent some time in 'purposeless' enjoyment of one another? Ann and I put together a video for a marriage conference. We found many videos of dating couples at play but had trouble finding married couples in 'purposeless' enjoyment. This reflects a truth that many married couples gradually lose a sense of playfulness that is vital in their relationship early on. Making these changes may require a shift in your value of recreational intimacy and 'playing together'.
So back to that list we mentioned. Do you like board games? Cards? Ball games? Bagel and coffee dates?
Your homework is:
Brainstorm to create a list of activities you would like to participate in together to develop more Recreational/Social intimacy. These need to be a combination of His, Hers and NEW activities!
Then, brainstorm ways you can ensure these activities are more likely to take place.