Infusing Fun into Your Marriage this Summer

26 July 2023

Appears in: Archdiocesan News

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and helps us to persevere.”

~ St. Philip Neri[1]

This summer, as you soak up the warmer weather and plan your vacation time, take the opportunity to prioritize time for fun in your marriage. When the summer heat becomes difficult to bear and vacation planning becomes burdensome, the need for fun can get overlooked. This summer, what are some ways that you can foster a sense of joy and fun in your marriage?

Life can be very serious. There’s always something to do: Bills to pay, work to do, responsibilities to attend to with your spouse and children, meetings to go to, chores to complete, medical appointments to attend, and the list goes on. As adults, we can feel burdened by our responsibilities and have fewer opportunities to have fun like we did as children. After all, where are we supposed to add fun to all the busyness of being an adult and being married?

Melissa Guzik

A great way to connect with your spouse is to have fun! “The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high and significant. The more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time.”[2]

This is good news, as there are many saints who liked to have fun! St. John Paul II is known for his love of fun activities such as skiing into his seventies, being involved in drama productions, going kayaking, and having a sense of humour. St. Philip Neri, the patron saint of Catholic Missions in Canada is considered the patron saint of joy and is known for his cheerfulness and bringing humour to situations.[3] There is also St. Lawrence who is the patron saint of comedians, who even made jokes as he was being burned to death[4].

How can you take time for fun in your marriage? One way is to try using humour. Sometimes we take ourselves so seriously that we forget the benefits of humour to lighten the mood and decrease stress. Take time to laugh, play music, dance, play a fun game, tell jokes, and just be silly. It’s amazing how doing so can have a contagious effect on those around us.

Another way to have fun is to be intentional about planning enjoyable activities. You could consider spending time together as a couple, either trying something new or revisiting an activity you used to enjoy. You can ask yourselves, “What dates did we do earlier in our relationship that brought us joy? What was your favourite date of all time? When was a time that we laughed really hard?” Then use these memories as inspiration to plan similar or entirely new dates and aim to go on such dates on a regular basis. Depending on your season of life, these dates may take place at home or out in the community. Sometimes it is better to have an in-home date than to have no date at all.

On July 26, we celebrate the feast day of St. Anne and St. Joachim, the parents of Mary, Jesus’ grandparents. In his homily on Sunday, December 10, 1978, St. John Paul II stated that the name Anne in Hebrew means “God has given grace.”[5] If you take a moment to ponder who St. Anne and St. Joachim were, you might imagine that they were people who were grace-filled and calm. Their daughter became pregnant by the Holy Spirit! One moment their daughter was engaged to be married, and the next moment, they found out they were expecting a grandson who was the Messiah! That would be a lot to take in and would be quite the shift in perspective.

Jean MacKenzie

We can only imagine that St. Anne and St. Joachim handled this difficult situation with grace and equanimity, and possibly a bit of humour.  It may be interesting to think of what St. Anne and St. Joachim may have done to enjoy themselves. Did they attend parties, play music, read poetry, tell stories, dance, or play games? We can ponder how taking time to have fun can bring a sense of balance to our lives, allowing us to handle the ups and downs of life with greater equanimity.

To have fun and joy with your spouse this summer, you could have a picnic, hike, swim in a familiar place or explore a new location, or embark on a pilgrimage.

As you and your spouse take time for more fun this summer, may these times be opportunities for connection, joy, and laughter to become closer to each other and to God. It is our hope that these fun moments will not only be a part of your summer but also an ongoing part of your year.

-Melissa Guzik and Jean MacKenzie are Registered Psychologists who work in private practice in Edmonton.  Melissa has been married since 2002 and has four children and Jean has been married since 2001 and has seven children. They are co-authors of the Catholic marriage enrichment book and workbook  To Know, Love and Serve: A Path to Marital Fulfilment. For more information see: www.knowloveserve.info.

[1] Novalis Seeds of Faith, St. Philip Neri and the Cheerful Heart (2014). Retrieved from https://novalisseedsoffaith.com/2014/05/26/st-philip-neri-the-saint-of-humour/
[2] Markman, H., as cited in Gottman, J, Schwartz Gottman, J., Abrams D, & Carlton Abrams, R, Eight Dates (New York, NY: Workman Publishing Co, Inc., 2018), p. 157.
[3] Novalis Seeds of Faith, St. Philip Neri and the Cheerful Heart (2014). Retrieved from https://novalisseedsoffaith.com/2014/05/26/st-philip-neri-the-saint-of-humour/
[4] Kosloski, P., How St. Lawrence Became the Patron Saint of Comedians, (Aletia, 2019). Retrieved from https://aleteia.org/2019/08/10/how-st-lawrence-became-the-patron-saint-of-comedians/
[5] John Paul II, Eucharistic Celebration in the Parish of Saint Anne in the Vatican: Homily of His Holiness John Paul II (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 10 December, 1978). Retrieved from https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/homilies/1978/documents/hf_jp-ii_hom_19781210_sant-anna.html.
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