Why Play Is Important in A Relationship
Ever seen one of those trending social media videos where grandparents still dance with each other, or one pulling a prank on the other that garners the likes of thousands, and the envy of millions?
Play is immensely powerful.
When your inner child feels safe enough to come out to play, something unimaginably beautiful happens.
Just notice how people react around babies and how most people gravitate towards them, and change their behaviors to suit them. In the presence of someone innocent, open, and vulnerable, everyone else around tends to also follow suit. It creates the perfect atmosphere for strengthening bonds.
There are milestones in every relationship – First, the honeymoon stage where you’re still all polite, then one day you start farting and sharing the bathroom with each other.
The hallmark of how comfortable you are with one another though should be accompanied by positive signs like mutual acceptance and room to be absolutely childish and immature with your partner.
Play Has No Rules
Here’s the wonderful thing about play – It is a safe space void of rules, judgment, or pressures. There are no expectations, no right or wrong, and no desired outcomes.
It is a space where you can let your guards down, one which encourages joy and laughter to fill the air. What a marvelous time it is!
Play Feels Good
Having fun simply feels good. Laughter releases endorphins, grounds you in the present, and effectively dilutes the seriousness of reality and everything we adults tend to worry about. At that moment, everything fades away. It’s just you and your partner, immersed in the present, in a shared moment you might end up remembering forever.
Play Creates Powerful Shared Moments
Shared moments between a couple greatly contribute to the strength or downfall of a relationship, depending on what you both fill your cup of shared moments with – mostly positives or negatives.
Naturally, the more your bucket is filled with positive memories, the higher your happiness index as a couple gets.
Play Injects Fun into the Mundane
Couples in long-term relationships all know that life together consists of a lot of mundane moments doing practical chores, and sometimes it’s easy to either drift apart or even gets bored of one another if both of you don’t know how to play!
Be open to trying new things throughout. Schedule a weekly date night! That’ll help keep things fresh.
Play Shows You a Different Side of Your Partner
People are complex and dynamic; there’re multiple facets to someone’s personality.
Similar to how you sometimes might be able to spot defense mechanisms during an argument and learn how to defuse them, the playful version of someone also shows you a different side to them. The more you understand your partner and vice versa, the better and easier communication and doing life together will be.
Play Enhances Connections
Playfulness supports your relationship in fantastic ways – People use playfulness in seduction, in communicating a heavier topic, in teasing their partners about their faults and/or quirks that you couldn’t otherwise bring up without arguing.
Play encourages togetherness. It’s akin to developing a secret language between couples that enhances bonding – Nicknames, private jokes, even a word you throw out knowing the other will shoot you a death stare.
Play Makes the Perfect Repair Attempts
Playing has the power to heal emotional wounds.
Repair attempts are gestures one party or both throw out in the midst of a heated argument, just to introduce a segue to prevent further escalation. It’s a skill every couple already inherently possesses or should learn because all relationships need it.
While tension’s rising, playfulness can help interrupt the intensity of the moment and downplay the situation to pave the way for reconciliation.
Play Creates Greater Relationship Satisfaction
Happy couples who remain in love after decades together are usually the ones who have acquired the ability to poke fun and make light of life and tackle issues together as a team. They’re the ones whom when you look over, they’re often laughing together.
They’re best friends who remind each other of their most embarrassing moments and let their silly goofy selves out frequently. Such couples generally feel greater satisfaction in their relationships.
If play feels unfamiliar to you and/or your partner at the moment, that’s okay! Give yourself permission to be a kid again, and who knows, your boyfriend/girlfriend might slowly be coaxed to also reveal that side of themselves!
If you can achieve that in your relationship, then as the popular saying goes, “If you fight like a married couple, talk like best friends, flirt like first love, protect each other like siblings, it’s meant to be.”
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Deborah Choo loves discussing relationships, platonic or not, as that remains at the heart of human existence. She draws upon learnings from couples’ counselling, and continues to celebrate an incredible journey of growth.