‘If you never did you should. These things are fun and fun is good.’ ― Dr. Seuss
Fun and laughter together are important elements to a healthy, deeply loving relationship…
The Definition of Fun
The dictionary defines fun as being an amusement or a sport. I like to define ‘fun’ as being light hearted play or activities…
What is Fun?
Having fun together has traditionally been associated with sharing an activity or event or doing something together. The idea being that we have fun… largely due to that sharing…the so called togetherness experienced.
But the latest research indicates that that’s not the case…That having fun is not as simple as that! Nor for that matter that straightforward!
In fact it’s the very opposite of what we have been led to believe… What do I mean?
As stated we traditionally think of having fun in a relationship as doing an activity together… But it’s been shown that if the activity is not an activity that you personally enjoy and you do it or engage in it when your fun tank is deplete…Going ahead and doing the activity anyhow will not result in you having fun… As importantly done under duress or with little enthusiasm it’s more likely to result in you being miserable and potentially resentful to your partner for suggesting or insisting that you tag along…
The result? Despite the best laid plans you blow it and neither of you have fun. Ever experienced this…?
How Full is Your Fun Tank?
Just as we have a love tank that needs refuelling on a frequent basis we have another vessel inside of us that thrives on fun, passion and play. And it too needs constant attention to ensure that it’s maintained…
… is overflowing to the brim!
Left unattended this tank can make us feel lethargic, miserable, or just plain disinterested in life – so hardly much fun to be around, let alone deliciously lovable!
So how full is yours? And what are you and your partner doing to keep the fun in your relationship alive and sparkling?
An analogy that I feel makes sense is to think of fun in the same way that you think of the gas or fuel in your car… When the fuel gauge is on full you can motor anywhere and happily for long distances.
Let the gas fall to a point where the fuel gauge indicator light starts flashing and you know that your motoring miles are severely limited…
And worse if you are motoring along on a remote country road, anxiety and stress kick in. Your chances of being stranded….running out of fuel, increase.
Your fun tank works in exactly the same way…! When your fun tank is full you can motor along and have fun with your partner in an activity that you would not choose naturally to do….or enjoy…
…but when your fun tank is deplete, despite your best efforts having fun together in something you don’t enjoy becomes hard work!
It’s been shown that just like personality types…how we have fun and how our fun tank gets filled differs…not just in the activities but in the way those activities engage us. So in order to understand how to have fun with your partner you first need to understand how your own fun tank gets filled.
We Often Delight in Different Things
If you’re like most couples, you and your partner probably enjoy quite different things. Your ‘fun tanks’ are filled in different ways. Different things or activities fulfil that sense of fun for each of you…
For instance I love to follow celebrity chefs, am inspired by exotic food ingredients and diverse cultures and cuisines. I love to go to farmers’ markets, find interesting produce and come home and cook up a storm! I love the research and experimentation involved with these activities.
My partner loves sport, loves to watch a game on TV, play a round of golf or go to the races. He’s inspired by the energy and competition of these activities
For each of us this is how our fun tanks are replenished. This doesn’t mean that each of us doesn’t enjoy the activities of the other, but our sense of fun per se is not activated by participating in these activities, and out of choice they may not be things that either of us would pursue, let alone cultivate.
With my fun tank filled I can happily attend a day at the races with my partner and have fun. With my fun tank reading empty this is a chore for me to do as experience has taught me.
Let me give you an example.
I had never been to the races and had no inclination to do so until I met my partner. To add fuel to the fire I’d been raised in a family that held quite strong, negative views about horse racing and its pursuit. In my parents’ eyes horse racing meant betting, considered gambling and not fun by them…! And these views were firmly engrained into me as a teenager.
My partner on the other hand was a keen race goer, had spent his youth growing up with horses, and his family were heavily involved in the breeding of racing stock! To him racing was the sport of champions! An elite sport! To him going to the races was not just an exciting adventure; it was a full day out, a sport of skill and endurance. Horses were examined, racing forms discussed and training schedules closely followed!
So in racing season, attendance was expected….and in his eyes loaded with fun!
It was not long into our dating days that I was invited to join him. A crucial moment for me – and fraught with a degree of conflict…
And even more so as I knew how important the event meant to my partner. To heighten matters, racing days were the days his family came into the city, so were a time when my partner caught up with his family.
So I’m sure you can relate to how I felt…. I approached the day with a high degree of trepidation…
….Not a day that I was looking forward to! Let alone a day of expected fun.
What it meant for me was a ‘meet the family’ for the first time and attend a racing day…with the views of my family still firmly entrenched! All thrown into one!
I remember the day well…!
How the Day Progressed
It was first to the stables to inspect the horses, then to the members’ area to meet his family and to discuss the form or condition of the horses.
Next to the ring to see the horses being put through their paces, then back to the members’ stand to compare notes. Then to the betting area to place bets and then back to the members’ stand to watch as the event began!
A few walks around the concourse for some fresh air, a break for lunch and repeat!
I was bored out of my mind! And you the reader are possibly bored with my recounting it!
So what was the problem?
While my partner was most attentive to explain the day, with no race background I didn’t have a clue! That coupled with the entrenched views of my family I couldn’t see the point…I couldn’t appreciate the skill of rider, trainer or horse breeder!
With no eye to appreciate the skill my attention focused on the design and colour combinations of the jockey’s racing habits!
Needless to say that focus was not enough to provide a sense of fun for a whole day.
It was the longest day ever…! And challenging just to keep a smile on my face… Or undermine or spoil my partner’s fun. He was having the time of his life…
Not the racing….but doing something with your partner that they love and you tagging along out of sufferance…
Not a foundation for a loving, committed relationship…
Want to Have Fun doing Things that You don’t Naturally Enjoy?
I’m sure you can think of many instances of things you love to do, that fill your fun tank but fail to fill your partner’s… and likewise things he or she finds fun and you don’t.
As a result one of two things happens.
The things that fill up YOUR fun tank fall by the wayside… are no longer done, or if they are… done LESS frequently or worse ALONE… when you’d love to share the activity and have your partner’s company.
Or alternatively you make a trade or agreement with your partner so that your partner unwillingly or begrudgingly does the things that you find fun and you do the same thing for him….
‘Tagging’ along out of sufferance or perceived duty… done regularly can result in resentment mounting. Spoken or not… very soon you become less enthusiastic to participate or be involved in your partner’s activities…
Hardly what I would call fun…would you?
What if there is another way…? A way in which both parties win…?
I believe there is! I’ve learnt that when YOUR own fun tank is full, that you can happily participate in an activity that fills your partner’s fun tank and you’ll ALSO have fun. In other words had my fun tank been full when I attended the races with my partner, the outcome of the day for me and my partner would have been very different.
He would have had his fun as he did…However if my fun tank had been full from a prior activity I would have been able to share in his fun easily and effortlessly. As it was… I now understand that my fun tank was in need of replenishment so it was more challenging for me to sit back, relax, let go and simply enjoy!
WOW what a finding! If I had known this stuff years ago I could have had my fun tank filled and then easily accompanied my partner to the races and had a very enjoyable day! And best of all that would have increased the fun my partner had… as he so wanted me to enjoy his activities and to share his love for racing with me…
So keep your fun tank reading high and you’ll have fun participating in activities with your partner that you don’t naturally enjoy or derive fun from.
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