Monday, May 30, 2011

PLAY DATES! (For Couples)

We see the need for our children to have "play dates" with other children. But, do we, as married couples, sometimes forget that spending time with our peers is beneficial to us, as well?

Gather your couples friends, pick a time/day,and mark your calendar.

Photo By Misty Lynn Walker
A special Thank You to Justin Kane for letting
me use the photo I took of him!

When our children are young, we make "play dates" so that they may spend time with other children and grow with them, interact with them, and learn from, and with, them.

For our children, we will often put our own needs aside so that they will have these opportunities to spend time with their peers, because we understand how important it is for them to have these interactions.

It's easy to forget that we, (adults who are married or are in committed relationships) also crave, require, and benefit from our own "play dates" with other "couples."

For young children, in addition to interaction with those of the same age and home-style situations as their own, it can also be beneficial for them to spend time with those who are older than them, younger than them, and in different home situations than they are. These interactions are also important for them to have and are great learning experiences for them, too.

When we are married couples, parents, or those in a committed relationship of the like, we will naturally tend to sometimes gravitate towards others who are in similar situations as we are, but will often have friends, or groups of friends, who's situations are unlike our own.

Spending time with both sides of these friend circles, both together as one large group, or separately in smaller groups, is good for us. But, let us not forget that it is completely acceptable, and okay, to sometimes plan a specific type of get-together that's just for "couples."

We have some friends who are single, and some friends who are couples. For this Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I, and two other couples, planned a "play date" with just three couples.

My work friends and I do "girl time" after work at least twice a month for a few hours. It is wonderful to have time with just the girls; discussing things, venting, and being silly with just us. These play dates include all of our girl friends; single, divorced, and married.

But, when you are a couple, it is also very important and very beneficial to spend time with other couples that are in a committed relationship. Though we didn't like not including our single friends in this specific event, we knew they would understand.

Because John and I married and had children very young (married at 18, first child at 20) it's often been very difficult to find other couples in our "exact" peer group. I don't think we have ever been friends with another couple who were both our age and had children the same age as ours. We've often been good friends with other couples who actually had children the same age as we were, or friends with couples who were much younger than us that had much younger children, or no children at all. But, it's still good to do things with other couples who are also in committed relationships, even if they aren't in the exact home situation as you are.

Between us and the other two couples on our Memorial weekend "couples play date," we were the only couple in our specific situation. John and I will have been married 20 years this October, and we have two teenage boys, 18 and 15. One of the other couples has been married not quite two years, and were in a committed relationship for three years before they married. The other couple is not married, but they have been in a committed relationship with each other for five years and they share a home together. Neither of the other couples have children and they were all a bit younger than John and I; I turned 38 in April, and John will turn 38 later this year.  The average age of the other couples is 30.

Though it is very nice to sometimes spend time with other couples who are your age, and also have children around the same age as your own, it is not required when planning a "Couples Play Date."  The base of the camaraderie is that you are all in a committed relationship. Even if you are all at different stages of your relationship, you can still learn from each other. Having couples play dates with couples who are in different home situations can actually often lead to being more of a learning experience and prove to be even more valuable than with other couples who are in the exact situation that you are.

It's the same as it being helpful to younger children having play dates that include children that are either older or younger than they are. They can all learn from each other, see different perceptions, perspectives, behaviors, etc., than their own.

Interacting with the other couples and observing their behaviors can actually help our own relationship. It can lead to our own realization of things we need to work on, ourselves. It may give us new and fresh perspectives on past things in our relationship that we are still working on, or just might give us new ideas or perspectives on what we would like to see in our relationship in the future. If you are all at different stages in your relationships, every couple can benefit from the "play date" in this way, in some form or fashion.

(Plus, it's just plain fun to just hang out with friends, too!)

Where did we go on our couples play date?

We did an over-night couples get-away for this specific play date. One of the couples' family members happened to have an empty rent house that they allowed us to utilize. It was a large home, and had a built in pool in the back. Because it was nearly an hour away from where John and I live, and there was plenty of room in the house, we all just stayed there over night. Each couple had their own room that they could retire to.

What did we do on our couples play date?

We all met up at the house around 6pm. Everyone brought food and drinks that we pretty much all shared. The host of the party also ordered pizzas that evening. The majority of what we did that evening was talk. We talked about a lot of stuff.  Random stuff, couples stuff, happenings of the world, our points of view about stuff, stuff about our past jobs, and even though the other couples don't have any, we still talked about children and points of view on the subject.  Lots and lots and lots of talking.  We also swam, ate, drank, and played some fun games.

One of the games we played was this really fun game called "The game of THINGS," which John and I brought.  You have to have at least four people to play, and we hadn't yet played it until now. It's a great game to play with couples. I highly recommend it!

The Game of Things: Humor in A Box

We also played corn hole...

(It's amazing how something so simple can be so fun with a group of people, isn't it?)

The next day, we grilled out, ate, drank, hung out, talked, and swam some more.

A couples play date really isn't about where you go or what you do... it's about interaction. And the only thing you "really" have to spend is... time

We were fortunate to have this empty house where we could all go and have a mini couples get-away. But, something like that is not required and it doesn't have to be an over-night couples play date. (Though, if you are able to do that sometimes, I highly recommend it and encourage you to!)



If you enjoyed that article, check out this one... "Trust, Honesty, and Silliness. - Maintain a Solid Marriage by Being Silly" By Misty Lynn Walker.  Published by Hitched Magazine - Entertains, Educates, and Inspires Marriages. Click below link to view the article.


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