HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: have a little fun
For the next few weeks we will be reposting from He’s Not Your Prince Charming, reaching way back in the archives to remind and reteach and rethink what we’ve been learning together. I have asked my blog team to help choose their favorites, and I am hoping you will add fresh comments to shed new light on these posts.
In the meantime I will be writing ahead for the new series, studying, reading, thinking, and praying about what to say and how to say it. Any suggestions and thoughts about what you’re wondering about will be most welcome— after all, you are my girls!
From my heart,
So I recommend having fun,
because there is nothing better for people to do in this world
than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.
That way they will experience some happiness
along with all the hard work God gives them.
This post really ought to be addressed to me, Dear Diane… because having fun is so foreign to me that every time I read these words from the pen of King Solomon, I have to stop and ponder.
What does he mean?
Hard work, I understand. Schedules and lists and budgets, I can do. I’m all about neat and tidy rules with ought to’s and shouldn’ts.
As in play?
As in non-productive, non-achieving, no-point-to-it hours spent accomplishing nothing?
I don’t think so.
Until a couple of years ago Phil and I had all but given up on fun. We’re just so different. And so we stopped having fun together.
And then we hit a crisis. For reasons we could not understand, we were hurting each other’s feelings and rubbing each other wrong and just generally having trouble getting along. Every conversation turned into some sort of conflict.
What was wrong with us?
And I’m sorry if you think pastors and their wives are always nice to each other. That we always practice what we preach. Or that love and passion are enough to overcome anything… because those are the makings of fairy tales, not real life.
At least not my life.
The constant conflict led us to seek help from the wise couple who had mentored us throughout our ministry. Not exactly counseling, but wise counsel. We flew to their home across the country, determined to get to the bottom of what was wrong.
What they said stunned me.
Your husband needs to have fun.
They went on to explain him to me and me to him. Using personality tests and years of Biblical wisdom, they pointed out our differences and made us see those differences as good.
But mostly I learned that Phil needs to have fun. A lot of fun. Frequent fun.
And I don’t. At least not the fun defined by most people.
I mean, who really thinks it’s fun to curl up all day with study books and dream about how to write a book about suffering so that women will understand and be able to teach their children and maybe avoid the pit I fell into when suffering about strangled my faith?
And so I set about trying to learn how to have fun. Or at least help Phil have fun. It was tough.
I tried to find a book about fun. Fun for Dummies. No luck. And if you’re a writer reading this and you know anything about how to have fun, here’s a definite felt need, at least by me.
I observed fun people. They laugh a lot. Out loud. My laugh is all inward, a snicker at best. When I try to laugh like they do I sound like a seal. People look at me strangely.
And I realized that in all those wonderful family times when we go around the table telling the birthday person, this is what I like about you… no one has ever told me I’m fun. Because I’m not. Ever.
After much studious thought and a week of serious pondering, here I am writing a list. I’m hoping you girls are going to help me out, because this is one topic I know next to nothing about…
Six Ways To Love Your Husband With Fun:
1. Recognize a man’s need to have fun.
I know that sounds simplistic, but I’d been married nearly 30 years without really honoring my husband’s need to have fun. My man-boy has an inherent need to play, to hoop and holler and immerse himself in something that doesn’t impact the history of the world.
2. Give your husband/fiancé/boyfriend permission to have fun. Our world, especially the church world, admires men who achieve. Hard working, smart, disciplined men are admired and promoted. No one ever wrote a biography about a man because he was fun. I think we women need to change that up a bit. To stop shaming him and start affirming the productivity that results from a restful day of fun.
3. Budget for fun. What if, at Christmas, instead of giving him clothes or books or something he needs, we decided to give him a fun experience? Wouldn’t that say wonders about our recognition that a man is still a boy and needs some hours to play?
4. Choose to dive into his way of doing fun whether it feels fun to you or not.
This summer Phil and I went to Victoria, B.C. for a romantic week together. He spent most of an afternoon wandering the Butchart Gardens with me, trying to act interested, masking his aversion to yard work. Then we had high tea at the Empress Hotel. Not exactly the stuff he’d spent dreaming of.
On our way into the hotel he spotted a float plane taking a nosedive towards the bay. Landing on the wild waves, I thought for sure that thing would tip over, drowning all it’s risk-taking passengers.
Phil turned to me and said, “Di, let’s do it!”
No way. Not me. Feeling magnanimous, I suggested he sign up and I’d sit and sip tea. In fact, I’d even pay for his ticket out of my small stash of money meant for clothes and all things girlish.
But he wanted me to go with him- to be his friend and partner in adventure. I think I shocked us both when I agreed.
What followed was one of the most thrilling evenings we’d ever spent together. Once I got over my racing nerves, I felt like I was a princess flying over my kingdom. Enthralled with the countryside, the islands, even a small castle surrounded by the sea, I loved it! And most of all, Phil loved that I did something I didn’t want to do in order to be his companion in fun.
5. Keep trying until you find a way to have fun together. One friend of mine rides bikes with her husband. Another hikes. My grandmother became an avid baseball fan, shouting down the refs when her favorite team stumbled. And she fished- clad in waders up to her chin, she shared my grandfather’s fun on the edges of the Snake River.
6. Act fun— like you’re having a blast. Tell yourself you’re having fun. Decide to have fun. Free your mind to have fun even if your work isn’t done and the circumstances aren’t just right. I know that sounds insincere, but I firmly believe that we have a great deal of control over what we decide to enjoy. And being a fun woman may just lighten the flavor of your presence for the man you love.
Now, I told you this is an area of deficiency for me. I need the born-fun women to fill in the blanks for those of us fun-challenged women so that our fun-needing men will have fun with us.
Please, please, please, give us fun ideas…
From my heart,