There’s no better way to get a relationship rejuvenated than by recreating together. You can literally re-create your relationship into one that is fun, peaceful, and connecting by learning to play together.
John Gottman, America’s foremost marriage researcher, found that at the foundation of all healthy marriages is a solid friendship. Gottman found that one of the keys to a healthy marital friendship is “moving toward” each other, and recreation is probably the least-threatening and most-rewarding ways to move together as a couple. Who wants to say No to an offer of ice cream, a movie, or a picnic in the park? Recreation is one of the best ways to make deposits into your partner’s “love bank.” Even if your love bank is way in the red, you can begin to rebuild your relationship by creating fun experiences together.
OK. So while we are starting with the easiest way to jump-start your marriage relationship, this does not mean this is the least important! Don’t think, “I’ll skip this step and invest my time in the really deep types of intimacy.” Recreational intimacy creates all kinds of benefits: body movement to maintain health and fitness, natural dopamine to put a smile back on your face, endorphins to make you feel warm and open to others. Don’t you like the idea of bathing your brain and your partner’s brain in these pleasure chemicals?
That’s enough of a pep talk for this blog. Now here are some very practical suggestions for doing recreation with your partner this week!
• Have a bike day. Denver was named one of America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities by Bicycling Magazine. Load up your bikes and go down to Confluence Park where Denver was founded. You can take in the Denver Aquarium or if you bring the kids along, stop in to the Children’s Museum nearby. Take a ride up Cherry Creek Bike Path and grab lunch at a sidewalk café in Cherry Creek. Or take a ride on Clear Creek Bike Path from the South Platte River to the town of Golden. The path meanders along the creek and offers great views of the buttes around Golden.
– If your bikes aren’t ready to go, you can use Denver B Cycle. For $9 you can get a 24-hour pass and have unlimited uses up to 30 minutes each time, perfect for a “let’s explore Denver day.” B cycle has 85 stations all around central Denver. Go to: https://denver.bcycle.com/
– For bike maps of the Denver metro area: https://www.denvergov.org/bicyclingindenver/denverbikemaps/tabid/438249/Default.aspx
• Take in a free Outdoor Movie:
– Denver: http://www.denver.org/things-to-do/denver-holiday-events/outdoor-summer-movies/
July 7, “Big” at Glendale Infinity Park (I’m listing just a few examples!)
– Westminster on Friday evenings: http://www.ci.westminster.co.us/ParksRec/SpecialEvents.aspx
June 19, “Happy Gilmore” at Legacy Ridge Golf Course
• Stretch out a blanket at an Outdoor Music Concert
– Denver: City Park Jazz, http://cityparkjazz.org/calendar
June 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Selina Albright
June 14, 6:00-8:00 p.m., Annie Booth Quartet
– Westminster: http://www.ci.westminster.co.us/ParksRec/SpecialEvents.aspx
June 13, Historic Westminster Jazz and Arts Fest, noon to 8:00, free
• Take a fitness class together:
– Denver: http://www.civiccenterconservancy.org/event-civic-center-moves_78.html
Civic Center Moves offers free fitness classes Monday through Thursdays
– Westminster: http://www.ci.westminster.co.us/ParksRec/Fitness.aspx
Westminster offers fitness classes in several locations including City Park (104th and Sheridan), the MAC (72nd and Federal), and West View Rec Center (108th west of Wadsworth).
Of course, these are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Google your favorite type of recreation and “Denver”, “Arvada”, or wherever you call home and then get away from your computer and get your body moving.
Here’s a postscript about recreational intimacy and addiction. Some of you reading this blog are in recovery from sex addiction or another kind of addiction. I want to reflect on the stark contrast between recreation and addiction: recreation is embodied, addiction creates dissociation from the body. Sex addiction is about fantasy. Recreation gets you into reality (think of the hard reality of rock climbing!). Recreation creates a shared experience. Addiction is about blocking out others. A central part of recreation is enjoying your partner’s joy. In sex addiction, other people are objects. While sex addiction is about bodies, recreation allows you to create a heart-to-heart experience.
By Tom Olschner