February is now upon us, and a very important date in February is Saint Valentine’s day on the 14th.
Many see it as a way to consciously celebrate love and romance, and that is wise because a heart deeply honored is the fertile ground from which romantic love blossoms.
Of particular interest to me in this discussion is the topic of how to nourish love through laughter, because both are tightly connected.
My lifelong experience in romantic relationships has always been that the more we laughed together, the more vibrant the relationship was and vice-versa. Do not let the laughter in your relationship die, lest you want to see the love that you have for each other die too.
How can you laugh more with your partner?
Here are three ways to think about it, and 20 simple ideas to get you started. Enjoy!
Surprise and creativity spark the fires of romance
- Leave your loved one romantic notes or simple “I love you” messages in unexpected places, e.g., drawn on an egg in the fridge, inside their lunch box, carved on a stick of butter that you opened and carefully closed again, inside a book they are reading, next to where they put their keys, on the shower wall in red using bath time crayons for children, etc. It’s not at all the same as sending text messages!
- Reinvent your first date: It’s a game, and why not play it if you both agree to it? What would you do or say today to seduce them if your partner had suddenly become amnesic and did not know who you were?
- Write a “life resume” for them, complete with a listing of all their strengths, talents, and skills. Next to each write a line or two about how they have displayed these in the in past.
- Make up stories: When driving together make up stories about the lives of the people you see – who they are, what they do, where they are going and why.
- Possibly the nicest Valentine gift I have ever received was a stack of index cards where she had written one thing that she loved about me on each card for each year of my life.
Keep spreading the light and your own path will never be dark
Reframe everything you do in your relationship from what you can get into what you can give. That’s because you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving:
- Smile at your partner when you first wake up, and consciously smile more throughout the day.
- Laugh each time your partner laughs.
- Practice the smiling visualization: Look at your loved one then close your eyes and imagine them smiling and beamingly happy, just because you can.
- Do something nice and unexpected, e.g., prepare dinner, do house chores that they normally do, give them a massage, buy them something they like, etc.
- Become an expert at descriptive praise: This is a form of praise where you are very specific about what you are praising the other person for. It’s not a conversation, and no reply is expected. The receiving party does not have to agree with what you say either. All you have to do is make sure that they understand clearly why or what they are being praised for. For example, rather than say “Thank you” say “Thank you for cooking tonight. I appreciate that.” This may not make them laugh, but if you do it right it will make them smile in appreciation and that’s a very good thing! I’ve been doing this daily for years and all I can tell you is that it pays off!
Play is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting
Daily play has become so important in my family and marriage that it’s now almost like a sacred ritual. It comes right after dinner and lasts about 1 hour. I could say we do it because it’s a lot of fun, but that would be a very superficial answer. It’s a lot more than fun. Playing together offer profound ways of nourishing our relationship. It brings us joy, vitality, and resilience. It helps to heal any resentment, disagreement, and hurt that we may have. In short, it brings and keeps us closer together in a sustainable and reliable way like no other activity we know of can.
What we play varies with the seasons. Sometimes we simply play cards because it’s something we enjoy. Other times we play spoken games because they are easy to implement at the kitchen table. On occasions we organize a full-on game night or day, and those are memorable.
Below are 10 simple games you can play seated. You will find plenty more in the soft skill games database.
- Antonyms: An antonym is a word opposite in meaning to another (e.g. bad and good ). To play one person says 2 words and the other must say the exact opposite, e.g., bright night / dark day; tall woman / small man; beautiful body / ugly cadaver, etc. If/when it becomes too easy with 2 words, then play with 3 words.
- Exquisite corpse: Each player starts with their own sheet of paper. They are invited to draw the weirdest possible head, then fold the paper so that all the next player can see is the base of the neck and nothing else. When done you exchange your sheet with the person next to you and this time draw the weirdest possible torso, again folding your paper when done so that the next player can’t see what you’ve just drawn. Repeat this procedure one last time drawing the weirdest possible legs you can think of. When done unfold your sheet to see what your whole drawing looks like and share it with others.
- Five seconds to answer: All players countdown from 5 to 0. Whoever is It must name 3 things in that timeframe, e.g., 3 fruits, 3 vegetables, 3 countries, 3 breeds of cats, etc.
- Guess what I am saying: One person makes the (exaggerated) mouth movements for a short and simple sentence but without any sounds. The other(s) must guess what that sentence is. E.g., “What did you say?“, “Are you my mother?“, “Where is the bathroom“, etc.
- In the manner of the adverb: An adverb is a word that describes or modifies another word. They typically end in -ly, e.g., angrily, beautifully, carefully, doubtfully, etc. To play one person silently chooses an adverb. The other(s) must then guess what it is by either asking questions or asking for a specific task to be performed. The only thing that’s important is therefore not what they say or do but how they say or do it because they have to do so in the manner of their chosen adverb. E.g., if the chosen adverb is slowly then the person answering would either answer very slowly, or perform any requested action at a snail pace. Wait at least 1 minute before guessing the answer! Oftentimes it’s obvious, and therein lies the fun because you can intentionally create very comical situations.
- Listen to the last letter: Engage in conversation using the following very simple rule: the first letter of the word you say has to start with the last letter of the last word the other person said. For example:
- THEM: Hello Sebastian!
- YOU: No kidding! What a surprise!
- THEM: Every time I see you I feel like laughing!
- YOU: Great! How have you been?
- Loving conversation: Strive to both use all of the following verbs as you engage in a passionately loving conversation: Admire, adore, care, caress, cherish, choose, daydream, delight, embrace, entice, fantasize, immortalize, mesmerize, need, prize, treasure, value, want, worship, yearn.
- One syllable conversation: Engage in a conversation but only with 1-syllable words. Whoever uses a word of 2 or more syllables looses or is out. For example:
- A: What do you think of milk? Is it good for you? Can you do more than just drink it?
- B: What can I say to that? You can drink or eat milk in any way you like. What do you think?
- A: Well,…
- Two truths and a lie: The goal of this game is for everybody in turn to say three statements about themselves. Two of these statements must be facts, or “truths,” and one must be a lie (or a dream/wish). The other players then try to guess which statement is the lie/dream. It’s a great game to play with people you don’t know, but it’s even better to play it with people you think you know really well!
- What has changed? Start by observing each other closely for about 30 seconds, then turn around for about 30 seconds while changing 1, 2 or 3 things about how you look, e.g, undo 1 shoe lace, change a ring from left hand to right hand, and undo 1 button from your shirt. When facing each other again, both must identify what has changed.
In a way relationships are like flowers. If you don’t nurture them then they slowly die.
Yes this does take time and energy, but the good news is that the first recipient of what you give out is yourself.
- How could you positively surprise your partner every now and then? Surprise and creativity spark the fires of romance.
- What act of kindness could you do for them, because you can? Keep spreading the light and your own path will never be dark.
- How about playing games more often, starting with one today? Play is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting.
Success to you!
- 1000+ Fun Games For The Family
- 40 Ideas To Experience Childlike Playfulness As Adults
- Laugh Therapy: 99 Ways In 99 Days
Love the 20 ways to keep a relationship going strong. Thanks and happy 2022!