The first time I heard the phrase, “families that play together, stay together”, I was a nervous newlywed of about 6 months, sitting at our church’s annual marriage retreat as the youngest person in the room by at least 5 years. There was a lot of great advice and research presented on the topic of marriage and family, and by the end of the retreat, I was feeling confident that we could build a life together that was pleasing to God and rewarding to us.
The food was great, the walks around the lake were great, but that phrase was the most valuable thing I took home.
I came from a family that didn’t spend a whole lot of time together just for fun. There was an occasional family vacation, we hung out at Christmas and went out to eat every so often, but my siblings were grown and married by the time I was 9 years old, so everyone kind of had their own life. It wasn’t until I was an adult that my siblings and I actually started becoming friends and spending intentional time together.
My husband and I’s first year of marriage had laughter...and a lot of frustration. Many of you wives can probably relate to this; you’re learning how to be married, balance all the things, keep up a home for the first time, joining every part of your life to this one person and doing it all while juggling school, work, volunteering, etc. There was some fun here and there, but it was overshadowed by a lot of silent treatment, frustration, confusion, and even anger.
We had to learn how to have fun.
Once we started laughing on purpose, taking the time to be goofy kids, things started changing. I googled this phenomenon, as one does, and discovered that laughter is a physical sign of trust.
Companies will literally try to induce laughter among their employees by having storytelling time, bringing comedians in, telling jokes at meetings-- all to build trust.
A Forbes article went so far as to say that, “the deeper the laugh, the greater the potential for trust will be.”
When you trust someone, you rely on them. When you’re trustworthy, people can rely on you. It’s not just for married couples--this idea of laughing together builds some of the greatest friendships, youth groups, disciples, and families. The Bible even says that a merry heart “doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22).
In tough times, and in a crazy world like the one we’re living in, it’s good to laugh. Our youth pastor always tells the youth group, “the more fun we have together, the greater the altar call will be.” I know it’s true because I’ve seen it, AND because the more you laugh, the more you trust. The more you trust, the more you release the people around you to operate in the giftings God has given them. You’re comfortable around them, so you don’t worship with a self-conscious barrier. We see the same thing happen in our homes. If you are struggling to pray as a family, you need to bust up that self-consciousness with a good ol’ dose of laughter. Get unstuck, lighten up, and have some fun. Remember that you are blessed to have that family, those friends. Laugh and enjoy them.
Marriages that play together, pray together, stay together. Families that giggle and play together, pray together, stay together.