Christian Women's Magazine | Learning to Have Fun

By Pam and Bill Farrel

It’s a story we have heard too many times to count. A ministry couple came up to us at a large conference and said, “Thank you! We had forgotten how to laugh and have fun – or even smile. Here we are supposed to be the ones with the happy marriage. Everyone is supposed to follow our lead and we came here hating each other! We were so stressed, so unhappy, so burned out. It’s like we were strangers in the same house and we’d spiraled down to being coworkers who didn’t even like each other. It’s nice to smile again and remember why we fell in love in the first place!"

Many couples, including ministry couples, are not laughing out loud; they are not happy and they are not smiling at the future. Here are a few helpful guidelines for learning to laugh out loud and have fun again: 

1.  Get honest.

Own it. Declare to yourself and your spouse that things aren’t right. Face up to your issues and your personal contributions to the state of your marriage. Together, discuss options for tackling the obstacles you face. We (Pam and Bill) encourage couples in crisis to “layer in love” using the rest of the tools on this list. 

2.  Get with a mentor couple.

Find a couple who overcame the same struggles you’re having – financial problems, infidelity, poor communication, addictions, ministry time struggles, whatever – and meet together regularly. Many couples have made it through to the other side of marital problems, finding their way back to love and creating happiness again. So can you with help!

3.  Get professional help.

See a counselor to discuss your marital issues. Contact national Christian counseling associations that list professional Christian counselors by geographical locations. A list of ministries that specialize in helping ministry couples can be found by calling Focus on the Family. 

4.  Get some resources.

Invest in books and media resources on marriage. Your marriage may not be working because you lack tools. If you climbed into an F-14 fighter jet, chances are most of you wouldn’t have a clue about what to do. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean your marriage was prepared for the rigors, pressures, and challenges of life. Enlist in flight training, and then you’ll be fine in the cockpit. Likewise, love works better with good training, especially for the unique obstacles and challenges life and ministry bring. 

5.  Get in a group.

Small group Bible studies for married couples or marital intensives in small group settings can help you form friendships with couples who believe in working things out. Often when couples begin to get busy or their schedules fill up, they allow their own marriage enrichment to be sacrificed. Follow your own advice: get into a small group, attend marriage conferences, and listen to marriage and family radio programs, etc. Especially when you are busy, choose to invest your time with people who will provide the support and encouragement you and your spouse need to strengthen your marriage in this hectic world. 

6.  Get new habits.

Look for your mate’s positive traits and compliment him or her. Be nice. Create a weekly date night. Answer your mate’s cell calls. Kiss and embrace when you greet at home.

7.  Get on your knees.

Pray together daily. Bill and I have never seen a couple divorce who pray together regularly. Cry out to God individually—and as a couple, even for just a few minutes each day. We have a habit of praying over a meal and then kissing, praying before we fall asleep in each others’ arms, and praying in the morning before we head out for the day. Plan prayer into your day.

8.  Get laughing.

Sometimes we forget how to laugh, how to play, or how to have fun! But if we are to obey God, we need to remember Prov. 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Recently, Lifeway interviewed us on how to keep the fun in marriage. The sidebar explains a few of the ideas we shared which will help you to laugh out loud again. The first step is to decide you will do anything it takes, including the above list of things, until you get to the place where you want to laugh out loud with each other again.

Please enjoy the articles JBU has shared from this issue of Just Between Us Magazine. As you read, we pray you are encouraged as you trust God through whatever trials you face; finding contentment to help you embrace your circumstances and ultimately finding the peace only God can give.


IVP | Be Kind to Yourself

IVP | Learning to Be

Britton Books

Kregel | Wisdom

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