In a discovery sure to set conventional relational wisdom on its ear, researchers at the University of Denver have found that couples who have fun together are happier than their counterparts. In-fact, finding moments to be together free of financial, family or other stresses — yes, just to simply "have fun" together — may no longer just be a selfish indulgence, but a vital ingredient to a happier relationship.
"The more you invest in fun and friendship and being there for your partner, the happier the relationship will get over time," says Howard Markman, a psychologist who co-directs the university's Center for Marital and Family Studies.
Dr. Markman added, "We've discovered a sharp, previously undiscovered, correlation between having fun together and being happy."
The research adds to findings published in 2000 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology by psychologist Arthur Aron of State University of New York-Stony Brook and colleagues. They showed that sharing in new and exciting activities is consistently associated with better relationships.
What new devilry is this, one may ask? That couples are now expected to, not only stay together, but "relate" to each other in some fashion? We live in an age of scientific wonder, to be sure, where we harness the power of nature, bend it to our will, and have it do our bidding, but who would ever think of having fun in marriage? Impossible! Are we really to believe this hard-earned research, which suggests, with a very low margin of error, that having fun together actually makes couples happier? Wizardry, plain and simple! Liberal hogwash of the highest order! Happy couples do not indulge, they do not share moments at the old "ball yard" or laugh together over a round of "mini put put golf." Oh, those couples may look like they're having a good time but I dare you to check back with them in even two years time. Such things simply cannot last.
Try to be happy, sure, but it fades. A long-term relationship is built on the solid foundation of quietly eating meals together at the kitchen table, doing the dishes, then watching the late show side-by-side. Such rote breeds stability, and routine builds confidence and keeps stress low. Life, as Paul Simon once wrote, should be full of superficial sighs on the borders of our lives. She reads Emily Dickinson and he Robert Frost. Note your place with bookmarks and measure what you've lost! Verses out of rhythm, couplets out of rhyme. Conversations starters should include, "Can analysis be worthwhile?" Or, "Is the theater really dead?"
No more talk of this, fun, which can only raise the heart rate to alarming levels, build an unwieldy intimacy, and allow the encroach of lustful thoughts. The very idea! Why, if I wanted to have fun I would hit the local pub with the boys from the office for a few vodka tonics. If one must be happy, if one cannot stand the mundane nature of life, then I say go to the track and get it out of your system! Place it all on Wooden Nickel and be done with it! Then return home, exorcised, having slayed your inner demon for the good of stability in the home. Speak nothing of it to your wife, who may, at best, find the whole situation terribly vexing, and at worst, a senseless indulgence. She never did understand you.