Couples that Play Together, Stay Together

f6ba0cdf538220ec24711f5537251cf6Say what you want about the mobile app phenomenon, “Pokemon Go,” but it is doing wonders for relationships. My husband and I spend hours walking around college campuses, parks, and other new areas of our community trying to “catch them all.” At first, it was this fun little game that got our behinds off of the sofa and out walking. Then it became something we looked forward to after work as we ventured to new places in search of the more rare varieties of Pokemon. Along the way we’ve run into other couples out doing the same thing – even entire families.

Steve and I enjoy playing together, so it wasn’t a stretch for us to enjoy a game like this. Every Tuesday evening we play Destiny on the XBox One with an out of town friend. We love board games and spent much of last year painting miniatures for one of them. Today, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of new board games that are currently in production. Having fun and playing together is a regular part of our relationship and we enjoy every moment of it. Actually, I am more relaxed and happy when we play together – much more so than if we were to watch TV together or go to a movie. There is something about the fun interaction that brings us closer together.

Studies have shown that what I feel when we “play” together is akin to the feelings I had earlier in our relationship – relaxed, happy, and excited. Hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and adrenaline all factor in depending on what you are playing together. Games can engage your mind and creativity in such a way that collaboration or, even competition, can make conversations lively and fun for couples (although, I more like the creative and not the competitive 🙂 ). However we play, we should play often.

Research from the University of Denver supports the idea that finding moments to be together free of financial, family or other stresses — just to have fun together — is not an indulgence. “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. “The correlation between fun and marital happiness is high, and significant.” (ABC News Report, July 16, 2008) And even Berkley Science Review published: “psychological research suggests that couples who play together feel closer, experience more positive emotions, and as a result are happier together.”

I’d agree wholeheartedly with this research simply based on my own personal experiences having fun with my husband. We haven’t always enjoyed one another like we do now, and I can easily recognize the stark difference in our relationship between then and now. Whatever the reason we were not having as much fun in our relationship back then, we have certainly found a way to have fun now. And I couldn’t be happier!

So, whatever you and your spouse do to have fun, do it often! Revel in the time you spend together laughing, thinking, talking, and sharing. Even if you’re walking around chasing cartoon characters with your phone, just get out there and do it together.

Oh, and just so you know, they even have “Poke-Date” sites out there for singles looking to meet up with others who like to catch Pokemon. So, maybe catching Pokemon together is turning out to be a great way to find a mate! Who knew?!



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