Have fun together. I’ve been teaching this marriage principle for years and consistently meet couples who describe their marriage as anything but fun. I’m not sure what or who is to blame for our lack of fun. Maybe it’s what happens to us as we get older. Maybe it’s the stress of ever increasing responsibility. Maybe newness of marriage is long gone and fun just seems out of reach. Still, it is hard to imagine a good marriage without the presence of at least some fun, laughter and playfulness.
The other day, I was reading my Bible, just minding my own business — I’m doing one of those, "read the Bible in a year” plans — as I’m trudging through the Genesis narrative, I run across this marriage principle in the most unlikely place.
It’s no secret that the Old Testament is riddled with examples of really dysfunctional marriages. As a “marriage guy,” some of what I read in the Old Testament would be the furthest from what I want for my marriage much less anyone else’s. Whether it’s the polygamy or the cruel treatment of women or the buying and selling of child brides, there’s a lot left to be desired from some of those ancient marriages we read about. Please don’t misread me, I still believe the Bible is God’s inerrant word from cover to cover! The simple fact that God would use some really foolish and sinful people to accomplish His purposes gives you and me hope!
So back to the other day...I stumbled upon Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 26. Isaac and Rebekah did not have a perfect marriage. In fact, in this particular account, Isaac comes to a town called, Gerar. Fearful for his own life, Isaac lies and calls Rebekah his sister. He was legitimately afraid these folks might kill him to gain access to his wife. After being in town a while, Isaac and Rebekah are found out. The King happened to be at the right place at the right time to witness the so called brother and sister alone together. And in Genesis 26:8 we read what the King observed, "When he had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out of a window and saw Isaac laughing with Rebekah his wife.”
That’s right, laughing.
Not making out, not holding hands, not a loving embrace…laughing.
If you look up Genesis 26 in your Bible you may find the word, “caressing” in verse 8. That word makes sense to us. That would certainly indicate romance. Upon deeper inspection of the original text, I discovered the Hebrew word, “tsachaq” which means laughter or playfulness. In other words, laughter is the more accurate understanding of what the king witnessed in this covert couple.
The king could see marriage from a distance through the laughter and fun a couple shared together. There was something unique about the love and relationship between Isaac and Rebekah that gave them away. The connection was obvious. The king witnessed something in their laughter that he could only describe as marriage. That is the plan. Married couples should experience a unique kind of love, laughter and playful romance that is not shared with anyone else. It is the public display of fun that reveals the private world of intimacy. I would go so far as to say, God’s design for marriage is for coupled to experience a deep source of enjoyment, laughter and fun.
Shame on us who have only promoted that marriage is all about becoming more holy. Certainly, God uses marriage to make us holy, but He also intends for us to have fun and enjoy one another for a lifetime. Here’s the challenge, fun takes work.
Working through conflict.
Working through the daily grind and still giving your spouse your best.
Working to say “no” to lesser opportunities and activities to be together.
Working to disconnect from the outside world to prioritize your private world.
Working on patience, forgiveness and kindness.
When was the last time you and your spouse laughed together? Remember, people are watching!