How to Bring Playfulness into Your Relationship

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Today we’re discussing how to bring playfulness into your relationship! Did you know the importance of playfulness in a relationship? Early on in my marriage, I read The Love Prescription: Seven Days to More Intimacy, Connection, and Joy by John Gottman, PhD and Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD, and this quote transformed my understanding of the importance of playfulness in a marriage: “We wanted to be able to better answer the questions: who goes for couples therapy? What drives them there? We surveyed more than 40,000 couples across different sexual orientations who were about to begin therapy. 80% of them reported that fun had come to die in their relationship. They lost the ability to just enjoy each other.”

Gosh, does that hit home! After reading that statement, I decided it was time to make playfulness a priority in my marriage. In the time that followed, my husband and I experienced more laughter, joy, appreciation for each other, and a stronger connection. And unlike many marriage goals, this one was easy and most importantly, fun! Read on for my best tips to bring playfulness into your relationship.

Reflect on the Early Days of Your Relationship

Think back to your early days in the relationship when you were first dating. This will likely give you clues as to your favorite forms of playfulness, as the playfulness you had when you were dating drew you to your now spouse! Now, prioritize bringing those playful moments back into the relationship.

Relive Your Favorite Memories Together

Talk about some of your favorite memories together and what you were each thinking in your mind as these memories played out. It’s been hysterical to hear what my spouse was thinking as we made “certain moves” dating, and the thought process behind some of the awkward, joyful moments we’ve had together.

Have a Car Concert for Two

Go for a drive and play your favorite songs, singing and dancing like a fool in the process! We love making fun of ourselves and having a good time. Make the other cars around you jealous of the good time you’re having!

Couple Dancing in the Car

Build Furniture Together

Before you go off on me on how this isn’t going to bring playfulness into your relationship, know it’s the intention that matters here! Of course, putting together furniture can be frustrating and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Instead, you could enter with the intention of having fun spending quality time with your spouse and making fun of just how ridiculous the instructions are!

Try Something Neither of You Have Done Before

According to Vanessa Marin in the Pillow Talks Podcast, research shows that when we try new activities, it lights up our brains on scans and makes us feel excited! Try out something new together to get excited to be with your spouse! For us, a lot of times that’s a new dining restaurant or a new attraction at Disney. Maybe it’s cooking a new recipe together, trying a new sport like rock climbing or paddle boarding, visiting a new place, or trying something new in the bedroom. It’s so much fun to try something totally different and rely on each other as you go through it!

Movie Night Sleepover

Put a spin on your traditional movie night in the living room by turning it into a sleepover! Turn sofa cushions, sheets, and candles into a fort in your living room. Cuddle up and spend the night in your fort with movies, snacks, and rest!

Playfully Touch Each Other

This is such an easy way to have playfulness in a relationship! For example, turn into little kids again and run through your house playing tag. To make it a bit romantic, try a loving spank. It seems ridiculously silly, but that’s the point, playfulness, right?!

man giving woman piggy back ride

Teach Your Partner Something They Don’t Know How to Do

Have you ever watched a man put on makeup or curl their hair? It’s hysterical and sure to be a fun time! Think of something your partner has never done before, and teach them how to do it, laughing all the way!

Have a Positive Attitude

Positivity is an essential component of playfulness. Understanding this, prioritize having a positive attitude. If you can focus on positivity in other areas of your life, positivity will come to your marriage too! Don’t take life too seriously, relax and look for moments of fun! For more on positivity, check out this post.

Make a Playlist or Mixtape

For Valentine’s Day the year my husband and I were dating, I literally made him an old-fashioned mixtape. I compiled songs that reminded me of him, songs we loved listening to together, love songs, and songs I knew would make him laugh, and burned it onto a CD. I then wrote in Sharpie “Val’s Valentine’s Mixtape of Awesomeness.” The CD is still in the CD Player in his car, and we listen and laugh to it often! It still helps us be playful together and I’m so grateful!

Tickle Fight or Pillow Fight

Before trying the tickle fight, make sure your spouse likes to be tickled, as some aren’t fond of it! If your partner likes a good tickle fight, go for it! Otherwise, try randomly clocking your partner over the head with a pillow! The point here is to foster laughter with each other.

According to Forbes.com, “A study showed that women laughed about 126% more than their male counterparts, while men seem to instigate laughter the most—and there’s an interesting application of those results to how relationships form and are maintained. Women typically rate a sense of humor as a top-three trait for a potential mate. Men tend to rate women who laugh a lot (i.e. laugh at their jokes) higher than those who don’t. It’s no surprise, then, that couples who laugh together report having higher-quality relationships. Laughter is a nonnegotiable for all involved.”

couple engaging in a pillow fight

Literally be an Idiot

I think one of the biggest reasons we prevent playfulness in a relationship is because of our fear of looking like an idiot! But here’s the secret: allowing yourself to just be silly for the sake of being silly is funny and playful! It’s ok if you aren’t perfect or look ridiculous doing something; likely your partner will find you more attractive if you’re willing to be a fool and let your guard down with them.

I have the funniest story to share about this one. My husband and I have a funny ritual where we’ll be walking hand-in-hand out in public, and one of us will take our inside foot up and out and bop the other on the booty. It’s funny, silly, and sure to make us laugh (especially when I fail and just about fall down sometimes). Well, one day we were visiting the Disney Theme Parks with my parents, and we were walking a little bit ahead of my parents. My husband bops me on the booty, as is our ritual, and my mom smiles and rolls her eyes at how silly we’re being. Next thing we know, my dad bops my mom on the booty too! We all rolled in laughter for hours!! My parents have been married 41 years, and they’re still finding ways to be playful together!

Flirt with Each Other

Remember the joy and spark you felt when you were first dating your spouse? One of the reasons you felt this way is because you used playfulness to flirt with each other often! Surprise your spouse with a spontaneous kiss, send a flirty text to them at work, whisper in their ear, or leave them a love note on the foggy mirror after a shower. Flirting is such a fun, easy way to bring playfulness into your relationship, and you don’t have to be “good at it!” Even if it’s awkward, you can laugh together as a way of building your connection.

Have a “Yes” Day

Have you ever seen the movie “Yes Day” on Netflix? If you haven’t, you’re missing out! Turn this into a date with your spouse! It goes like this, for an entire day, you have to say “yes” to everything your spouse wants to do, eat, see, etc. This is such an exciting way to be playful together and prioritize the fun between the two of you!

Conclusion

Lastly, I think you know what rituals work well to bring playfulness into your relationship! You know what makes your spouse laugh, what activities you enjoy together, and how you like to have fun! Bank on the activities you know are sure to bring out the fun, while adding in some new ideas too! Prioritize having fun together and watch your relationship transform! What works to bring playfulness into your relationship? Let me know in the comments below!

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10 thoughts on “How to Bring Playfulness into Your Relationship”

  1. Hey Val what a great article on how to bring playfulness into your relationship. I’m a licensed clinical social worker and provide marriage counseling for couples and have to completely agree with you about the value of having fun and play in a romantic relationship and marriage. I wrote about my own experience as well as my clinical experience in my blog post which is a great addition to yours https://pantearahimian.com/8-tips-to-make-your-marriage-a-guaranteed-success/

    1. I agree! I’m glad playfulness doesn’t require too much time or effort, because so many of us lead busy lives! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. It’s one of my favorite memories, and I’m glad I was able to put it to writing so I won’t forget it! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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