- Play is a carefree and joyful way of connecting
- Play removes the cloaks of duty and task completion that covers up their natural and authentic love for one another.
- Play equalizes the couple so they come together with no baggage or expectations of each other.
- Play frees their minds from judgment and preconceived ideas about how it should go down.
- Play is creative and spontaneous, helping them get to know each other in fresh ways.
But what kind of play?
Play that connects rather than separates.
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When I first suggested playing to Eli and Kate they were embarrassed and dismissed the idea. They thought it was silly and childish. They thought it was a crazy idea.
Here is the advice I gave to Kate and Eli. Play WITH your partner instead of alongside your partner.
• playing ball in a pool
• playing in the bath or shower together
• playing in the sand on the beach
• making a joint collage or scrap book
• Inventing recipes together
• planting seeds and nurturing plants/vegetables/fruits together
It does not mean golf, or board games that are competitive or intellectual. Those formal games set up all sorts of expectations fed by past experiences. They create distance. Playing with your partner brings out a desire to engage from a place of spontaneity, enjoying the moment of togetherness for its own sake. Intimacy has a space to grow safely and remain available after play time ends.
Kate and Eli agreed to do one playful thing that they had both enjoyed in the past –cycling on a tandem bike. The physical closeness outside of their normal environment made them actually ‘feel’ each other again. They bumped and jostled together. They felt out of breath together. They drank juice and dribbled together. There was no embarrassment or self-consciousness. There was in the moment mutual experience that created an intimacy that lasted. They sat on the couch and laughed about their bike riding experience together. They caressed each other’s bruises and massaged each other’s sore muscles. Physical and emotional intimacy was revived and they felt wanted, special and important to one another.
Here are the benefits for you and your partner of getting into ‘play mode’
• You are in the moment and present with each other
• Old wounds don’t have room to infiltrate the moment and cause friction
• Witnessing your partner laugh and let their hair down brings the emotional climate to a warm and affectionate temperature
• Defenses are down and you see one another as you really are
• Trust builds
• Intimacy thrives
• You choose to stay close because it feels good
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Copyright Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2011