by Dianne Dougharty


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Each Saturday, I love to go to the gym late in the afternoon. It is much less crowded since it is the end of the week and late in the day. Having finished my forty minute cardio routine on the Arc, I began my weight machine rotation. After I finished, a young couple caught my eye. They were a live, modern-day version of Ken and Barbie — a striking couple, even in gym gear!

He would do a set on a machine and then she would follow him. As she approached him, she lit up, and then she would begin to jab at him and playfully tease him. My first thought was, “I wonder if they are married?” Certainly not, and if they are, it must be early on in the marriage. Playfulness like that is only done during the dating or first year of marriage season, right? I almost tumbled off the leg press machine while I strained to see if she had a wedding ring. I was not at the right angle. As he walked to the next machine, I tried desperately to see if he had on a wedding band, but his arms were not positioned so that I could tell. I was determined to find out if this playful couple was married. Finally, she walked past me and sure enough — a wedding ring! Then the sweetest thing happened. They were across the gym from one another and as her eyes caught his, she began to glow, and he gave her the cutest grin!

As I finished my workout, I found myself wondering why it seems when we are married longer and longer, we lose the playfulness so prevalent in the dating and first year of marriage season. Why do we stop pursuing one another? Where did the glow go? Why does he not grin anymore when I walk into the room? 

It was obvious that this young man was her love, and she was his. I found it refreshing to see that no one else mattered but the two of them; it was as if they were all alone in the gym. From observing, it was obvious they had a healthy intimate relationship, pursuing, and playfully teasing one another.

Why is it that the pursuit comes to an end once we’ve “caught” one another? Life! Life took over, work got more intense, and the first house was purchased, which meant weekends were spent doing yard work instead of cozying up on your couch in the apartment and watching a movie. The first baby came, then the second baby, and possibly the third and the fourth. Life! Somewhere in those first ten years of marriage, life took over and robbed the relationship of those sweet playful times.

I am a playful person and I have taken life a little less seriously than my husband, Mark, has over our forty-one years of marriage. It was always a challenge for me to get him to laugh and have fun. It was a challenge for him to get me to take some things in life more seriously! Since the rare condition that plagues his body has robbed him more and more of his mobility, playfulness is one of the many things we miss in our relationship. No tickling, no embracing, no cozying up and no jabbing at one another. But, the sweetest thing still happens when I walk into a room — he still grins at me! I love it! I am his girl! I am his love, and he is mine!

Ladies, as you read this post today I want to encourage you to embark upon the playful pursuit of your spouse.

Be playful! Life is short! I know this because mine has flown by! When I was a newly married, young woman, the thought of being married forty-one years seemed like an eternity. But here we are!  Life is not only short, but it is unpredictable. As a young married person, I never dreamed that at the age of fifty-five my husband would be diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease. I know a man in his forties who lost his wife in a serious car accident last year, a young woman who lost her thirty-two-year-old husband to cancer, and a young dad of three little children who lost his wife to breast cancer. Sometimes life is shorter than we would have ever dreamed. I am certain that if these I have mentioned had the opportunity, they would tell you to pursue your mate, be playful, be his love and make sure he is yours! Do not let “life” rob you of the special gift of pursuit!

“I belong to my love, and his desire is for me.” Song of Solomon 7:10

“Every marriage is intended to be a picture of the marriage between God and His people as we selflessly give ourselves to another through mutual submission and loving intimacy.” Kurt Bruner, author of It Starts at Home

“God’s love establishes the intended pattern for marital love and enables human beings to live accordingly.” HCSB Study Bible for Women by Dr. Dorothy Patterson and Dr. Rhonda Kelley

Dianne Dougharty

*How are you and your spouse continuing to pursue one another when “life” seems to get in the way? Were you encouraged to playfully pursue your spouse after the wedding day has come and gone? Please leave your thoughts and comments below!

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