Recently, an idea came to me about getting "little" play dates in for me and Sara. Our housemate is often here during the evenings, so we asked her if she'd be willing to keep an eye on the monitor while we went for a walk. If our daughter woke up, we'd be just around the corner and could come right home. She agreed, so we went for a 30 minute walk. It was nice.
A couple nights later, we asked if we could do it again, but this time we'd pay her a small amount to keep an eye on the monitor. She agreed again, so this time, we brought a frisbee and a soccer ball up to the park and played, again for 30 minutes. Not only did we get some time together, but we got some play in as well. One of our friends, who is a nutritionist, explains that longevity isn't necessarily based upon prolonged amounts of time exercising; rather, it is more based upon a mixture of play, intimacy, and exercise. In fact, she mentions that about 30 minutes a day is all that's needed. Thus, whether it is walking or playing frisbee, we invest into our relationships and our health through small times like these. And, like our nutritionist friend, researcher Dr. John Gottman explains that other researchers have determined we increase our longevity by an average of four years if we are in a satisfying committed relationship. These are the benefits of 30 minute play dates with our spouses.
Not all of us have housemates or nearby parks, but the reality is that these little 30 minute intimate, playful, even verbal rendezvous with our partners must be fought for with our intentionality in the midst of bumbling through the whole thing. Gottman's research is also clear in that moving towards one another in these ways ranks in the top seven factors for marriages that go the distance.
photo taken from flickr creative commons by "_dbr"