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Tired of Adulting? How to foster fun and play in your partnership(s)

written by Keely Johnson, M.A.

Times are tough and stress levels may be high. Take a moment to reflect on the last 6 months… You and your partner(s) may have experienced the quarantine, ice storm, snow storm, interpersonal conflict, familial stress, school stress and work stress together. When is the last time you and your partner(s) have had some plain and simple fun together?


Having fun and playing helps to give your brain that pleasurable rush of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It serves as a type of reward system that is hardwired into our brains. Sometimes as adults we can forget to have fun. The way we play does change throughout our lives. Think about your childhood. What did you do for fun? What did you like about the fun times? What do you miss about those fun times as a kid? Ask your partner(s) these questions too. Having this conversation can lead to a discussion about what play looks like in your relationship(s). Making play a priority can help foster intimacy, trust, and deep connection. Building in these shared experiences can help continue to grow appreciation and affection for one another.


Here are some ideas and suggestions that Drs. Julie and John Gottman have included in their Eight Dates book. While creating these shared experiences, practice embracing these small and simple moments and enjoy playing together!


  • Geocaching
  • Drive and listen to music
  • Play a board game or a card game
  • Have a picnic in the park
  • Learn a new video game together
  • Learn a new language or phrases together
  • Write a love letter to each other with your nondominant hand
  • Play in the mud
  • Cook a new cuisine together
  • Plan a date night
  • Download the free app Gottman Card deck and answer some fun questions!