Play is for Adults, and Kids too.
Play is essential for everyone, including adults.
But as adults, we sometimes forget how to do it. Or we mislabel destructive like overdrinking or binge-watching Netflix, as play. Or, possibly worse, we believe that play is only for children.
In recent years the importance of play has become an area of serious study. The reason it has gained more recognition is that there is now known to be a disturbing link between play deprivation and violent behavior. Watch the following video. In it Stuart Brown explains why you and I both desperately need to spend more time playing.
“Play is not only a foundation for learning, it is critical for healthy physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development.”Stuart Brown, MD.
Play creates beautiful memories
In the video, Stuart Brown recommends going back as far as you can and looking into your memory for those instances of pure play.
For me, I immediately remember a warm summer night when I was about 7 years old. My mother got myself and my younger sister up out of bed and took us down to the garden. She laid down a blanket and invited us to lie down and watch the fairies.
Of course, those “fairies” we’re actually fireflies, but that memory has had the power to transform my relationship with my mother. During my teenage years, my family went through some hard times and there was a lot of tension between me and my Mom. But as an adult, I can look back and remember these amazing ways in which my Mom invited us to play. Those memories are vital to our relationship years later.
What would you play?
One of my favorite ice breaker questions for small groups of women is…
…”If you and God were to play a game, what game would you play?
For me, it would have to be BattleShip
At least for right now. I kind of feel like I’m taking a lot of shots in the dark.
Me: Okay God is it B4?
God: No, try again
Me: Is it G5?
God: No, try again.
God: Is it D3?
Me: Yes. You sunk my battleship.
Take a minute to answer this question for yourself.
What game would you like to play with God?
(Bonus Points if you share your answer in the comments below)
Do You Feel Guilty If You Play?
There are so many demands on our time that play can easily bring on feelings of guilt. There’s that little voice in our head that says, you should stop wasting time and get to work. You have responsibilities to take care of. The idea is self-indulgent at best and a waste of time at worst.
Now, some of the mamas out there will argue that they are in fact playing because they are watching small children. Picking playdough up out of the carpet surely counts as play, Right?
I wish it did. But it doesn’t.
Often times when we’re “playing” with our kids, we’re not really engaged in it. We’re supervising. And that’s okay. It’s part of parenting. We’re teaching them how to play. True play occurs spontaneously and when you’re in it you lose track of time. Sometimes that will happen when we are with our kids, but we also need to nurture it between ourselves and other adults.
Play happens when you’re totally into it. Your loving every moment of it, and you’ve lost track of time.
This may not come easily to sober conservative Christians. And, it might also explain why things are a little stale in the bedroom. If you want to enjoy your adult relationships, you’ve got to incorporate play.
So today, I want you to think about a few things…
How do you like to play?
Who do you like to play with?
To be clear. You can play all by yourself.
(This is not a euphemism )
One of my favorite forms of play is reading. I love getting lost in a good book.
Give me a rainy day, a quiet house, a cup of tea, a cozy blanket and a great book and I’m basically in heaven!
Rearranging the furiture is also like a mini vacation for me.
Especially if I have some new decorations to incorporate. It’s something I’m willing to sacrifice sleep in order to finish.
This is a good test to know if you’re in a state of play.
Are you so into it that you don’t want to go to bed?
Play is more fun
Based on Stuart Brown’s definition of play, you can determine what play means to you by answering these questions.
1. What activity makes you lose track of time?
2. What makes you feel free and away from the “have-to’s”?
3. What activity allows you to be yourself?
This can be really helpful when trying to plan a date night.
Ask the other person these questions and see if you have any activities in common.
One way that my husband and I enjoy playing together is through debate.
Oh, how we LOVE a good debate!
I’m proud to say that we have always enjoyed a fight free marriage, but that does not mean we agree on everything. And sometimes after church, after the kids go to bed, I will drill him on his Sunday message with a million questions. Iron sharpens Iron my friends.
Every once and awhile we also enjoy playing songs from our past. This makes long tedious tasks fly by. He will choose an oldie, then it’s my turn, then back again.
I’m also looking forward to the day when our girls are old enough to play serious board games. There’s a bit of a competitive streak in all of us, so I think that will be fun.
A Way To Belong
One of the reasons play is so important in our adult relationships is because it helps cultivate a sense of belonging. Consider for a second your work place. Do you feel a strong sense of belonging there? If your answer is yes, ask yourself if you can find examples where you and your co-workers play together.
Usually the reason behind why we feel included or excluded comes back to whether or not we have enjoyed playing together. I know that as Christians we always say that “the family that prays together stays together. I think that the power of prayer is irriplaceable, but one way we can help keep our families strong is by ensuring we create and honor our playtime.
And finally, we can’t talk about play in adult relationships without talking about foreplay. If there’s one thing I wish I could tell every woman who is either married or preparing for marriage it’s this. Foreplay begins the moment after orgasm.
Ladies, I would put that up on a billboard for the world to see, because so often we think that foreplay starts once you’re in bed, under the covers and a hand wanders over to say hello. No No No!
Healthy marriages thrive on a sense of play. Do not make the mistake of thinking foreplay starts moments before sex occurs. So many couples make the mistake of saving all flirtatious language and seductive action for the few brief moments before penetration. Then, when the deed is done they both roll over and go to sleep.
Let’s be honest, who is enjoying that?
Create playful atmosphere
What if instead, we created an atmosphere of play before, during and especially after sex?
This has the power to completely revive stale marriages.
None of this needs to be inappropriate or vulgar, I’m talking about stuff you can do in front of the kids. But when you play with your husband, whether is chasing after a ball with him, taking a walk holding hands or tackling him on the sofa, play in marriage is an act of foreplay.Honest to goodness play, between a husband and a wife, is one of the best forms of foreplay. #play Click To Tweet
If you’re not married, you might be reading this and suddenly understanding why saving sex for marriage is so challenging. If you’re in a dating relationship all those fun activities are like pouring gasoline on a fire. Check out this list of 10 things to do instead of sex.
Please keep going in your efforts to save sex for marriage. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks and research confirms that those who wait have a much higher chance of actually getting that wedding ring.
Now I would love to hear from you!
- Which game would you like to play with God?
- What’s your favorite way to play?
- What’s one way you can incorporate more play into your adult relationships?
Leave a comment below and let me know.
Share as much detail as you can. Your wisdom and insights will help and encourage readers from around the world. The ideas you share might be the inspiration someone else needs to get a breakthrough.
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