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/ Source: Today
By Meredith Sinclair

This April, we're exploring ways to get more joy in our lives with our resident Fun Expert, Meredith Sinclair, the author of "Well Played: The Ultimate Guide to Awakening Your Family's Playful Spirit." Check back every week for updates here and follow the fun on our Instagram as well.

WEEK 3: FUN CAN MAKE THE HEART GROW FONDER

Romantic relationships require a whole mess of dirty work, especially when you're raising kids together. It’s often a caffeine-infused daily grind filled to the brim with serious, not-at-all-playful responsibilities requiring us to be full-on mature grown-ups most of the time.

That magically delicious mash-up of working, parenting, picky eaters, parent-teacher conferences, pooping, peeing, puking, sleep deprivation and HOMEWORK can be overwhelming at times, and fun-crushing to the folks in charge.

I’m not standing on a glitter-covered soapbox preaching that a playful spirit is the most vital ingredient in a successful long-term relationship. But after being hitched to the same person for nearly 27 years, who is still my favorite adult on the planet, what I know for sure is that our willingness to let our adult facades fall away now and again and playfully reconnect unleashes a relationship-boosting, joy-filled bonding that definitely doesn’t hurt.

Here are some simple ideas to help make your relationships a little more supercalifragilistic:

1. SECRET DATE NIGHT

Secret ballroom dancing date: Sneaky? Yes. Effective? Also yes.Courtesy Meredith Sinclair

I started this a few years ago, as a way of getting my 6'7", dance-averse husband to take a ballroom dancing class with me. He would NEVER say yes to this of his own accord, so a girl’s gotta get creative, and “Secret Date Night” was born. I drove us to a ballroom dance studio one evening and dragged him in for a private lesson. Once he got past the first 10 minutes of mortification, we laughed our sambas off, felt like we were back at the prom, and can now do the foxtrot… but only in private. Take turns planning a secret date night once a month! I promise you’ll have a ball.

2. STEAL YOUR CHILDREN'S TOYS

Make use of a few of those toys filling up your basement or backyard! With a shift in perspective, those playthings can easily add a little more FORE to your play… are you picking up what I’m putting down? Here are a few to get you started:

That basketball hoop outside? Go one-on-one or play a quick game of HORSE, PIG, or MINI VAN. (No hoop in the backyard? I bet there’s one at a school or park in your hood.)

Become swingers on that swing set you put in the backyard, or jump your selves silly on the trampoline. Make sure you install a couple swings that can hold adult humans, and if you’re gonna jump… ladies… prepare your bladders ahead of time. It’s worth it! If ya pee, ya pee.

Play strip Scrabble! For every three words you win, your partner drops a garment. I recommend layers, closed blinds, a locked door and cheating.

3. GET SWEATY TOGETHER

If you have never worked out with your significant other, you need to know that it can be surprisingly sexy. Watching each other move, and sweat and pretend to be all athletic-ish can be super fun and it will remind you what a baller your partner is.

Another surprising side effect is that when you’re running or lifting or doing anything physical together, it makes you feel like you’re on the same team: something that can often be forgotten in our whirlwind lives as the grown-ups in the situation. Find something you both dig doing and let em’ see ya sweat!