by Natalie Walker
Our wedding was in two days. It was ten o’clock at night, and we had a million things left to do on our checklist. Yet, my fiancé and I found ourselves standing in an aisle at Home Depot debating how much we should spend on a plastic tarp, dishwashing soap, and a garden hose. The need, of course, was urgent. We were picking up supplies to create a slip and slide at our rehearsal dinner.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t entirely confident in our plan. The wedding funds had been spent, and the details for the weekend had all been arranged. My bride’s mind began to play out every worst-case scenario that could possibly go wrong: injuries, scrapes, scratches. I could picture myself walking down the aisle to my groom, only to be met with some kind of freak facial injury because we just had to have that slip and slide.
Right about the time I was encouraging my future husband to drop the soap and make a beeline for the door, I stopped to remind myself why we were doing this in the first place. We knew that the ceremony would be sacred, and that the reception would be memorable. But, we also knew that this weekend was our first chance to make a statement about who we were, and who we wanted to be, as a married unit. And, we wanted to be fun.
During our engagement, my husband and I came up with a list of five core values that we hoped to prioritize and embody, one of which was fun. It’s not something most people would call a “value” – we know that. But for us, fun was something we wanted to take seriously. We realized that life offers plenty of moments that are serious, mundane, and boring, but fun doesn’t always just happen naturally. It’s something you have to look for and make space for, especially as you get older, take on responsibilities, and face the challenges that life throws at you.
Often, we think of fun as something for kids. It’s a cowboy themed birthday party or jumping on a moon bounce. Or we think that fun is for college students, who live with twelve of their best friends and spend their carefree days skipping class because it’s a sunny day and they’d rather be playing Frisbee. When we graduate into adulthood and our priorities shift, so does our freedom and our expectation for fun.
At best, fun for adults is relegated to the weekends, after we’ve wrapped up our nine-to-five work week and all the responsibilities that go along with it. We see Friday night as our chance to blow off steam and fill our fun quota for the whole week, so we can wake up Monday and do it all again.
Fun isn’t something we look for in our everyday lives, and it usually doesn’t make our list of priorities. In fact, fun is something that we take so lightly that we may begin to wonder if it’s okay to expect it at all. I felt that way for a long time, until I met my husband. Then, after a weekend of tubing on a lake with friends (something I hadn’t done in a very long time), I found myself, with no makeup and a messy bun waving in the wind, belting out a Spice Girls song into a fistful of French fries on our road trip home.
I realized then that it had been way too long since I’d had real fun – like the belly-laugh-until-it-hurts kind. It wasn’t an intentional choice, but somewhere in trying to play the role of a responsible adult, I’d forgotten what it felt like to just play. I learned that one of the quickest ways to show someone your most honest, unfiltered self is by allowing yourself to have fun, without caring an ounce about how you look in the process.
Fun is the starting point for friendship and the building block for great relationships. Think about it. If we’re not having fun with the people in our lives, then those relationships probably aren’t thriving. If you can’t have the least bit of fun with your co-workers, you probably won’t enjoy your job for very long. A significant other may write you love songs and shower you with gifts all day long, but if you don’t have fun together, they’re likely not the one.
Fun is a vehicle God uses to help us find our way to one another, and stick with each other during the journey. It has a cementing effect on our relationships, because fun invites us to let down our guard, pull back the curtain, and let others see the side of us that isn’t polished and buttoned up. Suddenly, we have this memory to share, and we begin to feel known and know others in return.
That’s why in our house, we made fun a core value. We know we’ll get weighed down by the day to day details of life. We know we’ll face challenges, and that circumstances will get intense sometimes. So, it’s all the more important to make fun a priority. It’s something we expect, make space for, and initiate so that we can invite others into it. Sometimes, this might inconvenience us and other times this might fly in the face of logic, tradition, or what’s expected.
But, much like a slip and slide at a wedding rehearsal, I can confidently say that fun is always a good idea and one we won’t regret.