Drs. Evelyn and Paul Moschetta
Many of the roommate couples who come for help have completely stopped playing together. In fact, not playing together is one of the reasons they are roommates in the first place. Their inability to play is part of a larger problem-a general lack of nurturing in how they interact with one another. Every close, intimate relationship needs to be nurtured. It needs care and attention or else it begins to wither away.
We often don't recognize and remember the simple truth that we are called to take care of one another. We know plants need sun and water. We know children need to be loved and kept safe. But we lose sight of the fact that our love for each other also needs our attention. And despite the fact that we promise to love, honor, and cherish one another, it's very easy to forget, because there's no one reminding you of it. Your ego certainly won't do it. Nurturing is about giving; your ego is only concerned with getting. By the time your ego gets around to worrying about your marriage or relationship, it's too late.
In some couples the lack of playing together and overall lack of warmth and affection leads to a dangerous condition called benign neglect. Benign neglect is what happens when you give your time, energy, and attention to everything else in your life except one another.
We call it benign because it's the kind of neglect that seems harmless and non-threatening. It develops gradually, but its effects can cripple a relationship. It brings about a kind of "amnesia" whereby partners not only forget how to have fun together, but they also forget how to complement and praise one another, forget how to be playful and flirt with one another, and forget to do the little things that comfort and console one another. Making each other feel recognized and cared about falls to the bottom of their "to do" list.
Think about it. People go out of their way to help a stranger or to rescue a stray dog or cat. They'll take impeccable care of their car, their bodies, or their hard drives, and they'll devote themselves to one hobby after another-and all of this while their relationship slips slowly into starvation mode.
So play together, its important and its fun!