'Can baseball save your marriage?' and other shared activities

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Do you like baseball? Any kind of sport? What about traveling or other activities? If you said yes to any of the above, do you enjoy doing so with your spouse? A new report from a set of studies, some of which have been going on for more than a decade, seems to think that if you do, your marriage has more of a chance at surviving. You know the old saying "those that play together stay together?" Well, turns out there may be something to that after all. Howard Markman, co-director of the University of Denver's Center for Marital and Family Studies, believes that having fun with your spouse is essential to your marriage.

Seems like a no brainer, sure, but when was the last time you went on a date with your spouse? That's one of the questions asked of couples by Markman and Scott Stanley, the other co-director of the study. The results were interesting, especially when they found out that women and men have very different views on what constitutes a date. The last time you spent time with your spouse could seem forever ago due to the economy, raising kids, demanding careers and commutes, among other things. Still, I think any married couple will tell you it's critical to have fun in your shared lives if you want to get something meaningful out of your time together.

According to another study, marital interaction is actually on the decline. Paul Amato, a sociologist at the Pennsylvania State University, surveyed over 2000 couples in 1980 and another set of roughly the same amount in the year 2000 and found that the number of couples who consistently participated in leisure activities together declined. The good news? Markman, in a separate study, noted that cities with major league baseball teams had a divorce rate 28% less than cities who wanted one but didn't have one. Why? Well, it certainly gives married couples something to do! No comment on whether or not the couples were happier if their teams won the pennant.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.