When it comes to dealing with married couples, something that I get asked a lot is, "So, what's the main reason why people come to see you?" While I do get my fair share of affairs, sexual dissatisfaction, and communication issues, something that is becoming more and more of a constant is boredom. Yep, boredom.
If you're thinking that is a pretty shallow reason to be irritated with—if not straight-up sick of—your spouse, think back to the last time you were bored. Bored at work. Bored at home. Bored anywhere. Didn't it feel like its own version of Chinese water torture?
And here's the thing. A lot of people forget that one definition of boredom is "tedious repetition". When you're caught up in the routine of doing the same things over and over again, that can lead to a pattern that becomes dull and lifeless. If nothing is done to change that, the next level (down) is stagnation. When something (or someone) is stagnant, that means there is a "lack of development, advancement, or progressive movement".
Shoot, even stagnant water stinks after a while. That's because things are designed to progress. When that doesn't happen in a marriage, it's very easy to feel stuck—and then resentful because of it.
If you're married, you've been trying to figure out why you're currently unhappy in your relationship and all of this resonates, here are a few things that may help to get you and/or yours out of the current rut that you're in.
Take Some Personality Tests
I'm single, in my 40s, and still learning new things about myself all of the time. With growth comes change. When we stop doing both, we die (or are basically "dead person walking"). So, what makes us think that just because we share a house and a bed with someone that we know EVERYTHING there is to know about them and/or that they are not constantly changing just like we are?
When it comes to relationships, one of my favorite quotes is, "People change and forget to tell each other." If you and/or your partner is feeling stuck, it can never hurt to take some online personality tests (if you're a bible follower, a spiritual gifts test too). You might be surprised what some of them reveal about what makes both of you tick and/or how time has changed some of who you are over the years.
For instance, if you discover that your spouse has become more of an introvert, that might explain why they don't want to go out as much as they used to. That doesn't mean you shouldn't go out at all; they'd probably just prefer crowd-less one-on-one ideas like glamping, cooking together, or going on a road trip.
Create an Electronic Vision Board for Your Relationship
Vision boards are pretty common to most of us. But if you're married, do you and your beloved have a vision board specifically designed for your relationship? I'm asking because healthy married couples are the closest of friends and the best of lovers. You know what else they are? Purpose partners. They are teammates who help each other to achieve goals that they have both separately and apart. They are also mutually supportive when it comes to cultivating a full and fun union.
If you're reading this and you're like, "My man is absolutely not gonna sit on the floor and cut out pictures for a magazine", I hear you. Guess what—there are electronic vision boards that you can download so that you can exchange ideas back and forth via your smartphones.
That trip to Cape Town? Put it on your vision board. That house you want to buy in three years? Put it on your vision board. That company y'all used to dream about back when you were dating? Put it on your vision board. It's kind of hard to feel stuck when you're constantly making plans to move forward.
Read the Book ‘The Four Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage’
Back in the day, I used to watch Beverly Hills, 90210 (the original one). I remember in one episode, Donna was talking to the guy who played Khadijah's (from Living Single) love interest, Scooter. Anyway, as he was trying to cheer Donna up, he said, "My mama used to say that if you're up all of the time, you must be on something." Agreed.
Nothing is great, cheery and awesome all of the time. It's unrealistic to expect it to be; marriage is no exception. But for those who are adrenaline junkies or who think that if they are not feeling like they are walking on cloud nine all of the time that something is wrong, they could mistake a season in their marriage for being an actual problem.
That's why I recommend the book The Four Seasons of Marriage: Secrets to a Lasting Marriage. Dr. Gary Chapman (the man who came up with the concept of the five love languages). The gist is just like there are four seasons when it comes to the weather, marriage goes through four seasons (over and over again) too—hopeful (spring), satisfied (summer), unsettled (fall) and distant (winter). And, just like seasons, we find ways to adjust until the next season comes along (Ecclesiastes 3).
(It really does have some really great stuff in it.)
Plan Surprise Date Nights
According to an article that was featured on The Knot, a married couple who goes out once a month increases their chances of having a successful marriage. But if all you and yours ever do is go out to the same restaurant or binge-watching Netflix or Hulu, yes, that is going to get really old, really quick.
One way to remedy that is to plan surprise dates. I know that sounds contradictory but what I mean by that is you plan a date that your hubby would like that he knows nothing about until he arrives and ask him to do the same for you. That's (at least) six dates that you will come off as complete surprises to each of you. It's also a simple way to bring a bit of spontaneity back into your relationship.
Do Sex Differently
The wonderful thing about married sex is you're giving yourself to someone who promised to love you for the rest of your life. The challenge with married sex is if you're not intentional about keeping thing spicy, you can start to get super lazy with each other.
When's the last time you tried a new sexual position (although technically, there are only six, there are over 200 that are a variation of them)? When's the last time you had sex outside of your bedroom or even outside of your house? When's the last time the two of you went shopping for nothing but items that will spice up your sex life? Do you sext? Do you have middle-of-the-day sex? How many fantasies have you made a reality in the past six months?
If there's one thing all of the couples that I work with have in common, it's the fact that when something is wrong outside of the bedroom, it directly reflects that is happening (or isn't happening) inside of it too.
Sex is too amazing to put it in the category of being dull, mundane, and uninteresting. If that's where you're currently at, the good news is you and yours hold the keys to totally changing that—tonight, if you really want to.
Don’t Freak Out
You know who wants to be hyper-stimulated all of the time? Kids. If they are not constantly being entertained, they think there is a problem. It is a sign of maturity to know that life (including intimacy) is not about constantly feeling a certain type of way or always needing something to be going on.
If it's only been a few weeks of things not being as "lively" as they usually are, try not to make that be a problem; it might just be a temporary situation. There's not one couple who's made it past a decade who won't tell you that they haven't been right where you are before, more than once. The good news is they survived it.
Featured image by Getty Images.
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