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. Many 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, 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.
6 Ways To Revive A Marriage
1.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.
2.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.
3.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.)
4.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.
5.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.
6.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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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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