Feeling somewhat bored in your marriage? Join the club.
One of the most common complaints I hear from couples is that they are bored in their relationship. I hear boredom blamed for everything from infidelity to substance abuse. It can cause couples to start questioning their choice of a spouse and start fantasizing about what life might be like with somebody else.
Boredom is not necessarily a sign that anything is seriously wrong with your relationship. The reality is that even great marriages are sometimes as exciting as watching paint dry. What’s important is the ability to recognize the difference between normal, transient boredom in your relationship as opposed to something more damaging.
That feeling of being “in love” that couples often experience early on in their union is rarely sustainable. It’s largely fueled by hormones, nature’s way of ensuring that we procreate. It’s incredibly powerful. And unfortunately, with time and familiarity, it tends to fade. The feeling of being in love is so intoxicating and pleasurable that we may become confused and restless once it’s subsided from our relationship.
The true act of being in a loving relationship has little to do with a feeling of being in love. Real love is an activity, not a feeling, and it involves acting lovingly even during times when you may not want to. It’s what mature adults in genuinely loving partnerships do.
Accepting that boredom is a natural part of marriage doesn’t mean that you should become complacent. Overwhelming feelings of boredom can be a sign that you are disengaging from your partner in a way that can be harmful. Passion, stimulating experiences, and a satisfying sex life are important. We should focus on combating boredom, but we should also maintain realistic expectations of what most long-term relationships feel like. It’s easy for your marriage to get bogged down by the day to day rush of just living. That’s not abnormal, that’s marriage.
So how can you spice things up a bit? Instead of fantasizing about another life, or another partner, invest your energy in the one that you have. Take time to truly listen to each other with your undivided attention. Do small, thoughtful things each day that remind your partner about how much you care for them. Spend time together, without children, doing something that you both enjoy. Talk about your sexual fantasies, your dreams, and focus on re-establishing both physical and emotional intimacy.
The most important thing to remember is that feelings of boredom in a marriage aren’t the least bit unusual. Instead of disengaging further from your partner when it happens see it as life’s gentle reminder that you should invest more time and attention in your relationship instead.