My friend Charlie asked me to meet him for coffee one morning and the conversation veered into what he feared was a boring marriage. It went something like this:
Charlie: “I should be excited about our 20th anniversary. I kind of am – but Jane and I are so comfortable and predictable. I’m more worried than enthusiastic.”
Me: “Isn’t comfortable a good thing?”
Charlie: “I thought it was. But I miss the thrill, the racing heart, the chase. Falling in love was fun, but now we’ve landed. Part of me wants to get on a new ride.”
Me: “What does Jane say about it?”
Charlie: “That’s the thing, I just can’t read her. She came into the living room last night after she’d finished the dishes and just stared. I muted the game and said something dumb like, ‘What? I’m trying to watch the game?’ She looked like she was going to cry then walked out.”
Falling in love is one thing, standing in love is a whole other idea.Charlie looked sheepish like he already knew why this was going wrong. “I went to check on her during halftime, but she’d gone to bed early. She was already asleep.” We talked about what to do going forward. Falling in love is one thing, standing in love is a whole other idea. Try the following 5 strategies to avoid a boring marriage.
1. Ask her out like it’s the first date and take it from there.
Ask her out, show up with flowers at her work, plan something fun, then make her glad she’s still saying yes.
2. Shake up your routines.
Watching the game while she does dishes? Really? How about cleaning the kitchen together then walk the neighborhood, holding hands? How about brunch in the city Saturday morning followed by the museum? When did you last take a picnic to a park? Shake it up.
3. Go in (together) for a 30,000-mile service.”
Maybe talk with a licensed professional – counseling isn’t just for when it’s too late. Think of this as preventative maintenance. Approach counseling as fun, useful, and invaluable – it can be all three.
4. Learn something new together.
Pottery class? Fly-fishing? Photography? Be beginners together, like your relationship used to be.
5. Surround yourselves with peers who get it.
A faith community may have small groups for couples. Maybe start a dinner group with three other couples you admire. Perhaps it’s even time to go on a retreat.
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some fun things we could do when we get bored?”