When honeymoon bliss fades into the everyday reality of mundane chores, you may suddenly feel unhappiness creeping into your marriage and question whether it’s headed for the rocks. That’s the moment to take a giant step back and reflect.
Have you made a bad match or are you simply in a boring relationship? Boredom is clearly cultivated by our fast-paced, tweeting-texting-overwhelming world. Our expressions get summed up in a single emoji. According to a study Microsoft conducted, as we’ve adapted to our digital environment, the human attention span has sadly dwindled to less than that of a goldfish.
What does this mean in terms of whether or not you have a happy marriage that can last forever? Everything.
We’ve been trained to crave stimulation, and without it we feel something’s missing. The good news is that on our evolutionary path, according to studies related to neuroscience, we’re developing keener skills to rewire the brain to form new capabilities in order to change and improve. You can learn to switch out of boredom and reconnect to joy, fun, and love in your marital union.
If you’re experiencing this, here are six helpful ways to banish boredom from your marriage.
1. Accept the need for novelty and bring it home.
Interrupt the daily routine in creative ways. With friends or associates, we typically focus on entertaining topics. However, when we return to our spouse we get into habits of hyper-focusing on problems, from bills to the broken sink. Instead, each partner needs to share fun. Deliberately allocate a free period — void of complaints — and introduce interesting observations or joke with each other.
For example: George used to serenade Amy on his guitar, but after four years of marriage, he hadn’t plucked a chord. Now many evenings, they spend 10 to 20 minutes rekindling the music they both enjoy. It’s relaxing, stimulating, and has rebuilt their bond.
2. Communicate as you look into each other’s eyes.
Energetically, the art of talking is an essential part of the human experience. But Steve and Melony found themselves in bed at night glued to their tablets, finishing work reports. The TV blared as they concentrated on independent tasks until Steve texted his wife: “Would you like to have sex?” (The bedroom is best reserved for sex or sleep.)
But just as importantly, couples need to discuss their hopes, fears, dreams, and challenges and connect with each other face to face. Holding hands adds even more closeness. Too often, uneven expectations lead to disappointment, confusion, and alienation. Express what you want and solicit what your spouse wants so you’re on the same page and help each other achieve fulfillment.
3. Remember what you love about your spouse.
Irritations frequently become our focus. He throws his dirty clothes on the floor or leaves the toilet seat up. She’s always nagging or leaving the car with an empty fuel tank. Annoyances may only be 5% of the reality, but they become 100% exasperation and we forget what we once adored about our mate.
Bring to mind what attracted you: sense of humor, looks, intelligence, kindness, talents, fun personality. When the inevitable aggravation occurs, think about a trait you admire. By doing this, you wire your brain to embrace more feel-good moments and you train yourself in a new pattern of constructive behavior.
4. Reflect on what you can improve in yourself.
Are you a good partner? Marriage offers us a chance to grow and connect to our strengths and accept and improve our weaknesses. It’s important to take care of our health, hygiene, and appearance and to love ourselves. We cannot give to others what is not flowing through us.
It’s not our mate’s job to make us happy. Contentment comes from within. Observe what gives you pleasure and break through the status quo. Be adventurous. Be daring. Your spouse will potentially be intrigued and motivated by your courage.
5. Make a date to do something outrageous together.
Plan a “wild” activity, either simple or exotic. Give each other a facial or massage. Go hot-air ballooning, kayaking, or skinny dipping. Have a night out on the town or take a walk in the park. Learn something new together like ballroom dancing or sign up for a yoga, fitness, or cooking class.
Take a day trip to a special location or volunteer at a local charity. Break from the normalcy and share unusual experiences to build lasting memories.
6. Turn off the buzz and allocate quality time.
Plan uninterrupted time, eliminating all digital distractions. Taking just 10 to 15 minutes at the end of the day can provide a valuable period to wind down and decompress before bed, which can also stimulate the desire for more sex. Spending too much time watching news or in front of electronic media can become toxic. Instead, give yourself a break and be with your loved one, appreciating and acknowledging each other.
The course to resolving marital ennui requires both partners committing to making each other a priority. An easy first step is to practice any one of the six approaches. Open your hearts to unify as a team, reveling in the flow of all life’s pains and pleasures. You’ll feel alive and never again will you feel unhappy in your marriage.