A romantic relationships study by the Huffington Post and Reader’s Digest (“The Normal Bar,” 2011) looked at more than 100,000 people. It found that boredom was the leading reason couples gave for infidelity.
A full 71 percent of men and 49 percent of women who had affairs said they did so because they were bored. Boredom also leads spouses to try to escape dreary marriages in other dangerous ways, such as excessive drinking of alcohol, overeating, and pursuing hobbies outside the home (at the expense of family), to name just a few.
So, what can you do to avoid boredom in marriage?
The best way to prevent boredom in marriage is to deliberately spend quality time together, having fun, and doing new things together.
But, I’m sure you’ve heard that before.
When Life Feels Dull and Dry
Admittedly, it’s hard to spend meaningful time together when you’re coming home from work late. Taking care of the kids, driving them to and from sports, dance, band, choir, this club and that club takes its toll, too.
And don’t forget the time for games, recitals, and competitions. Do a couple of events each for a couple of kids, and your marriage will be on hold for a decade or more!
It’s an easy trap to fall into.
When our attention gets spread so thin between work, kids, household duties, and the other dozen hats we wear, quality time with our spouse is often the first thing to slip.
This is the main reason why so many couples spend most of their time on the everyday, more demanding aspects of their relationship. Doing so, they forget to have fun and enjoy the more pleasurable things about being together.
They forget to enjoy the things that most likely brought them together in the first place!
When things get so far, every day feels the same.
It’s like you’re swimming against a torrent of items that need to be checked off before you can do anything else. No wonder so many couples get disconnected.
Even though they can hardly cope with life, they are bored to death when it comes to their marriage.
It Doesn’t Need to Be Like That
The good news is, if you’re bored in your marriage, you don’t have to try to escape from it. Rather than seeking a way out, you can create a new marriage from within.
There is a way to have more fun, laughter, and excitement together, but first you need to make room in your everyday life. If you don’t block out that time in your calendar, someone else will. Especially once we get comfortable in our relationship, it’s all too easy to forget about this.
Here’s what you can do.
1. Plan it in Advance
Usually, a lack of quality time together is a matter of poor planning and/or a lack of self-control. We feel bad saying no, so we say yes to far more than we should.
Then, it’s our marriage that suffers.
Therefore, agree to block a day in the week when you will spend some fun time together. Treat is as your sacred couple time. It can be an entire evening on Fridays, or a whole day every now and then.
But make it regular!
There’s no end to the possibilities: Going out for dinner—just the two of you—watching a movie when the kids are in bed, going on outings together (to concerts, sports games, museums, festivals, antique shops, flea markets, etc.), cooking a dinner together, visiting friends or inviting them over to your place, working on projects together that tie into each other’s hobbies, doing any sport you can do together and you both enjoy (how about an easy, simple half-hour walk?).
Use your creativity to generate fresh ideas, discuss them with your spouse, and then regularly make plans for new adventures together.
2. Do Something Unexpected
Did you know that surprise is a powerful aphrodisiac? Esther Perel, a French researcher who dedicated her professional life to exploring erotic desire, wrote a book called Mating in Captivity.
While interviewing thousands of couples all across the globe she discovered a surprise: mystery and thrilling excitement are one of the pillars of erotic desire—almost universally, all around the world, across all races.
- Keep a list of surprises that would delight your spouse, and give them one at least once a month, and at different times and days, to keep it unexpected.
- Call up your babysitter, make a reservation at your favorite restaurant, and invite your partner to a surprise dinner.
- When your partner returns home from a business trip, prepare your bedroom with candles and massage oil, and give them a nice massage.
- Buy tickets to your spouse’s favorite band’s concert without them knowing.
- Surprise them with breakfast in bed.
- Return to that store and purchase that item your partner fancied the last time you were at the mall.
- Watch your spouse closely and learn what makes them happy or excited. Expand your list with new ideas to keep them excitedly wondering when your next move will take place.
Want more inspiration? At the end of this post, you’ll find your chance to surprise your spouse in new ways so they can’t help but crave you.
3. Learn Something New Together
Arthur Aron, a professor of psychology at Stony Brook University published an interesting study. For the study, the researchers recruited 53 married couples, assessed their relationship quality, and assigned them to one of three groups.
One group picked new and exciting activities to do together for 90 minutes a week — like going to a play, or hiking, or dancing. Another group spent 90 minutes a week doing pleasant but routine activities together — like going to a mall or watch movie. The last group wasn’t asked to change anything.
After 10 weeks, the researchers reassessed the couples’ relationship quality and found that those who had tried new and exciting things were the most satisfied.
So, is there a cooking or dancing class nearby that you can join together?
4. Use Little Pockets of Time
Look for pockets of time when you both can break away from your regular routines to relax and have fun in some new way without much planning. There’s always something fun you can do together, even in just a little time.
Maybe you can meet for a lunch break, or take a detour to try out a dessert at a new restaurant? Perhaps you can take a hike in a nearby park when you’re waiting for your child to finish their piano class?
5. Remember the Times When it Was Just the Two of You
If your budget allows, once or twice a year take a couple of days off and rediscover the times when you were still alone, with no kids. Go somewhere nice and have fun like you did when you first met.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive, or far away, but it’s preferable to go somewhere other than your house. Perhaps you may want to stay in a motel in the next town, have a nice dinner, maybe go dancing and come back the next day.
Other times, you may want to dust off the bikes and feel some air in your hair. No matter what you do, the important thing is that you’ll be together.
It WILL pay off hugely. It will reconnect you. Trust me.
6. Protect Your Couple Time Jealously
Except in case of emergency or sickness, protect your time together from “intruders”—such as your own children or in-laws. Let them know what you’re doing and how important it is for you. If you need to, mark your regular fun time on a family calendar so everyone can see it.
Specifically, let your children know about it! This way they will unconsciously learn one of the love rituals from you and use them naturally when they grow up.
What a beautiful message that is to your children!
How About You?
Most people won’t bother to follow any of this advice, and will continue to live their lives on cruise control, expecting a miracle to happen.
Well, you and I know this is not going to happen.
If you are serious about transforming your relationship into a fulfilling and rich one, then you’re going to love my new book The 5 Little Love Rituals: Connect and Keep Your Love Alive No Matter How Busy You Are.
It’s filled with 179 different ideas and suggestions as to how to make your marriage and relationship more kind, thoughtful, exciting, adventurous, and fun. You will learn how to stay close and connect in a meaningful way, even if you’re not an overly creative person or a hopeless romantic.
The best thing?
The vast majority of those ideas require just a little bit of your time, and many are completely free. The sooner you start, the more fun you’ll have.
QUESTION: What’s your favorite way to spending time together and keeping your love young? You can leave a comment by clicking here.