Many people worry about boredom, which is one of the top killers of marriage. It’s an old story – early in a relationship, everything’s new and exciting, there are so many vital and interesting experiences still ahead of both of you, sex is still a new adventure, but then time passes and this excitement fades.
You’ve learned your spouse’s many moods, been through their emotional cycle with them countless times. You’ve seen each other naked a lot, so it no longer sparks the same fascination and excitement it used to. Over the years you’ve been out to dinner many times, so you know what they like and what they don’t.
You’ve told each other over and again the tales of your early life, your families, of growing up. And you’ve been on holiday together quite a few times, so that now, planning a vacation is more about logistics than about venturing into unknown territory.
Well, you could do something extreme to shake your relationship up. People do it. Quit your jobs, get a tandem bicycle, and ride from Alaska down to the southern tip of South America – that’ll keep you busy for several years and you sure won’t be bored. You’ll also be pretty fit afterwards and you’ll have some great stories to tell. Or move out of your house and become caravan nomads – people do that, too.
But those are exceptional stories, like the couple that sold their home and live in different New York neighbourhoods in short-term rentals, moving around every few months like hermit crabs. That sort of major shake up isn’t for everybody – not all of us can afford it (though you’d be surprised at what you can pull off on a limited budget) and more importantly, not all of us are nearly brave enough.
So are there some other, less drastic ways to keep yourself and your marriage lively, exciting and fresh?
Yes, of course there are! Here are some ideas to consider.
Focus On Yourself
One great way to keep your marriage interesting is to keep yourself interesting, and interested. Interested in anything. Interested in many things, ideally. Keep using your mind and your body throughout your life.
What this means is that, even though you’re out of school, don’t give up on studying or learning new things. Shut off your television or computer now and then and pick up a book. You could even ask your spouse to read the same book at the same time, giving you both something to talk about.
Consider taking a class or learning a new skill of some sort, whether it’s something practical like carpentry or sailing, or something more ethereal like painting or sculpture.
By learning new things and having new experiences with other like-minded people (the sort who are habitually curious and sign up for classes), you will automatically make yourself more interesting and attractive to others, including your spouse.
Think about it – instead of talking about the same old subjects you and your spouse always talk about, you’ll be able to talk about something new and different.
Don’t just use your mind, either. Stay healthy and fit. Go out and ride your bike (even if it ain’t a 30,000 km ride on the Pan-American Highway it will still do you a lot of good!) or take a walk every day.
Either join a gym or keep going to the one you belong to, and instead of working out alone with your headphones on, try taking some different classes where you interact with teachers and other students – dance, swimming, rock climbing, boxing, indoor cycling, rowing, anything new.
This will keep you fit and also help keep you from becoming bored with life in general. Avoiding the habit of boredom will really help you prevent boredom from setting into your marriage.
If you are living this kind of life filled with curiosity and new experiences, you will bring a healthy and lively attitude to your marriage. Your spouse may not be doing the same sort of things you are doing, and that’s out of your control, but you will certainly be setting a good example for them. And even by yourself, you can do a tremendous amount to keep your relationship fresh and exciting.
Obviously, doing similar sorts of things with your spouse is a great way to keep your marriage healthy and interesting, too. But don’t try to do everything together. Work on maintaining your own healthy interests and on bringing those experiences and attitudes into your relationship.
New Activities Rock
There are plenty of great activities to do together which will enrich your lives and enliven your minds, certainly. Consider things like cooking classes. Most urban areas now have cooking schools of some sort. Think of a type of cooking you’re interested in learning – maybe something classic like French or Italian cuisine, or perhaps Indian, Chinese or Thai.
Try a dessert baking class together. The actual subject isn’t so important. But you’ll be doing it together. If it works out well, you’ll also learn to cook something back at home that you both enjoy.
Almost any kind of shared adventure, or even a shared discomfort, can bring you closer together. Try training together for some sort of athletic event, like a running or cycling race. Or learn a new sport together, like sailing or skiing.
Even if you don’t become avid practitioners of the sport, you will keep yourselves away from boredom for sure while you’re learning. You’ll have good stories to tell and laugh about later, when you say, “Remember when we decided to learn to waterski?”
There are no boring subjects, goes the old saying, there are only bored people. If you cultivate the habit of curiosity and learning, both on your own and as a couple, you will never fall into the dangerous depths of boredom that can cripple your marriage.