Marvelous Girl Has Moved!

How to prevent boredom from taking over your marriage

Posted on: June 11, 2009

Photo by lusi

Photo by lusi

Boredom is a like a stealth bomb–destroying the passion, the engagement and the closeness that makes for true happiness in a marriage–and it creeps up on you without you hardly noticing, says Dr. Noelle Nelson, author of Your Man is Wonderful.

A recent Psychological Science study published on April 6, 2009 followed 123 married couples seven years into their marriage, again at nine years and then at 16 years. It showed that boredom reduces closeness between the spouses, and this reduced satisfaction with the relationship.

“A lot of married couples begin to wonder if marriage is just one long series of chores, errands and kids to be picked up with work sandwiched somewhere in the middle,” says Nelson, a California relationship author and speaker. “Oh sure, you have some laughs and nice times together, but what happened to the excitement and the passion? It’s that kind of feeling that can make spouses drift to thoughts about other more ‘exciting’ people in their lives and the chances of an affair increase.”

How do you alleviate boredom? Nelson says by exploring new things together and by deliberately exploring each other–much as you did during courtship. Nelson offers five simple suggestions:

1. Turn “date night” into more than dinner and a movie – Just because you are married or in a long-term relationship doesn’t mean you should stop dating. “Many couples know how to make one night of the week a ‘date night,’ but they should take it one step further so it doesn’t become routine,” says Nelson. “Be innovative. Take turns surprising each other with where you go or what you do on your date. Deliberately come up with ideas that let you explore a new experience together: anything from learning about the night sky at a local observatory to hitting the state fair to trying foods from exotic lands.”

2. Take up a hobby together – Find something new you would like to do together. It could be attending cooking classes, taking up tennis or golf or learning a new dance step. “Make regular time every week to do your new hobby together,” explains Nelson. “Be excited and passionate about it, talk about it, look forward to it.”

3. Get a question book – You may think you know everything there is to know about your sweetheart after a few years. “Not true,” says Nelson. “People grow and change throughout their lives. When you lose interest in finding out what makes him or her tick, they may lose interest in you. Pick up a book filled with lists of questions from the bookstore and start asking your mate. Some questions are thought provoking, some silly, some just plain fun, but it’s a good way to discover what your spouse is really thinking.”

4. Play games together – Watching TV together is fun, but it isn’t exactly couple-interactive. “Make an effort to shut off the tube and dive into a word/board game, just the two of you,” suggests Nelson. “It could be scrabble, a computer game or putting a puzzle together. Playing together keeps your love young.”

5. Volunteer together – Volunteering has wonderful benefits. It gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment, and studies show it’s actually good for your health. “When you work side by side for the benefit of your community, church, neighborhood or favorite cause, you share that sense of purpose and accomplishment,” says Nelson. “It brings you closer.

“These five simple suggestions can banish boredom from marriage without a fatal plunge into an affair or other diversion (gambling, alcohol, excessive shopping) that are detrimental to your relationship. They garner the closeness that fulfillment is all about,” says Nelson.

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