Being bored in your marriage or relationship is something almost everybody will experience at one point or another. But I don't think we need to tolerate it. Instead, I think there are some simple practical steps we can take to defeat boredom in our relationships. Here are 10 of those practical steps!
When it comes to your marriage, there’s a big difference between leaving the “honeymoon” stage and being bored.
One is natural and inevitable; the other isn’t.
Can you guess which is which?
You’re correct: exiting the honeymoon stage is completely natural. That’s why it’s referred to as a “stage.” It has a beginning and an end.
Some even suggest it can last as long as three years!
Boredom is different. Boredom is what happens when you’ve lost interest in whatever/whoever it was you were engaged in/with.
When boredom goes unaddressed, it can have sad, painful, or sometimes even catastrophic, effects in a relationship.
But I bet you’ve never heard someone talk about the “boredom stage.” That’s because for many couples, it’s not a stage with an end point—instead, it sort of lingers for the entirety of the relationship.
It’s very common for couples. Most couples will experience it at some point in their relationship. The real problem is that many couples agree to live in this stage. Non-verbal, implicit agreement, of course.
The beautiful news is that you and your partner don’t have to live here. Whether you’ve been together 4 months, 4 years, or 40 years, there are steps you can take right now to lessen the boredom in your marriage.
These are also preventative steps you and your partner can take to defend against boredom if you're not currently experiencing it.
Disclaimer: these ten practical steps do take some effort, some vulnerability, and some commitment. But my hope is that they are sustainable so you can implement them long-term.
Okay, step number one. No particular order, by the way.
Every day, check in with your partner and see how they’re doing. Go out of your way to clear a some space for them where you just listen.
And then switch roles. Share with your person how your day was, maybe your high and low, maybe something about your day that caused a lot of joy.
As simple as this advice might sound, you’d be surprised by the impact daily check-ins can have on your relationship.
When someone gives us space to share, it can do a lot to breathe life back into that relationship.
So, add daily check-ins to your routine with your partner. Even if they’re only a couple minutes.
For daily check-ins to be useful, they require honesty.
One of the quickest ways to lessen the amount of boredom you experience in your marriage or relationship is to talk about it.
After all, you can’t change something you’re refusing to acknowledge.
If you’re bored in your relationship, it’s okay. Don’t shame yourself. Like I said, every couple will experience boredom at least once.
But if you’re interested in not being bored so often, start practicing honesty. You really can’t move forward without it.
Humans love having something to look forward to. It gets us through our days. It can revitalize us.
Why is this? I’m not exactly sure, but it probably has something to do with the way incentives work. Having something to look forward to incentivizes us to work hard and work fast, to get through our days.
A date with your loved one can be such an incentive. It can produce energy in you as an individual and in your relationship.
The date needn’t be expensive or extraordinarily. It’s kind of scary how excited I can get about a trip to our local Hawaiian BBQ spot.
Figure out your favorite date spot and put it on the calendar. Make it a weekly occurrence if you can.
A lot of people don’t consider how their lives outside of their romantic relationships impact their life inside their romantic relationship.
And let me tell you: the two are very related and interconnected.
Being sure to make time for your friends is actually an extension of making sure to take care of yourself. Don’t forget, you have needs and desires to.
To be very clear, your partner can’t meet all of your needs and desires.
So, spend some quality time with your closest friend(s). In taking care of yourself in this way, you’ll actually be able to bring more of yourself to your relationship with your partner.
The result? Two people better taken care of who are therefore more capable of being present to the other.
In the beginning of relationships—romantic or non-romantic—people tend to be pretty good about discovering their common interests.
In fact, it’s usually a common interest of some kind that unites people in the first place. My wife and I, for example, connected because of our mutual interest in mental health advocacy.
Challenge: think back to the common interests that initially united you and your partner.
Now ask yourselves: do you two still write music together? Still watch films on art history together? Still venture around for the perfect cup of coffee together?
In other words, do you two still share in your common interests together? If not, reclaim this part of your relationship.
Do you have hobbies? Make sure you’re still getting space for them.
This step is in the same vain as the step about making time for your friends.
Once again, it’s essential to the health of your relationship to attend to your needs. It’s common for people to continuously overlook their needs out of a preoccupation with the needs of their partner. (Some call this co-dependency.)
Being concerned with the needs of your partner is not bad. In fact, it’s a great good. Super healthy.
Trouble creeps in when your concern for their needs completely blocks your concern for your own needs.
It’s a balancing act. And to pull it off, you’ve got to make the things you’re passionate about a priority. You do this alongside helping your partner to prioritize their passions.
Ideally, you both are for the other person doing what they absolutely love—art, surfing, writing, etc.
I thought about calling this point “Vacation Well.” I do think you should vacation well if you can.
But the really crucial part of vacationing well that I think can help to reduce boredom in a relationship is resting well.
Good vacations are usually defined by how well we rested when we were on them. For most people, vacations just aren’t great if we come back from them feeling like we didn’t get to rest.
(I’m ignoring the young, restless vacationers here...though maybe something here still holds for them too.)
Boredom is often attached to “tiredness.” It’s simply more difficult to put in effort to escape boredom when we’re tired.
If you and your spouse or partner have been together a while, there’s a good chance you two have set into some rhythms.
Rhythms are deeply good and useful. Definitely don’t want to eliminate them. But you might want to consider changing your’s up a bit.
No need to make the changes huge, either. A little difference can go a long way.
Does one of you normally walk your dog by yourself? Make it a couple’s walk.
Who generally cooks dinner? Invite the other person into the mix as your sous chef for the night!
Skip the nightly Netflix routine and watch the sunset from wherever you are instead.
Simple adjustments, none of them costing you anything.
Try changing up the rhythm.
This is probably one of my favorite steps on this list. It’s code for “have fun.”
I can also understand how this might be challenging: your schedules are too packed and don’t allow for much fun; your family life is too demanding; you don’t even know where to start.
The list goes on.
My recommendation? Force yourselves to put something on the calendar.
Beach volleyball and surfing are the go-to’s for my wife and myself.
For you and your partner, it could be as simple as a board game, one night of camping, going to the movie theaters, attending a concert (whenever those resume again...).
The old axiom rings true here: we make time for what we want to make time for. Make some time for fun.
Alright, here we go—last tip!
Early on I talk about the importance of checking in with your partner or spouse each day.
This tip is all about you.
You’ve got to regularly check in with yourself. Ask yourself questions like these:
Being able to answer these questions honestly is extremely important.
In order to have a flourishing relationship with less boredom, we need to bring our best self to the relationship.
Bringing our best self to a relationship requires that we’re taking care of ourself.
So, are you?
I hope these 10 practical steps for less boredom in your marriage (or relationship) genuinely help you.
Stay tuned for more for your newlyweds toolkit.
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