A common problem in long-term marriages is for things to become boring over time. Once you have raised the kids and gotten them out of the house, you may find that the two of you are staring at each other with little idea what to do next.
We would have trouble counting the times we have encountered this issue with couples we have helped over the years. The question we hear after listening to the description of a boring marriage is often twofold. 1. We hear the questions, Can we turn this marriage around and 2. How do we improve our marriage?
Our answer is YES – you can turn your marriage around. There are definite steps you need to take to improve your relationship and bring new life to a boring marriage.
To do so the following steps will help.
- You acknowledge that your marriage is not OK, in fact, that it is boring. It is better if both of you agree that this is true and more difficult (although not impossible to change it) if only one of you believes this.
- At least one of you needs to be committed to changing things. A simple acknowledgment that you are bored in your marriage will not change anything. If there is to be new life breathed into your relationship, it will require effort from at least one of you.
It will take a determined commitment to break out of old patterns that have been a way of life for many years. If you want change, you HAVE TO make a decision that you will do the work needed.
- It will help if your spouse will agree to “play along” with your efforts at change. As stated before, it is much better if both spouses are involved in the process of improving your marriage. However, if only one of you is assuming the majority of the responsibility of initiating change, you need agreement from your spouse to “play along” with you.
You need your spouse to agree to join you in the change that you are working to bring to the marriage.
- You must identify and break up some of the old routines. One reason that things can become boring is that we do the same things in the same way month after month and year after year.
What are patterns and routines each of you practice that keep you apart, shut out the other or just don’t have much meaning any longer. Break up those routines with new ideas and ways of doing things. This may even require you to give up something that has been a part of your life but prevents you from doing something together.
Don’t feel that you have to give it up completely, but initiate some change.
- You need to agree to honestly encourage each other to step out of your comfort zones. Genuine change in the relationship may require each of you to step out of your comfort zones to try or to get involved in something new.
Your resistance to do this in the past may be one of the contributing factors to your boring marriage. To change it, you have to change, and you MUST be willing to try things you may have resisted in the past.
- You need to do something different. The patterns of thinking and behavior the two of you have exhibited so far have brought on boredom over the years. Now is the time to try something different.
Even if the thing you try turns out to be the wrong thing, it still created some traction for your marriage. Keep moving and turn things in the right direction and do something different.
- Agree on a list of new things that you are both willing to try. If you truly are going to break out of boredom and improve your marriage, it is crucial that you compile a list of new things to do. This may include activities that you will try, places to visit, and ideas that are outside of your former thought patterns.
Start a list; put every idea down even if it initially doesn’t seem attractive to one of you. Check the activity pages in the local newspaper. Check online for things that are going on in your area or in a place that you want to visit.
Create a BIG list over time and then discuss the ones you both are willing to try.
- Compile a calendar of things you are BOTH committed to doing together. A critical part of the process is now making the plans for WHEN you will begin trying something new.
You have a list. Pick something and set aside the time to do it. Now pick another and schedule it in your calendar. Set the calendar for several months in advance so that other things don’t get in the way of your effort to improve your marriage.
Good marriages are worth the effort. Getting stuck in a boring marriage does not have to be a forever thing. Changing a marriage and improving it takes work, but you BOTH will find it was worth it if you will take the steps listed here. Once things begin to improve in your marriage, keep up the good work and avoid falling back into the old habits that caused a tiresome and lackluster relationship.
If you and your spouse are struggling in this area, have tried to get unstuck and have had not made any progress, we can help. Before things get any worse, give us a call at 630-333-3202 for a free 15-20 minute phone/Skype consultation. We’ll help you figure out how you can break out of the boredom you’re currently feeling in your marriage and turn things around for good.