Boredom is an interesting emotion. Generally it means “a lack of interest in something”. Something that you were once interested in but now are not. We all see it.
You might have tried gardening or jogging or reading or composing poetry or bowling or golf and found it boring. And now you no longer have any interest in focusing on it again. That’s fine for some things but boredom in marriage seems more concerning.
It is clear that humans regularly get bored with each other. Bored with friends, bored with parents, and of course bored with spouses. But there’s something odd about boredom, which I’ve noticed. It is this. When I read in the Bible, I never see God, the Father, being bored. There are no indications that He is ever bored with others. So what’s up with that? Doesn’t it seem odd that we get bored a lot but God never does?
Why doesn’t God get Bored?
One obvious cause could be that boredom is a result of the Fall, when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and lost their innocence. And as their descendants we have inherited death, sinful natures, separation from God and maybe even boredom. That’s just a guess on my part. Or maybe it is because we don’t see as much as God sees. We might see superficial things in our spouse while God sees their every emotion and thought.
Never the less, boredom is part of most relationships and in marriage it can lead to deeper problems. Intuitively we know that boredom is a relational disease that doesn’t lead to good things. So why do we become bored?
Why does Marriage become Boring?
Often we are bored because we are attracted to other shiny objects. Like a cat chasing a red laser dot, we are looking for something to pursue. And now that we have “caught” our spouse we are on to the next pursuit (job, career, more money, more stuff, hobbies). That certainly sounds a lot like me in my twenties and thirties.
When I think about boredom I’m reminded of the saying “You are only bored when you are boring.” And I think there’s some truth there. When we stop investing in our relationship with our spouse then the relationship will become boring. But our lack of effort indicates we could be the cause, because we are refocusing on other things and being boring toward each other.
On the flip-side, when I think a relationship is not boring, you and I will make more effort. You will see me ask more questions, be more curious and have a more focused interest on the relationship. I value it more which leads to action. And the action creates more interest when it is responded to.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that even those boring people you might encounter at a party or at work can become much more interesting when you take the time to interact with them and ask them good questions. Of course they might be interested in things you consider boring but at least you discover that. And consider your past behavior with your spouse.
Fighting Boredom in Marriage
At one time, your spouse was interesting to you or you wouldn’t be married today. Right?
But apparently something changed. And if it is you and I, then what can we do to tackle the boredom we are facing? Here are my thoughts.
- Review the things that you are interested in right now. Are they competing with your interest in your spouse? Is it a new hobby? A new possession that takes up your time? Is someone flirting with you at work or the gym? Are you looking for appreciation or validation or attention from others? Often, we are looking for “escapes” in life where we pursue a fantasy of happiness that is never going to fulfill us.
- Tell your spouse, “I feel like our relationship is becoming boring.”. Discuss to determine if the boredom is coming from stress or busyness or fatigue or emotional swings. Often they can see things that you might not have noticed. Temporary “blahs” are normal but when they linger, it’s a sign that something is not going well inside of us.
- Ask God to examine your heart and reveal more. The Holy Spirit is really good at this. Then ask God to make you less boring and more willing to invest in your relationship with your spouse.
- Do you believe this lie? “We’ve known each other so long that there’s nothing we don’t know about each other.” That’s a common statement made by couples but it is rarely true. There is much we don’t know about each other but once we’ve quit trying it seems that way. And here’s a simple proof. God is so interested in your spouse, that He wants to spend eternity with them. So, why are bored with them?
- One thing that makes us boring is our constant TV, computer or phone viewing when together. Try putting the phones away one evening a week or at a certain time each day. Then fill the time with conversation that matters.
- Deepen your conversations by moving away from exchanging facts. Instead start expressing hopes, dreams, wishes, interests, insights and other personal expressions. Get a list of good questions and ask them regularly. Here’s some examples that always work.
- What are your biggest challenges right now?
- What is one dream you’ve been thinking about?
- What concerns you the most these days?
- Where do you want our life together to be in 5 years?
- What has God been speaking to you about?
- What do we need to stop doing, start doing or keep doing for our relationship?
- What are we settling for in our life together and what could we do together about it?
- What brings you the most joy in a typical week?
Your marriage is your 2nd most important relationship, so don’t let boredom take up residence there. Step up and tackle the boredom that might be affecting your relationship. As you take the initiative, God will work because He values your marriage relationship more than you do.
Plus there are some good things about low-drama marriages.
Let me know what you have found that has helped you conquer boredom in your marriage!