Rivka: You might be listening on our podcast. Maybe watching a Youtube video. And whatever the case is today we want to talk to you about boredom in a marriage because we have a lot of readers writing to us things like, “I love my husband, and he’s such a great dad and he’s a great guy, but I’m bored. What can I do? Should I leave?” And so we want to address this topic. We’re approaching our eighteenth year together.
Shlomo: (jokes) This is not a personal topic.
Rivka: So let’s talk about boredom in a marriage.
Shlomo: So what are some of the things that are signs of boredom or what is it that you actually think you should be doing? I think a lot of these ideas about what we should be doing in a relationship or whether we’re bored or not is on is based on what we see on social media. People are looking on Facebook and they see that so and so went on vacation somewhere or look how much fun they’re having and of course looks can be deceiving. Because behind the scenes they could be hating each other’s guts but look like they’re having a great time where they’ll be going on an exotic vacation, so all because you see other couples doing things doesn’t mean that they have a good relationship. It doesn’t mean that somebody’s not cheating or someone’s not going to be getting divorced tomorrow. I sure hope not – but just want to put that in perspective for you so kind of getting outside of that external world and thinking about inside of me, what is it that I really need to have in our relationship?
Rivka: And that’s an interesting point because it can be really easy to fall into that trap of what society is posting or talking about and it seems like everybody else is having this or the Fear of Missing Out Syndrome. Fomo. And it seems like as we get busier and more bigger lives than it’s like the space grows bigger that we need to fill in the boredom. I’m just thinking for instance you know when I was a kid, I never saw anybody posting about exotic vacations in Italy or the Dominican Republic and I never really thought of those places as attractive destinations but now I see everybody posting about Italy, and everybody posting by Dominican Republic or maybe not so much now but and it’s really widened my horizons and it’s widened the things that I want because it’s just out there and I see it now.
Shlomo: That they should be attainable and then why are we not doing that is the question. And sometimes we need to think, well how old are these people? Someone’s been working for forty years, they’ve retired, they’ve amassed wealth, they might be able to do these types of things. They don’t have the same type of responsibilities as a young couple that’s raising children. So we have to look at reality as opposed to what you’re seeing out there. We’re not saying you should be bored at home and just doing things like making lunches and folding laundry all day, depending on who’s working, who’s at home. It’s important to spice up your relationship, it’s important to have excitement. It’s important to do fun things together. And that’s one of the things that we encourage couples to do. We have exercises where we actually “plan” fun, how boring! But because people are not having fun it’s important to actually schedule to make sure that you have a weekly date, weekly high energy fun activities that you can do together with your spouse so that you can have fun. So it is important but it’s also just as important not to think that because I’m not doing this (having fun) that my relationship is over, that I should marry someone else because if you have responsibilities you’re not going to be able to have… your life’s not going to be all fun and games so you have to deal a bit with reality and think about what’s doable and then what can you do to spice things up.
Rivka: That’s a really good point and I’m thinking about the things in life that get you results that are worth having. So going to the gym, I want to lose weight. I want to lose thirty pounds and going to the gym every day, it’s not that fun. It gets boring after a while but I know that the results will be worth having so I plug away.
Shlomo: So it’s kind of like delayed gratification. Our society is so much based on instant gratification. I want to get what I need, what I want now, it has to feel good and if I don’t get it then it’s not worth it. But what you’re saying, Rivka, is what are the important things in life and what can I do to invest my time in that and that’s also understanding if you have everything else in your relationship; if you have a caring spouse, a great parent, a loving partner and they’re just a little bit too boring for your taste, is that really reason to end the relationship or is there something that you could do to work together to spice things up to make things more fun? You marry this person. They probably weren’t that boring when you married them, they’re probably the same person in many ways so it’s not like somebody pulled the wool over your eyes, you knew what you were getting into. So work with it- if your spouse is reasonable and they love you, I’m sure they’d want to work together with you as well.
Rivka: I think it’s also so easy to stop being grateful because we compare our lives with other people. Gratitude. Who said was it that said?… Oprah Winfrey said just keeping a daily gratitude journal helped her to become the person that she is- enriches personally and emotionally and also financially. We forget about the small things like if your husband loves you. That is huge. That’s something to be grateful for . That’s a massive thing. Do you know how many people are in relationships where it’s not mutual and that is so painful, so even starting to look at the things that are small but that you can be grateful for will change the way you view life. I find it with myself even – we have five beautiful children and I’ll find myself getting annoyed at them or wondering, “Why can’t this one be more like this one? Why can’t this one be more like this and I think to myself: “Can they walk? Can they talk? Can they breathe? Because not everybody has that-
Shlomo: It’s just so hard, we just almost have this bias towards being negative, to looking at what we don’t have as opposed so what we do have and we’ll be much happier if we focus on all the good things that we have instead of taking things for granted. If you really take a moment to think about it, it’s unbelievable. I’ll speak for myself. It’s unbelievable how much I take for granted. Just the ability to wake up in the morning, to be able to be healthy, to breathe, to do something I love doing, to have a family. All of these things are just so easy to forget about because in our society, we are so spoiled! Thank God we have… we’re living in the Western world, living in probably one of the most affluent societies of all time. Even if we’re not rich but we have… we have basic necessities; running water it’s not even a question! Our air conditioning broke… our power went off, and we can’t handle it for a few hours. What did they do before air conditioning was invented, maybe with global warming it’s hotter now… but thinking about these things… any little thing bothers us now. We’re not living in war torn countries. We’re not going through… our ancestors were being persecuted in in Russian pogroms and had to escape so as not to be drafted in the army. We’re not dealing with these things at all you know so we have this a higher level of what we expect and then if we’re not getting that then we’re all upset so the more we can think about what we have the less these things will bother us. I bet you if you feel like your spouse is boring and that’s the only problem you have, I bet if you started keeping a gratitude journal like Rivka said, or start thinking about what you do have every day, what are the things I appreciate about my life, then it probably won’t bother you as much.
Rivka: And I’m not saying to gloss over … if there’s real problems, get help. Seek a qualified marriage counselor, we’re always available. We’re available online so we’re here to help you regardless of distance. So I’m not saying cover up a problem but I’m saying you can actually change the way you view life, when you start becoming more grateful and then the problems will die down a little, unless there’s something major going on. But if everything else is great and it’s just that you feel bored, but your husband loves you, your wife loves you. And they respect you and they provide for you and they care for you. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about some of these things that we’re talking about. So I hope that helps your question all of readers out wondering what to do if you’re bored in your marriage. Again we spoke about definitely scheduling fun, doing things that will spice up your life, whether it’s a weekly date night whether it’s quarterly getaway, whether it’s vacations without the children. Do those things by all means! We also talked about thinking about what’s realistic, thinking about what you’re seeing let’s say online or you’re seeing other couples doing and then wanting that and then feeling a void or a lack and realizing that in our abundant society what we can get is so much bigger and perhaps thinking more realistically about who those people are and how they’re able to afford those things and maybe they’re retired like Shlomo said and realizing that you are comparing apples to oranges.
Shlomo: And then finally being grateful, and counting your blessings what you do have and not focusing on the negative, especially if you do have so many wonderful things because there are so many other couples who are really struggling, dealing with really severe issues of betrayal, of abuse, of substance use that are very difficult to work through and they’re still committed to working through it but it’s very hard, so if this is the only issue that you have- again not to invalidate it because obviously it doesn’t feel good, but to focus on what you’re getting the positive things and then being able to go to your spouse on a safe way and telling them, “how can we have more fun and working on doing things together?
Rivka: Yes, well thank you for listening. Thanks for watching if you’re watching! And stay tuned for the next episode! We hope you enjoy listening to today’s topic. We’ll be back again to focus on another topic that is sure to help you with your marriage. For any questions or concerns, please email us at Info at the marriage restoration project dot com.
With best wishes for your relationship success!