A recent study by marriage researcher Paul Amato, determined that up to 60 percent of divorces in the United States stem from “low-conflict” marriage. There’s no abuse, no addiction, no infidelity, and no major debt. “Instead,” according to Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune, these divorces happen because of “a slow erosion toward cohabitating strangerdom. Basically we stop paying attention to each other.”
That is the foundation for today’s Marriage Monday: The Danger of Mediocrity.
After 28 years of marriage, Jill and I are quite predictable in our daily routines. I know that Jill will get up in the morning and exercise. I know she likes a cup of Good Earth tea sometime in her day. I also know that she’ll read a couple of chapters in a book in bed before she turns out the light on her side of the bed.
I know that as soon as Mark’s feet hit the floor in the morning, he’ll head to the coffee pot. I can sense when he’s getting overwhelmed with too much on his “to do” list. And I know that every night he says he’ll read in bed, but he’s usually asleep before finishing a page.
The daily routines give us security, but they also lend themselves to making our relationship quite predictable and even boring.
If we aren’t aware of this, we’ll lull ourselves right into mediocrity. We know what the other person will say or do, so we just depend on that and without realizing it, we stop investigating the world together.
I’m an adventurer and Jill is quite happy in a secure, predictable environment. What’s a couple to do when they seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum?
We’ve come to understand the importance of meeting in the middle. Mark has learned to value being home and enjoying time together. And I’ve learned to be a little more of an adventurer.
Take motorcycle riding for example. I enjoy riding my motorcycle. Initially Jill wasn’t very interested in riding.
While I don’t care for riding in the city or on the interstate, I’ve learned that I enjoy going for a motorcycle ride in the country.
So, we’re venturing out on some country rides to “change things up” in our marriage. We’re exploring a new activity with the intention of staying away from becoming “cohabitating strangers.”
Every marriage needs a shot of “new” to keep the relationship growing and fresh. New doesn’t have to cost money…it just needs to be a change in routine, a new hobby to explore, or a tweak in how you do things.
One couple we know started turning off the television two nights a week and started playing a board game instead. Another couple began making dinner together trying a new recipe two or three times a week. Other friends of ours starting the hobby of making wine together.
It’s not really important WHAT you do….it’s more important THAT you do something! This keeps us investing in our marriage, deepening our intimacy, and staying away from a mediocre relationship.
What about you? How have you tried to “change things up” in your marriage?
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I would really love to hear some more ideas of how to “change things up” in marriage. My husband and I used to go on dates all the time. He now has diet restrictions so eating out is out of the question. There is just something about going out to a nice restaurant with your sweetie that is so enjoyable. Not preparing the dinner and cleaning up helps, too! 🙂 We have walked around a nearby state park some and have gone to the movies but I am needing some more ideas. Thanks so much for the help. I’ve been really down in the dumps about this. I miss my hubby.
Have you and your husband ever sat down and brainstormed about this? Have you explored your passions and thought about ways to make those things happen?
Since he has dietary restrictions, maybe taking a picnic to a NEW place would be an option. My hubby and I will drive an hour just to walk at the beach and eat our lunch. Sometimes we just drive out someplace we pick on the map that we’ve never been before, for no reason. We’ll pick a small town or a state park. We pack an ice chest with food, find a park, have lunch, play cribbage, or some other game, and then go home. Hope this helps!
Good suggestion, Moe!
Yes, we have talked about picnics, auctions and antiquing. We don’t like museums or shopping. We are just at a loss. We’ve been married 19 years and have never been to this mediocre point before. I miss dating my husband.
Ok, so what keeps you from establishing a regular schedule to go antiquing or to go to an auction?
Sometimes I just say, “It’s my day to pick. Let’s go someplace I like.” Poor hubby ends up at an arboretum! lol. Or we’ll go for a walk at the beach and walk around the antique shops. not to buy anything but just rem·i·nisce- ing, and hanging out together…. the last time we went to an antique store he bought me a book ! it cost a dollar! He laughed but I like it. it’s called RED HOT MOMMA’S it’s about women getting older !