My son, Ethan, came home from elementary school, long-faced and dragging his heels. Since he wasn’t his usual peppy self, I asked “How was school?”
“Okay,” he replied in a monotone voice. “But I didn’t learn anything new. It was boring, boring, boring.”
At bedtime, we talked more about his blasé day. He lamented about his mind-numbing day at school. “I’ve done everything I like at recess. There’s nothing new to try. I just walked around. I played a little bit of dodgeball. I talked to a few friends. That was it. It was so boring.”
Inside I was smiling because this was so comical. I’m thinking if my son thinks recess, dodgeball, and friends are boring, wait until he gets to college lectures, bill paying, and long hours at his first job! I told him that adults felt bored too, and that boredom was just a part of life. Not every day is Disneyland, new concepts, and fancy foods. I also added in mom-like fashion that, “If you were bored, it was up to you to find something interesting to do.”
Just like Ethan, we as wives can say, “I’m bored.” We can whine, complain, and fuss about the dull routine of married life. Doing the same thing every day and going apparently nowhere. Running in circles with the same man, eating at the same restaurants, fighting over the same issues, trapped not in a bad marriage but in boredom.
The Bread of Idleness Tastes Bad
Guess what? You don’t have to stay bored. Boredom is a choice. And it has more to do with you than you may think.
The book of Proverbs says it this way: “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27, NIV).
When you joyfully take the responsibility to tend to your marriage, things can change dramatically. The life you once saw as boring can become engaging again. My friend, author Pam Farrel, has these words of encouragement:
We can choose to allow God to make us into amazing women regardless of the people around us and their choices. That’s the best way to not be bored. Say I want to be the best me I can be and I’m ready for the adventure God! God doesn’t say, “I’m only going to let you be the best you if your husband cooperates” or “I’m only going to let you be the best you if your husband makes so much money.” No, He will work around circumstances and through circumstances to help us become the very best us.
I encourage women to look for God’s personal post-it notes of goodness. My friend calls them “kisses from heaven.” If we look for those things, we start seeing our lives differently, more from God’s perspective. It could be a Facebook post, a verse during quiet times, or a note from a friend. They are little things that add up in a big way.
Expect God to speak to you, and look around for ways to join in God’s work. The virtuous wife described in Proverbs 31 hates to sit still and do nothing. She does not eat the bread of idleness. She knows that when you’re bored and lack direction, it’s easy to waste time on frivolous things that can tear down your house. She’s careful to fill her time with service to her family and community.
When you set your sights on serving others, you will never be bored or lonely. Billy Graham said it so well, “Only those who want everything done for them are bored.”
I interviewed business consultant Dr. Marjorie Blanchard about her 40+ year marriage to Ken Blanchard. Together they founded the highly successful Ken Blanchard Companies. I think what she says about fighting monotony in marriage is extremely wise:
I think women and men need to stay interesting to themselves. They need to pursue their own interests and also to look carefully for something they can share with their spouse. I think men love to have a pal and if you can find some things that you both like doing, I think that’s very important in a marriage. It’s not always easy. Ken was raised in the city and I was raised at the lake. So Ken is not a good swimmer, but we finally got a boat for him to drive. He loves being at the lake, but he’ll leave the lake to go play golf which I can hardly imagine on a hot day. But having the lake as a common interest is very important to us.
The other thing that I think is very important for men and women to do is to develop their own interests. Ask yourself “What’s new on my resume in the last three years?”
If you have been feeling bored in your marriage relationship, what are a few things you could do to change that? Remember you’re not going to wait around for your husband to fix things for you. You are going to be proactive by:
- planning a date to a new restaurant
- trying a new activity together like kayaking, dancing, photography, or running
- spending time doing something you really love
- finding somewhere to volunteer that you both enjoy
- having a candlelight dinner at home
- journaling about ten things you are thankful for in your marriage
- you fill in the blank:_________________
My husband and I have been married for 15 years. This past year, we’ve added something rather comical to our marriage resume: jujitsu, which is basically wrestling. We go to a family martial arts class with our three children. Instead of just watching as most parents do, we decided to participate since the instructor told us we could come for free with three paid students!
The first time I was on the mat with my husband as he was trying to choke me with his legs, I thought, I’m outta here! This is ridiculous! But do you know what? We’ve made some very funny memories in that martial arts class. It’s a shared activity that surprisingly, we’ve both grown to enjoy. Now sparring is a different story! (But I’m starting to get used to that too!)
Most pleasant memories don’t just happen; they must be arranged in advance. In the same way you plan a surprise birthday party for a family member or friend, you’ve got to plan to make happy memories with your husband. And don’t worry – if wrestling and sparring aren’t for you, there are many other activities you can enjoy with your spouse. The point is: think outside the box. It’s okay to get out of your comfort zone once in a while.
Don’t check out of your marriage emotionally, physically, or spiritually when boredom hits. Realize that the blahs come to everyone. Those who have successful marriages learn how to keep boredom at bay by constantly growing. Be intentional about keeping your marriage interesting and fun. Avoid uttering the words “I’m bored” and instead say, “I think we should try…”