My husband and I have been married for more than ten years. That’s longer than I’ve ever lived in a single house or even a single city at one go. Much longer than I’ve ever held a single job.
It’s amazing, to be married so long. It is also B-O-R-I-N-G.
Yeah, I said it. Marriage is boring.
I mean, not necessarily. You can keep it from becoming boring–but if you’re married (or have a long-term partner) and you haven’t gotten to the boredom stage yet, be on alert! Boredom is coming for you.
You might think boredom isn’t so bad. On its own, it’s not. The problem is, boredom can breed resentment. It can breed rudeness and inconsideration. Your other half can become so mundane that he or she can end up factoring in your consciousness about as heavily as your left pinky toe.
Essentially, your partner can become so much a part of your own being that you don’t really notice them anymore, don’t pay much attention to them, don’t give a rat’s patootie unless they do something that bothers you. Do you think about your left pinky toe on a regular basis? No. But if you smash it into a chair leg it shoots right to the top of your consciousness. Never mind that it’s been a very functional, happy pinky toe for an exceptionally long time, that your life is that much easier for its existence, that it balances you out and helps you walk in a way that keeps your whole being in alignment: once it gives you trouble, it’s nothing more than a pain.
Of course, this doesn’t have to happen. If it has happened to you, there’s a chance you can reverse it.
I speak from experience. For me, the boredom really set in once we had children and stopped being able to go out and do things–babysitters are expensive, our son has some unique needs, and our daughter is basically made out of cling wrap. I started spending just about all of my energy on my kids. Neither my husband or I had much free time or were doing much of interest that we could talk about when we did have a moment to hang out together. Our together time turned into screen time. We were perpetually exhausted and usually went to bed early.
My husband kept saying he wanted to spend more time with me, but for a long time I didn’t really hear it. “Time with me” translated to do doing chores or watching reruns, because that’s what we usually did–for the most part, we didn’t even have the energy to stay awake through a full movie.
Then, one day, I got it: my husband wanted us to start dating again.
We’ve taken several stabs at it over the last couple of years. The stresses of everyday life are certainly difficult to overcome, not to mention the finances (we’ve tried stay-at-home dates on several occasions, but one or both of us usually punks out and turns on the TV). Now that our kids are old enough to deal with having a sitter at bedtime (I mean, they don’t kill her or anything), we’ve decided we just have to make it a priority. Which leads me to my first tip on how to date your husband:
Just do it.
Obviously, some excuses are more valid than others, but if you wait for life to open up and hand you an opportunity, you’re never going to get out of the house. If money’s a problem, do something cheap. If you don’t have a babysitter, find one (friends with kids are a great option because you can pay them in trade). If you’re too tired, have a cup of coffee.
Get out of the house.
Even if you just go browsing at a bookstore, pack a picnic, or go for a walk, it’s imperative that you get away from your everyday life and just be together.
Do something scary.
They say that one of the few ways adults make friends with each other is to survive something together. So what better way to bond with your partner? And I’m not just talking about scary movies–in fact, I recommend you don’t go to the movies at all, since that’s on par with sitting at home watching TV and costs a lot more money. I mean, do a ropes course together. Visit a psychic if that kind of thing weirds you out. Sing karaoke. Climb a tree. Play truth or dare.
Compete with each other.
For certain personalities, this might not be a good idea, but I’ve found that one of the big issues that pops up in a long-term relationship is a lack of spark, and I don’t just mean that sexually. And if you’re not sparking in a good way, you’ll start to spark in a bad way. One or both of you will start picking fights; your relationship might get tense and angry. So channel that need for clash into a basketball game, some mah-jongg, a video game tournament. And these are things that, contrary to my earlier advice to get out of the house, you can do at home–and with the kids around. Which leads me to my final gem:
Consider the children.
I mean, if you’ve got any. But if you do, I think it’s important to remember how they see you and your relationship. During some of my grumblier times, I have noticed my kids starting to act less lovingly toward their father–once my son even came out and said, “We don’t like Daddy.” Which is when I knew I had to turn it around. Because, annoyed as I might get, I do like Daddy. I love him. And so do they.
My kids have started dating their Daddy, too, and when one is out with Daddy, the other gets special time with me. And we try really hard to have family time. And yes, we have to try. Because relationships are work–all kinds of relationships–and don’t ever get fooled into thinking they aren’t. But they’re the best kind of work, aren’t they?