Is Boredom In Marriage A Cause For Concern? How To Fix It

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Is Boredom In Marriage A Cause For Concern

Are you feeling bored in your marriage? Boredom in marriage can be a huge and insidious dealbreaker, but the good news is that you can fix it and find yourself and that love back again.

Boredom can make you feel unhappy in your marriage. Studies have found that marital boredom is a problem that causes couples to lose interest in their relationships, have relationship problems, and have marriage difficulties. In fact, boredom is tied to the notorious “7-year itch.”

Researcher Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., and his team discovered that couples who were bored in year 7 were significantly less satisfied in year 16.

Psychologist Arthur Aron sought a solution and discovered that a surge in anxiety and adrenaline from physical or physiological arousal can lead to sexual attraction toward the person you are with at the time.

Circumstances like this make you feel vulnerable with your spouse, which in turn, deepens your shared bond.

Related: 4 Tips To Deal With Marital Boredom

My Marriage is Boring!

Before I sold my divorce mediation firm, I started a program called Marriage Mediation for couples who, despite being in the process of getting a divorce, were still in love.

The couples I worked with were getting a divorce because they saw it as the only way to resolve their marriage problems.

When these couples looked back to when their marital unhappiness began, most complained about being bored. For some, it lead to affairs, others made friends a priority, drinking too much, working longer hours, traveling for work when they didn’t need to.

These couples essentially looked for ways to avoid boredom at home and with each other. In the process, it drove them further apart.

Boredom in marriage
Boredom in marriage: How to not be bored in your marriage

Can My Marriage be Saved?

If your husband wants a divorce, or your wife wants a divorce, don’t panic. It is possible to save your marriage.

In marriage mediation, the partner who initiated the divorce proceedings (the “leaving” spouse) is usually more emotionally disengaged. To save their marriage, the leaving spouse needed to be put into a situation that caused a feeling of extreme vulnerability while the other spouse provided comfort.

For marriage mediation to continue, they were required to pick an activity the leaving spouse considered terrifying. And it needed to be done within two weeks. This showed me that they were serious about fixing the marriage.

When you put someone in a situation that creates vulnerability, the body reacts by sending a surge of chemicals that make you feel close to the person you are with. This emotionally, and chemically re-engaged the leaving spouse and changed their perspective toward marital problems.

This exercise was powerful! By making the leaving spouse feel reconnected emotionally, it also changed their perspective of how solvable their problems were. Feeling more connected also gave them a feeling of more control over managing their issues.

Related: How To Revive A Boring Relationship: 3 Practical Ways

Rosemary and Dan

When Rosemary and her husband, Dan started Marriage Mediation, she was the one who wanted to end the marriage. We discussed high-anxiety activities for them to do as an assignment to make her feel more connected to Dan.

She expressed that she loved to sing but was immobilized by the thought of doing it in public. This was the perfect activity. They created a plan. For the next few nights, they would research Karaoke bars where she could sing.

She sent me an email a few days later, reporting that every minute they planned, her anxiety soared. She also mentioned how much reassurance and comfort she got from Dan during the process.

They decided to find a Karaoke bar that was out of town to avoid running into someone she knew. They packed their bags, got on the ferry, and headed to a quaint little town on Catalina Island off the coast of San Diego.

Once in their room, she broke down and began to sob, telling him she couldn’t go through with it. He held her tight, and as her tears finished, she bargained with him.

If he agreed to sing a duet, she would have the courage to sing. And they did. They took turns singing the lines and, with a shaky voice, she clung to his hand for support.

When they showed up to their next marriage mediation appointment, they were united and eager to look for new solutions to fix their problems.

How Can I Fix My Marriage? Now It’s Your Turn: Healing Relationship

If you are feeling bored in your marriage, unhappy, or feel distant from your spouse, you need to try this exercise. To start, work separately to answer the following two questions.

  • List 5 activities that cause you a lot of anxiety.
  • List 5 activities that cause your spouse a lot of anxiety.

Once you finish, sit down and compare notes. Are there any items that both of you listed? If so, circle them. Now it’s planning time. Pick one feared activity for each of you to do.

To maximize the bonding benefits that come from anxiety, you will want to take your time planning the details of each activity.

Boredom in marriage
How to overcome boredom in marriage

Fear-Inducing Activities to Strengthen a Bond

If you are having a hard time coming up with an activity, take a look at the ideas below. One will certainly send a surge of bonding chemicals through you and your partner’s bodies.

In the left column, you will see a list of common fears. Scan to find something your partner is deathly afraid of. Or, if you are less engaged in the marriage, pick an item that terrifies you. Next, look in the right column for a sample of how to create the fear-inducing activity with your partner.

Related: 9 Golden Nuggets Of Marriage Advice For All Loving Couples

For maximizing the anxiety-bonding connection, follow the steps below.

1. Talk about the activity. The more you do, the more anxiety it will create for the partner who is uncomfortable about the activity. Remember, anxiety is the key to strengthening your connection.

2. Research the topic of your activity in advance to start the floodgates of fear.

3. Create a detailed hierarchy list of things about the feared activity (i.e., flying) that are frightening. Make your list start with low-anxiety items (packing, making reservations, driving to the airport) to high anxiety (waiting to board, taxing the runway, walking around the cabin, taking off, landing).

4. Create a list of ways to provide comfort to your partner (holding hands, rubbing the neck, offering reassuring words). When your partner’s anxiety happens, your job is to make him/her feel better.

5. When the day arrives, you will want your partner to do (or imagine the activities associated with the feared activity). Begin with the first item (lowest anxiety) on the list (packing). You will continue working your way up the anxiety list while alternating with comforting behaviors.

For example, if your partner’s anxiety starts to increase while packing, it’s your job to be comforting. Once your partner’s anxiety begins to lessen, it’s time to go back to restart the anxiety-inducing activity again. If the anxiety becomes too great to proceed, you can stop. The goal is not to finish the list, but to build a stronger emotional tie between the two of you.

Common Fears – Sample Anxiety-Creating Activities to do with your Partner

1. Fear of Heights or Falling

Images: Images of people doing crazy things while high above the ground, https://bit.ly/2OKaiSD.

Videos: Videos of insane people deliberately putting themselves in harmful situations, https://bit.ly/2Lf05Nh

Activities: Take a drive on a winding road with sharp drop-offs. Look off a mountain cliff. If traveling, you might look for a tourist height-related activity such as walking along the Grand Canyon, Skywalk in Peach Springs, Arizona, Skydeck in Chicago, Illinois, or the EdgeWalk around the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario.

2. Fear of roller coasters

Images: Images of people riding rollercoasters, https://bit.ly/1gFzKlb.

Videos: Watch videos of people riding a roller coaster, https://bit.ly/2Bju71f.

Activities: It’s time to buckle up and go for an amusement park ride that taps into the foundation of this fear—heights, restraints, vertigo, vomiting, and the possibility of an accident.

Related: Why Your Relationship Has Become Boring And How To Fix It

3. Fear of ghosts

Images: Images of ghosts, https://bit.ly/2r7dSvO.

Videos: Videos of ghosts, https://bit.ly/2MVau0Y.

Activities: Go to a house, building, or location reputed to be haunted by ghosts.

Boredom in marriage
What is marriage mediation

4. Fear of flying

Images: Images of things related to flying, https://bit.ly/2OO3Zh9.

Videos: Videos of people flying, https://bit.ly/2vTif0N.

Activities: Plan a trip to the airport. Better yet, go for a weekend getaway, an hour’s flight away.

5. Fear of snakes, dogs, critters, birds, bees, frogs, fish…

Images: Images of bugs, https://bit.ly/2L3EHJi.

Videos: Videos of bugs, https://bit.ly/2vSSy0y. 

Activities: Visit the Zoo to see the critter exhibit that houses snakes, spiders, frogs, and all sorts of creepy critters. To see bees, go to a honey farm.

6. Fear of clowns

Images: Images of clowns, https://bit.ly/2PhM8jm.

Videos: Watch videos of clown sightings, https://bit.ly/2OL0Ez1. 

Activities: Visit a museum with an exhibit that showcases a surreal cast of life-size, clown sculptures. Go to a clown supply store. 

Related: 36 Things I’ve Learned From 36 Years of Marriage

Should I Get a Divorce?

If you are having marital problems, unhappy in your marriage, or thinking about divorce, don’t move ahead until you try this exercise. It could save your marriage. It is a powerful, science-based tool to help increase the emotional bond you and your partner share.

This activity is not easy to do because it requires emotional vulnerability. The payoff will be great! Your relationship is worth it.

Want to know more about what it means feeling bored in marriage? Check this video out below!


Bored in my marriage

Nancy Fagan is the founder of the Relationship Resolution Center, an online counseling, mediation, and coaching business. She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology and is the former owner of the largest divorce mediation firm in San Diego. She is a 3-time published author and has appeared on countless television, and radio shows, and quoted in national magazines since 1997.

Check out her website, Online Counseling Experts for more such informative articles.


Written By Nancy Fagan
Originally Appeared On Online Counseling Experts
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Nancy Fagan, LMFT

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