My wife and I recently returned home from a five day trip to Washington D.C. Actually, if you include a day to drive there and a day to drive back, it was more like a three day trip to D.C.
After three days of walking over 13 miles to see the iconic sites, and two days of traffic laden driving, we were glad to be home. After unpacking, my wife sat in her chair and I sat in mine, enjoying a very boring evening of quietly surfing social media.
If you read stuff on marriage (including my stuff), you can easily walk away thinking that a good marriage is one where you and your spouse are regularly:
- Communicating clearly and deeply.
- Getting away for dates and weekend getaways.
- Having frequent and passionate sex.
- Working together cheerfully on everything from dinner to yard work.
- Laughing at the same sit coms.
- Staring into each other’s eye and reminiscing by candle light while your favorite love song plays in the background.
In our frenetic, ADHD culture, it’s easy to think that anything short of the above is a boring marriage.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think it’s good for a marriage to get into an on-going rut of silently ignoring one another and taking one another for granted. But what if, in our fast-paced, do-it-all culture, we’ve confused boring with something else?
At the writing of this post, my wife and I have been married thirty-seven years. As empty-nesters, we have the house and our time to ourselves and we can do what we like. Now if you’re younger and have small children, that may sound like heaven to you. I won’t lie. It’s a really great stage of marriage, but the older we get, the more time we spend quietly sitting in the same room, doing our own thing.
There was a time when I would have considered this a sign of a couple who were slowly becoming boring. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m beginning to see that what I once considered boring is actually something else. Sometimes, a marriage that seems boring on the surface is actually a marriage that is confidently comfortable.
Again, I’m against an on-going pattern of ignoring one another, acting independent of one another, and taking one another for granted. This can certainly lead to boredom…or something worse. But I’m strongly in favor of a couple being so comfortable with one another and so confident in their relationship that they don’t have to constantly be propping it up with activities and interaction.
So what is the difference between boring and confidently comfortable? Admittedly, the line between these two can be thin and hard to define, but think of it this way:
- Boring is ignoring one another. Confidently comfortable is being so in tune with one another you know when talk and activity are needed and when they’re not.
- Boring is disconnecting from one another. Confidently comfortable is maintaining that feeling of connectedness, even when you’re not talking or doing things together.
- Boring is doing your own thing with no regard for the other. Confidently comfortable is doing your own thing alongside the other.
Ask yourself this question, “Are both of us satisfied with how things are going, or are one (or both) of us dissatisfied with how things are going?” If one or both of you are dissatisfied, your marriage could be on the road to boring, and you should give this some attention. But if you are both satisfied with those times when you’re doing your own things and not interacting much, then your marriage might just be confidently comfortable, and you should enjoy it!
Think about going out to dinner and talking about the difference between a boring marriage and a confidently comfortable marriage. Each of you rate your marriage on a scale of one to four, with one being “boring” and four being “confidently comfortable.” Talk about why you rated it the way you did and anything different you would like to see.
Copyright © 2017 Bret Legg