Contributed By Larry Keefauver
“We have been married for years but at times I feel like we are room-mates instead of soul-mates. Our marriage lacks passion. Truthfully, it’s boring and I’m afraid one or both of us will get interested in someone else if this doesn’t change. What shall we do?”
~ Excellent room-mates
Keeping the flame lit, the passion alive and the fulfillment high in marriage takes work. Let’s face it, life is hard. By the time both spouses come home from work, take care of household chores, cook and care for the children, both mates have neither the energy nor the interest for romance, love or sexual intimacy in marriage.
In a study published by Psychological Science, researchers found that couples bored with marriage tend to become increasingly unhappy with their mate. The researchers found that boredom at the seven-year mark strongly predicted future unhappiness and loss of intimacy nine years later. In an MSNBC report, researcher Helen Fischer at Rutgers University found that sharing novel, unusual and exciting experiences with your spouse will give your brain a surge of adrenaline and put some “zip” into your marriage.
The truth is that boredom can significantly contribute to ennui, apathy and disinterest in one’s spouse. Fatigue also contributes significantly to marital distance between spouses. When one is stressed and tired most of the time, it is hard to stir up excitement, passion or interest between mates. Additionally, alcohol and illness also depress marital bliss.
Doing things together can reverse the trend. When I say together, I mean active interaction with one another, not with a TV set or computer video game. The focus of attention has to be on the other person, not an object or electronic gizmo.
The traits of a room-mate marriage include:
• Not eating meals together;
• Watching TV without talking;
• Communicating about problems and work but not communicating face to face;
• Rarely praying or worshipping together;
• Having physical intercourse without intimacy;
• Arguing about finances but not working out a budget or financial plan together;
• Feeling unnoticed or unappreciated by your spouse;
• Becoming easily irritated or angry;
• Going out to group functions but not staying together;
• Not having a daily, positive time together to communicate face to face about your relationship; not about children, problems, money or work; and
• Feeling stressed out, tired, anxious and fearful about the future.
If a number of these traits fit your marriage, now is the time to reverse course and start moving toward one another. Room-mate marriages move on separate paths and ultimately can end in separation or divorce.
Now, a soul-mate marriage, or what I prefer to call a covenant marriage, functions much differently. Covenant marriage, when a couple has true oneness, body, soul and spirit, looks like this:
• Both enjoy doing things together, spending quality time together and sharing intimately—body, soul and spirit;
• Both seek out quiet times for prayer and sharing scripture together;
• Both encourage and affirm one another, seeking to support each other in times of work or financial stress;
• Both express the five love languages to each other—gift giving, quality time, physical touch, affirming words and acts of service;
• Both admit wrongs, ask for forgiveness and forgive one another;
• Both laugh a lot, rest and eat right and find joy in the simple pleasures of life— a walk, holding hands, sharing a hobby together, going out together, simply being together; and
• Both working to keep the marriage from getting into a rut.
Look for serendipities in your day to enjoy. Spontaneously call one another, send a loving email or card, and affirm one another. Express gratitude for who your mate is and what they do … often!
Remember, staying married for life requires putting life, not boredom, into your daily life together!