He makes me coffee. I make him lunch. He leaves for work. I stay home and write. At night we hit the gym, then we watch TV. Sometimes we fight, but never for long.
Day in and day out, the habits of my relationship are unerringly simple, steady and, frankly, boring. But after 13 years of marriage and 16 years together, I’m grateful — so grateful — for the steady, unfailing solidity of my relationship and the constant friendship and goodness I receive from my husband.
My relationship is grounding. It’s my safe place. It’s home.
Relationships aren’t meant to be entertainment
Marriage, as an institution, is dying — people are fed up with its failures. And in lieu of marriage (or frankly, even in marriage), long-term relationships are often viewed as temporary, or “good for now.”
It seems to some degree, the turn away from “forever” relationships points to a perception that “boring” equals “bad.” People hate to be bored. They want to fill their time with something, fill their minds with something, even if it’s just cat videos on YouTube. Sitting still or going through life’s mundane activities (because let’s be real, most of life is mundane), causes an itch that needs to be scratched with some sort of excitement or drama.
With this need to be constantly entertained, comes the insidious expectation that relationships have to stay “fresh,” “fun,” or “exciting.” That, to some degree, the person you’re paired with is responsible for delivering said excitement.
And when the buzz of new love wears off, and boring sets in — when your partner is no longer constantly managing your level of entertainment — then maybe it’s time to find a new person to entertain you.
It’s like ditching an iPhone 5 for an iPhone 6. Even though the new version has a few unexpected bugs and errors, as well as some of the same problems as the old version, the “new” wore off and it’s time to move on. Time to go through the excitement and frustration of discovering new tools while running into new problems. And the cycle continues.
And that, right there, is why I’m so grateful for my boring marriage. I learned a long time ago that I don’t need my husband to be a source of entertainment. I don’t need him to be a source of excitement.
That’s not to say my husband doesn’t excite and entertain me. He does. In between long talks over coffee and shared walks with our dogs, we laugh and dream and make big plans together. But there’s a difference between viewing your relationship — your partner — as an external source of entertainment that must constantly keep you on your toes, versus seeing your partner as, well, a partner who you pair with so you can face life’s challenges and joys together.
I know that’s a subtle distinction, but it’s an important one.
At the end of the day, life is hard. It offers challenges and opportunities you never expect. Life, through its many ups and downs, delivers excitement, delivers drama — sometimes you expect it, and sometimes you don’t. Personally, my husband and I have faced four cross-country moves, countless job changes, job loss, foreclosure and depression. Trust me, our lives haven’t been boring.
After gritting through some tough experiences, I learned that what I need isn’t a man who keeps me on my toes. No, I need a steady, good man by my side who will solidly face whatever joys or challenges life chooses to serve us.
Life is full of enough drama on its own, so I’ll take my boring relationship, my mundane daily existence and be grateful for it. Because it’s with the steadying force of my marriage that I feel strong and rested enough to navigate whatever challenges or opportunities lie ahead.
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