Those were the words that one of our friends told Linda recently…
Saturday night we met up with two other couples who we consider to be some of our closest friends. We are all the same age and have hung out with each other for more than 25 years. For years, the six of us and all of our kids would go camping and do other stuff together several times a year.
We are all now to the point where our kids have either graduated from college, in college or will be entering college next fall. Empty nest for all of us is just around the corner.
After a very entertaining and tasty dinner at a casual restaurant, we went outside to where a jazz concert was going on. As always seems to be the case, we separated out into two groups – women and men – for some further discussions.
Now, us men stood there and talked about the normal stuff…sports, work, kids and yes, one of the other guys did do just a little wife-bashing. Just a little!
Not until later on the drive home did I learn what the gals were chatting about. Yes, you guessed it…their husbands. And not much of it was very good at all.
Linda claims it was the other two women that were doing all of the complaining (uh, huh) and the core complaints were that their husbands never wanted to do anything and were basically boring stick-in-the-muds.
With empty nesthood approaching fast they were concerned that the rest of their lives were going to be lifeless and dull. They questioned whether or not they had anything in common anymore with their husbands. They were bored. They were also agitated, aggravated and fed up.
Our friends and their issue were on-again, off-again topics of discussion between Linda and I for a few days after our night out. We were trying to understand how they could have gotten to this place and hypothesized what could possibly be going on in their relationships, and why.
Without getting into too much of the details and background, it is apparent to us that they have fallen into a serious marital trap. We even half-joked that the guys must be suffering from a lack of testosterone while both of the women are now ripe for affairs.
Extramarital Affairs and Boredom
I saw something somewhere that research indicates that 65% or more of extramarital affairs can be directly attributed to boredom. Apparently it’s not caused by lack of love at all, but probably more likely due to the lack of newness, adventure and passion.
When you think about it, it makes sense. If there’s one thing that does not exist in a long-term marriage it’s that feeling of newness. It can be a major weakness to a marriage. And as the years go by and more time and effort is devoted to raising and nurturing kids and taking care of all of life’s other issues, this weakness, along with adventure and passion, is often overlooked.
No matter how much our friends love each other – and they do – they are not immune to boredom. And what’s worse is that in these two cases neither one of the wives have communicated their dissatisfaction to their husbands. Sound familiar?
It’s in cases just like this that many people turn to infidelity in an ill-fated attempt to solve their boredom (or some other) problem. There has to be a shift in thinking and approach here.
Infidelity expert Suzie Johnson says:
“Monogamy isn’t a one-time choice for human beings; it’s an ongoing choice. And that choice requires both daily practice and unwavering commitment. This means monogamy cannot be forced. It can only be inspired. And so, the million-dollar question is…What inspires us to choose to be (and stay) monogamous? Two key things: our passion and our principles.
If you want to create and sustain a lifetime of monogamy, then you must also know how to renew passion, inspire desire and sustain a lifetime of commitment.”
Since monogamy is an ongoing choice, it’s something that has to be inspired over the long term. Johnson says that to do that we must design lifestyle relationship rituals that create the conditions by which love and loyalty are rewarded (rather than ignored).
Five Lifestyle Rituals to Inspire Monogamy
- Rituals of Pleasure: These would be things that you and your partner do because they are fun and pleasurable. It could be a great meal, great sex or just watching a movie on the couch together. Basically, stuff you enjoy.
- Rituals of Relaxation: Here’s where you pamper yourselves to de-stress and chill out. It could be getting a massage or even enjoying a nice glass of wine together on the deck.
- Rituals of Shared Common Experiences: These are the live events like concerts, seminars, hobbies, etc. They are activities that you do and/or share together. The best shared common experiences are those that are new to both of you.
- Romantic Rituals: Romantic rituals are often hard to define. They are those experiences that make a woman feel valued, admired or appreciated while a man can certainly have his share of fun while feeling valued and admired as well. They can be your date nights or romantic weekend getaways, for instance.
- Spiritual Rituals: Spiritual rituals feed your soul. They should be positive and inspire you to more love and gratitude. Activities like going to church or meditating are examples.
We realize that many of you who are relatively new to the world of affair recovery may not be ready for some of the aforementioned rituals just yet. Hopefully, those of you who are further along and are in the marriage rebuilding and strengthening phase can find this helpful.
What are your thoughts on Johnson’s idea that the two main factors that keep us monogamous are passion and principles?
What are some things that you do to try and keep the passion alive and kicking?