Ever feel that you go through the day on autopilot, performing the routine, boring, habitual day-to-day activities? Monotony and familiarity can hijack us from enjoying the joy of the present. If this describes your marriage, it is time to catch these little foxes.
At the conclusion of counseling with premarital couples, we offer an opportunity for Q and A. One bride-to-be asked this question:
Do you ever get bored with each other?
Wise King Solomon wrote:
Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom.
Don’t be deceived by how cute foxes are. While carnivorous, they also devour plants. So that besides digging their holes in the vineyards, they bite the young shoots of the vines and eat the grapes. Grapevines are said to be spoiled by their deadly bite.
Those little foxes of routine, monotony and boredom try to spoil the commitment and love of our marriage vows.
Here are ways Dennis and I catch the foxes from spoiling our vineyards:
Catching the Little Foxes of Boredom
Avoid score keeping.
In the beginning, I kept score of everything.
- How often he helped around the house
- Who got up with the baby last
- He left the toilet seat up (again)
- Who said “I’m sorry” first after an argument
About year 15, we learned the importance of forgiveness and have worked on being good forgivers.
As Ruth Bell Graham said:
A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.
We’ve become better at catching this little fox by speaking these 7 words often: I was wrong. Will you forgive me?
Keeping score is for competitive athletic teams. But,
Marriage is a team sport, where two unique individuals come together to win together in life.
Cultivate and nourish your friendship.
Have regular date nights.
Make time for them, because you will never find time. Make it a priority.
Dennis and I take turns planning dates. In our parenting years, I would arrange for babysitting, he would take care of dinner and transportation details.
Find a common interest you can share.
Volunteer opportunities we’ve enjoyed together are with Make a Wish, teaching children’s Sunday School classes and small group studies and serving on military committees (when he was active duty military).
Take it outside .
A UK study that tracked more than 20,000 participants with more than a million responses concluded that people were significantly happier in natural environments as compared with urban environments.
Have a picnic in the park, take a hike, go kayaking, watch a sunset, or simply sit in a green space during your workday…Doing them with your partner can help you connect outside of the usual stresses and electronic interruptions. It’s hard to worry about the laundry when you’re taking in an incredible view.
We enjoy hiking 4 mornings a week at trails near our home. When I’m not gasping for breath trying to keep my 5’2” legs in stride with Dennis’ 6”2” ones, we occasionally pray about our day. *huff*puff*
Keep sex and intimacy a priority.
Over at wearethatfamily.com, Kristen offers some great tips about keeping a hot marriage in the middle of monotony. One of her tips is to touch each other every day:
Make a conscious effort to grab his hand, run your hands thru her hair, kiss for a couple of seconds. Set a goal to physically touch his arm when you’re talking, tackle him in a hug in your closet, pat her butt on the way out the door.
Seek personal improvement.
Focus on improving yourself (instead of your spouse or anyone else).
Go back to school. Discover a new hobby or craft. Attend a regular bible study.
Look for ways to improve yourself without expecting your spouse to do it for you.
Your spouse is NOT your source of happiness.
In the early years of our marriage, God was faithful to show me I was looking to my husband to fill the emptiness I felt. My expectations of Dennis were totally and humanly unrealistic.
Kristen candidly states Marriage is hard hard work. We never arrive and kick up our feet and ride the waves of hot monogamy. It takes faithful, committed, selfless habit-forming work in the middle of a boring routine.
What will you do to shake off the little foxes of monotony, boredom and routine that want to spoil your marriage vineyard?
What are some little foxes that want to destroy your marriage?