A friend told me the other day that I should see the movie “Hope Springs.” They said it’s about a couple whose children have grown up and moved on and now life is boring or that they are bored with each other.
It doesn’t sound like much fun (although the two main actors, Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones are always a delight to see.)
Somehow this is something I don’t identify with at all. In fact, I often used to tell my husband, Abe, “Couldn’t we sometimes have ‘boring’? It’s true that we did own a basketball and hockey team, we did own a large sports and entertainment company, the Verizon Center, where there were always events. But we didn’t go there every night!
I think it’s just that we never allowed ourselves to get “bored.”
Before we ever owned a basketball team, we instinctively always found activities that we both enjoyed. It could be a movie, a walk on a bike path, an overnight at a nearby hotel …but time that we could spend together. We really did enjoy each other’s company. It could be as simple as sitting in the same room reading our own books. And then, we would tell each other what the book was about. We enjoyed just going out to dinner, either fancy or not so fancy. What was most important was to make time to check on what the other’s day was like.
We loved our children and were very close to them. But we never focused completely on them. We had our activities with them but we also had our own time. I know many couples who, once they have children, completely focus on them and their activities. They stop doing things that are just fun for them, even though they enjoyed each other’s company before they had children. They forget why they got married in the first place. And then, suddenly, they are “bored” with each other.
Maybe my husband and I, consciously or subconsciously, always thought of ways that we could spend time that was fun, interesting, new, different. We didn’t’ do it just so we wouldn’t get bored; we did it because we always wanted to get as much out of life as we could. It doesn’t have to be a trip around the world….it can be taking sandwiches to the park.
More couples should try to remember why they married in the first place and spend time alone together, free of the kids periodically. In the end, the kids benefit when the parents remain together rather than getting divorced because they found someone else. Life doesn’t have to be boring; marriage doesn’t have to be boring. Yes, there are lots of boring tasks one must share with a spouse. But the key is finding the time in-between when it can be fun for just the two of you.