With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought a good theme for this month would be on husband/wife relationships. So to kick that off, here is installment 6 of “How To Have A Good Marriage”. If you haven’t read any of the other posts in the series, here they are in order: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
Don’t Become Boring
One of the most important lessons I learned about marriage came from an ex-boyfriend of mine. I had started dating someone when I was in college and I was completely smitten. As a matter of fact, I was so taken with this fellow that I ended up always deferring to him on decisions such as what to do with our time, what to watch on the TV, what movie to go see, what bar to go to, etc. It was very unlike me but I couldn’t help myself. I was worried that if I didn’t do what he wanted to do he would break up with me.
Well, he did break up with me, and the reason he gave was I was too boring!
I was totally shocked. I mean I am a lot of things, but boring isn’t one of them. But when he explained to me that he wasn’t interested in someone who always wanted to do what he wanted to do, I realized I had become a colorless shell of my formally fabulous self! I hadn’t realized it while it was happening, but once he made things clear it was like a switch went off in my brain. And let me tell you, I was pissed! Mostly at myself for becoming so insipid. So I went out and got my hair cut in a way I had always wanted to but never had the fortitude to do before. The hairdresser cut of almost 18 inches of hair! I went from long blond hair to a sassy bob that was taken directly from the lead singer of Elastica (seen below):
There was something so rock and roll about that haircut, to this day it is still my favorite. After I cut my hair I felt like my former fascinating self again. And might I add that I ended up dating that same guy for almost two years because once I snapped out of it, he became interested in me again! I am telling you, men like women who have passion!
I don’t know about you, but when I went from a confident business woman to a stay at home mother with an infant, I totally lost myself in my new role. Personally, I had a really difficult time with my first, mainly because he was my first! I had never done anything like raise a person before! I always managed to take a shower, but there were weeks when I barely left the house- especially at the beginning. With one last push my world went from reading the newspaper every day, eating at fabulous restaurants, always having time to read books and watch my programs, shop at the drop of a hat, and pretty much lead an awesome existence to a leaky nipples, singing the “ABC’s” 5,000 times a day, knowing all the characters on Dora The Explorer, and never having time to read anything deeper than my beloved People Magazine kinda gal. I had become boring. Again.
The good news is I immediately recognized it and as soon as I could get it together, I put the kabosh on it. I started slowly by getting back into reading the newspaper. Then I would add in a book, or maybe a movie night with my husband. Eventually I got back to a version of my former self. Now I have the good fortune of being married to a man who recognized that his dull wife was only a temporary thing while the kids were young. He never said a word about his boring spouse. And though it took time, I went on to start my own company (unsuccessfully, but at least it wasn’t boring) and now I have my blog to keep things interesting. I have also noticed that the way I use the internet has totally changed since I had my first ten years ago. Can you believe ten years ago we couldn’t record our TV on demand?
Nobody had really heard of blogs?
There was no such thing as Etsy!
It is so much easier to stay up on current events with the wireless routers and wifi and everything! I mean I can take Ella to the park AND shop at the same time! The internet has really helped my stay cognizant of local and world issues, as well as learn random pieces of trivia that I can whip out during dinner. Like just today I learned that the Netherlands sends Canada 20,000 tulip bulbs every year because during WW2, the Canadians hosted the Dutch royal family and this is how they thank Canada for their hospitality. I mean if that isn’t interesting then I don’t know what is! I plan on laying that little tidbit of knowledge on my husband after the kids are in bed.
When you become a mother it is so easy to slip into a monotonous routine of board books and blankies, boob juice and bedtimes. Even the conversation amongst mothers tend to focus on the kids. I mean when was the last time you talked politics with another mother at the playground? Men don’t do this. They can talk about mundane things like sports but I notice they usually end up discussing national events, worldly topics, and they might even converse about a book they recently read! Now I am not suggesting that talking about your kids is dreary or that you should never bring them up. I mean can you imagine going through a whole dinner party and not talking about kids? But you should be able to also talk about things other than painful nipples and poopy diapers.
Most of my dear readers are interested in vintage fashion. Now that is something interesting. Many of my readers are also interesting in cooking. That too is interesting. I have found these topics are not nearly as interesting to my husband as they are to me, but when I use the things I am interested in as a way to further myself and set goals, it becomes much more interesting to him. For example I got really into baking bread about a year ago. I bought the book Local Breads and cooked my way through it. I learned all about yeast, and a slow rise, and how to get a great crust, etc. For those few weeks I was interesting because I was passionate about something and that passion can be energizing to your spouse. As a side note, I haven’t baked bread since then, but it was fun while it lasted!
Staying interesting is important in a marriage because when you are dull, your marriage is dull, and who wants to spend their life in a boring marriage? Of course the same thing can be said of your spouse. He needs to not only talk about his evil boss, or how stressed he is, or how his team is doing. So if you are reading this post and have realized you have become boring, here are some things you can do to try and get out of your rut:
- First of all, if you have a baby that is 6 months or younger you don’t need to worry about this. Having a baby is super hard and the last thing you need to deal with is being interesting.
- Write down everything that either interests you now, or if you can’t think of anything, write down what you used to be passionate about as a child.
- Pick one thing off that list and focus on doing it. Did you used to love to read but haven’t picked up a book in months? Go buy a book, or check one out at the library. And then read it.
- Is there a chore at home you detest but have to do? Think of a way to make it more interesting. For example, if you hate to scrub the toilet, why not make yourself a really cute pair of rubber gloves? This will spark your creative side as well as make cleaning toilets just a little bit more fun. I remember dressing like Cinderella when I had a lot of chores to do. My mom still chuckles at the memory.
- If at all possible, try to get away from your kids for three hours a week (or more!). Maybe you can hire a sitter, or set up a play group, or get your mother to watch the kids. But everyone needs “me” time. Use that time to focus on doing things you love, not as a way to get more chores done.
By taking something you find mundane and making it better and by spending a few hours a week on something you are passionate about, you will become a more interesting person. Then once you start on the path of becoming interesting you will quickly become addicted and pretty soon you will be leading a life full of purpose and passion, and is there anything more desirable in a partner then someone who is really living their purpose in life?