‘I picked up one of the magazines, ‘How to Save Your Marriage by Having an Open Marriage.’: Woman shares 7 reasons why ‘boring marriages are beautiful’

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“My friends and I stood in the checkout line where our eyes were assailed with various tips about ways to spice up relationships. Headlines like, ‘9 Types of Sex to Reignite Your Marriage,’ or ‘How to Save Your Marriage by Having an Open Marriage.’ I picked up one of the magazines, belly-laughing over one of the tips. In fact, I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants (as all mothers do). Perplexed by my behavior, my friends asked what was so funny about the headlines.

‘Thank God my marriage is so boring and ordinary,’ I said, between fits of laughter. I was officially obligated to explain to my them how I managed to be married for 20 years. ‘What is so great about a boring marriage?’ they asked. I imagine you may be asking yourself the same question.

Boring is beautiful. Boring is ordinary. While my husband hasn’t chased me down in an airport to profess his undying love for me, or shown up at my door in a limo prepared to fly me away from reality, he has walked with me hand in hand thousands of times around the sun. He’s gone to Wal-Mart at midnight for milk. He’s helped clean up puke and put money into savings instead towards his dream boat.

Chris and I met in high school. We sat next to each other in home economics and started dating when I was 15. We got married two weeks after my 18th birthday, and it still feels like it was yesterday. We work 8 to 5, raise three kids together, talk about what we’re planning for dinner or if we’re going to meet at the gym. Once we get through the typical night of dinner, kids, chores, and the bedtime routine, we find ourselves going for a walk talking about anything and everything.

Courtesy of Heather Riggleman
Courtesy of Heather Riggleman

This boring, unremarkable love spends Friday nights at one of three places in our small-town community, dancing to an indie band, watching movies with our kids, or eating sushi at one of our favorite places. It’s always one of the three, or sometimes all three. Whether I’m dressed to the nines in a little black dress or wearing a sports bra with no makeup, I won’t find myself crying, hurt, or insecure because I don’t have to worry catching his eyes traveling over another woman’s body. Sadly enough, many couples who end their marriage do so because one of the partners ‘got bored.’

Our culture is saturated with the message marriages need to spiced up, kinky, or full of drama. Watch any movie with a relationship plot. We’re force fed to believe unless our relationships are filled with action, intense passion, and drama, like the movies Titanic, 27 Dresses, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, etc., then we must do something to save it before it ends in divorce. Or maybe you feel stuck in a boring marriage. The mundane day in and day out eats at you, and you aren’t sure what to do about it. When your marriage hits the boredom rut, remember to keep choosing your spouse, keep turning to him. Why? Because Christ sees you. He knows you and He keeps choosing you.

Maybe you got caught in in the big moments of dating, the wedding day, the honeymoon, buying the new home, and having your first child. These moments are fresh in our memories and we base our future from them. It’s easy to get swept up in the feelings and memories, but Paul reminds us of our identity. We were not just chosen by our spouse—we were chosen by God first. He loved us first. Marriage isn’t about the big moments, but the moments in between—the day to day. It’s the boring moments in between which make or break a marriage. It boils down to perspective.

Courtesy of Heather Riggleman

Here are seven reasons why boring marriages are beautiful:

1. There’s Always an Opportunity to Serve. Nowhere in the vows do I recall saying yes to 18 loads of laundry and scrubbing toilets, nor do I recall saying yes to the pain of bearing my husband’s children, much less the chore of changing diapers. And I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember saying yes to cooking meals, grocery shopping, or fixing the vacuum when he’s had a long day. But that’s the great thing about boring marriages—there’s nothing sexy about chores unless you’re doing them together, because you’re doing it for each other. It’s the most ordinary but powerful way to say you love your spouse.

2. Security. How great is it that you don’t have to worry about piling on makeup or making sure you have enough money for reservations at a five-star restaurant? Most people marry for love, but ultimately because they feel accepted and secure. Security in a marriage means your spouse feels like home. You know every nook and cranny of their personality, which creaky floorboards to avoid and how to keep the thermostat at a comfortable temperature. Consider the fact the Bible is full of marriages which were less than secure (King David and his wife Michal, Bathsheba, Abigail plus a few concubines. Hosea was instructed by God to marry Gomer, a prostitute. Then there’s Esther. She had to gamble with her life just to make an announced appearance before her king and husband). Security is a blessing.

3. Contentment. There’s a myth contentment breeds complacency. Quite the contrary in marriage. Contentment breeds satisfaction. The steadiness of a boring marriage invites both partners to create clear expectations, as well as steady ground, to grow together in those expectations. We aren’t chasing after people, places, things, degrees or other accolades. Give me flag football practice and Excel sheets planning our future, instead of a whirlwind of courtships and high-drama movie endings. Give me slow and steady. Give me Saturday projects and Sunday mornings dressed in our best.

Courtesy of Heather Riggleman

4. Stability. I was so excited to find my orchid budding, I texted a picture to my husband. It took months of slow and steady nurturing to get it to grow. Unlike other plants, which seem to bloom overnight or grow quickly for a season, orchids thrive in stable care. Marriages are like orchids. They need a good temperature, nurturing, plenty of water, and sunlight. It takes stability! A stable marriage has been known to improve your sleep, your health, lower stress levels, create less issues with mental health, and increase the longevity of your life. No one gets married hoping to have a rocky marriage, where the day to day routine is unpredictable, whether or not vows will be honored, or whether or not their spouse really loves them. Stability translates to routine, and this allows room for growth, individually and separately.

5. Sensitivity. Brené Brown once said, ‘What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.’ The ability to be vulnerable is often the bedrock of marriage. Ordinary moments allow for growth and a chance for couples to connect and be vulnerable. Opening your heart and sharing your tender places with your spouse creates real intimacy and connection. It removes uncertainty and secrets. A boring marriage is the most natural place to share your true and deep feelings.

Courtesy of Heather Riggleman

6. The Sex is Better. One evening, I handed the keys of my Traverse to my husband. He couldn’t get it to start and was perplexed. Immediately, I knew what was wrong and helped him. ‘Oh, you have to jiggle the key up a notch and turn the steering wheel all the way to the right.’ Familiarity is very much a strength, regardless of what our society tells us. We are well acquainted with our spouse’s body. We know it like our own skin. This knowledge has power. The deeper knowledge we have about our partners when it comes to intimacy, the better we can stimulate them on a sensual, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual level.

7. Friendship. A recent study says you should marry your best friend, because you will be happier. The research, which comes from the National Bureau of Economic Research in Canada, used data from the Gallup World Poll, the British Household Panel Survey, and the United Kingdom’s Annual Population. Researchers found those who considered their spouse their best friend had higher levels of joy. If I have big news, whether it’s about something that happened at work or I need help deciding which pair of new boots I want to buy—I don’t FaceTime my closest girlfriend Lizzie, I call my husband.

Courtesy of Heather Riggleman

He’s my best friend. He knows what clothes look good on me, or what makes me feel better when I’m sick. He can finish my sentences. He knows, simply by looking at me across a crowded dinner party, when it’s time for him to make an excuse so we can say goodnight. He knows what words are forbidden from our household because the sound of them irritates me. We have inside jokes no one gets but will send each other into fits of laughter. I know everything about him, too. We know everything about each other, likes, dislikes, and it creates a platonic relationship where joy is found.”

Courtesy of Heather Riggleman

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Heather Riggleman. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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