As a couples therapist, I have an interest in things that have to do with couples. A new movie, Lovers, is about a mature couple that are both having affairs but their own relationship starts to sizzle again. There was a review by Micah Mertes about the movie where he quotes his “twice-divorced” professor who warned him, “in this life you can either be bored or miserable. I recommend boredom.” Mertes tells of his professor teaching him that “passion is stupid.” He goes further, “Sooner or later it fades or, worse, curdles into crisis.” As cynical as this sounds, there is a lot of truth for couples in what his professor told him. But let me turn what was said upside down for you. He talked about it negatively, but crises lead to change, and that is often a good thing for couples.
Many, many committed long-term relationships sink into mediocrity and boredom. This is often true for them sexually as well as relationally. And that can often lead to a crisis. But this is normal (by normal I mean happening to a vast number of couples) and can be seen as a good thing, if the couple can begin to see it that way, if the couple will use the crises to change for good. In the movie (Lovers) the plot twists from the couples each having an affair to them also beginning to have hot relationship with one another. Their relationship is shown as rather dead in the beginning but then change happens. And when things heat up in good ways for a couple, that is pretty powerful. The power of that heating up, that crisis (sometimes called a crucible, see the works of David Schnarch) can force change in the stagnating couple.
So a crisis when you are bored, the process of moving into some “fire” in a relationship, dealing with each other more fully, can all be good things. They are change. Often couples need the help of a couples therapist to get through the difficulties and there are times when they just work hard themselves, change themselves, give up expecting their spouse to be the one to change, and the crucible (the heating pot of change) forms a new, more alive relationship. That’s a good thing. That’s not boring and that’s using the crisis.
You, as a couple, don’t have to wait for boredom or a crisis. You can go for couples therapy if things are going wrong. You can work on the relationship, add adventure to the relationship, talk to one another, or do anything from a whole list of other possibilities to enrich the relationship (take a walk, ask about his/her day, plan a vacation, spend the evening together, set up date nights, go dancing, etc.). Why don’t you start by doing something today?
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