The Curious Thing About Marriage

Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination. —Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher

Remember when you and your spouse were first dating? Every fact you gleaned about this new person was a groundbreaking event.

She likes pesto. Let's call the newspaper!

He knows how to ask "Where are the toilets?" in Mandarin. Let's nominate him for a Nobel Prize!

You spent hours being curious and asking questions to get to know one another. No piece of information was too small or insignificant.

Sadly, as the years go by, curiosity about our spouses typically wanes. Why? Over time we reach a certain level of familiarity and end up believing, consciously or unconsciously, that we know most everything there is to know about our spouse. Although this familiarity can foster comfort and security, it can also lead to the dreaded b-word: boredom.

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it will strengthen your marriage!

In the same way that we need to regularly update our computer software, we need to constantly update our knowledge about our spouse. Since our mate is always growing and changing, we need to maintain the mindset of a lifetime learner: A lifetime isn't long enough to truly get to know someone.

This attitude reminds us of our mate's incredible value. And as Matthew 6:21 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Thus, our heart is captured by what fascinates us. In turn, this sends a powerful message to our spouse: You are valuable, and I want to spend a lifetime in pursuit of knowing you deeply.

Date Night

Sometimes we forget that we need to pursue and woo our mate, like we did when we first met. Act like you're trying to get a second date! Dress up. Be polite. Turn off the cell phone. Compliment each other. Be affectionate. And protect your date night from conflict! If an argument erupts, agree to talk about the issue at a later time.

Step 1: Be fun and be curious

Pick another fun place to go from the list of suggestions in Date Night #1. As you're driving or eating, ask questions like the ones below. Don't feel as if you need to answer all of the questions; instead, use them as a way to update your knowledge or learn something new about your spouse.

  1. What are your top five favorite movies of all time?
  2. What's your favorite part of church? Praise and worship? The message? Sunday school class or small group? Catching up with fellow believers?
  3. What are your three favorite restaurants and your favorite menu items at each?
  4. If you could have any super hero power, what would it be? Why?
  5. What would be your dream vacation with me? Describe in detail where we would go and what we would do.
  6. Where or when do you feel the closest to God? Why is it so meaningful to you?
  7. What's on your "bucket list"? Is there anything you strongly desire to accomplish before you die?
  8. What has been your most positive or life-changing spiritual experience?
  9. Which couple that we know seems to have the best marriage? What is it about their relationship that stands out to you?
  10. In what ways would you like me to romance you?
  11. If you had to change your profession and do something completely different, what career would you choose?
  12. How would you describe your dream house? (Location, architecture style, square footage, floors, bedrooms, amenities, décor, the yard, etc.)
  13. If we could live anywhere, where would it be? Why?
  14. What is your ideal date night or favorite date-night activity?
  15. In our marriage, what do I do that helps you to feel loved?

Step 2: Relax and unwind

After your activity, find a quiet place for dessert and/or coffee to slow down and emotionally connect over good conversation. Ask the following three questions, being sure to keep your responses positive, encouraging and uplifting.

  • What was your favorite part of our time together?
  • What's one thing you learned about me that you didn't know before?
  • How can we make sure that laughing and playing together are a regular part of our marriage?

Step 3: Home sweet home

As you drive home, spend time planning your next date. Remember, be intentional about investing in your marriage – there's no cruise control setting. Once you get home, however, it's up to you what happens next. Have a great final adventure!

  • Develop a lifetime learner motto: A lifetime isn't enough time to truly know my spouse.
  • Get in the habit of regularly asking your spouse personal questions when you're driving or sitting idly somewhere. Use this precious time wisely.
  • Periodically ask your spouse what he or she needs from you now (in this season of life) to feel loved.
  • Hang on your spouse's every word, especially when he or she is giving new information. Strive to become a better listener.
  • At the dinner table, ask your spouse what were the best and worst parts of his or her day.
  • Before you fall asleep, briefly relive the events of the day while you lie next to each other.
  • Ask each other to fill in the statement: "I feel loved and cared for when you . . ."

© 2012 Focus on the Family.