Travels with Louise and Clark

No, that's not a typo. But with a nod to the 200th anniversary of the famous expedition, here's how you can keep your marriage adventure on the move.

In June of 1803, Meriwether Lewis wrote to William Clark: "My friend … If there is anything in this enterprise [that] would induce you to participate with me in its fatigues, its dangers, and its honors, believe me there is no man on earth with whom I should feel equal pleasure in sharing them as with yourself."

It wasn't a proposal of marriage, of course, but an invitation to a life-changing, history-making adventure. Clark consented and after thorough preparations, the Lewis and Clark Expedition launched up the Missouri River in search of a continuous river pathway to the Pacific. Their odyssey spanned a continent as they explored the ever-changing terrain of a new nation ….

Fast forward to 1983, and meet Louise and Clark. (Get it?)

They were wed in October at Louise's home church in North Carolina, and their "expedition" began right away. Not content to remain in one location, their honeymoon was a virtual bed-and-breakfast-inn tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway. They hiked a stretch of the Appalachian Trail and rafted the Nantahala River.

Louise and Clark launched their marriage as explorers, open to adventure and a variety of new experiences. They communicated freely, with genuine interest in each other. Then somewhere along the way they traded in their explorer's pack for a settler's porch—and their marriage suffered as a result. Instead of continuing to explore the ever-changing landscape of their own personal worlds, each other's life, and their relationship, these co-captains of a promised adventure found safe but bland territory in which to settle.

Bored settlers?

In fairness, there are certainly some advantages to being a settler. There's something to be said for the security derived from familiarity and routines. But after years of singing Home on the Range, Louise and Clark transformed their tranquil tune into a lullaby that was rocking their marriage to sleep.

A predator stole into their comfortable camp—a sneaky menace named Boredom. In their book When Bad Things Happen to Good Marriages, Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott insist that boredom is one of the greatest threats to an otherwise healthy marriage. Many marriages are suffering not from the emotional bruises of conflict but from the numbing effects of boredom.

Marital boredom is the result of routines and repetition, a side effect of flying the marriage on autopilot. Consistency may bring security, but it may also shut off the supply of variety and spontaneity. Marital boredom causes a couple to look across the supper table and to be unable to think of anything fertile to talk about. It makes a spouse instinctively grab the TV remote when he has a free evening. Marital boredom happens upon a weekend of wide-open possibilities, but causes couples to retreat into separate busyness or separate inactivity because they've forgotten how to play together.

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Adventure; Boredom; Marriage
Today's Christian Woman, Summer, 2003
Posted September 30, 2008

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