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.

Marital boredom often leads couples to seek relief from sources outside the relationship. Partners may escape through a greater focus on career, by investing energies in outside organizations, activities, and causes, or by giving telescopic attention to their children. A spouse may seek boredom relief through overeating, impulse buying, alcohol or drug use, pornography, or even an affair.

As Louise and Clark's expedition reached the point of marital boredom, they finally realized they needed some help recovering their pioneer spirit. But where would they begin?

At the same place they began years ago—talking and sharing. That's the bridge to intimacy.

Someone has suggested that intimacy be pronounced into-me-see. Genuine intimacy calls for a deep and personal version of Show-&-Tell. Most couples likely did this during courtship, asking each other questions about their past and current experiences, their hopes and dreams, their likes and dislikes, interests, abilities, opinions, convictions, beliefs, and feelings. But somewhere along the way, the probing questions stopped, replaced by fascinating settlers' questions, such as, "Did you write the check for the car insurance?"

Most married couples become increasingly uncreative in the questions they ask each other. Two factors contribute: (1) We think we already know everything about our spouses. But they, like us, are always changing, their thoughts and emotions drenched anew by experiences, encounters, conversations, readings, observations, and reactions. Our spouses' stories are constantly updated. (2) We've become household managers, with our communication centering around our "home-based business." We discuss personnel issues (children), facilities (house and lawn), accounts payable/receivable (finances), scheduling (soccer games, PTA meetings), and transportation (car pools). Our communication has become functional and concise rather than intimate and free-flowing—even on our date nights.

How can we break out of the rut?

Be an explorer!

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were explorers in the fullest sense of the word. Not merely driving toward a destination, they were traveling researchers, observing and interacting with God's creation throughout their journey. The Corps of Discovery made detailed maps and careful notes on weather and terrain, took soil and mineral samples, and catalogued 178 plants and 122 animals previously unknown to scientists.

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

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