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.
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.