It's the trend these days to assume everything worthy must be eternally interesting and exciting. After all, we're always rushing off to the latest concert or buying the latest clothes or gadget. It's only natural, I suppose, to fall into believing that relationships should go the same way.
Unfortunately, the only way to have constant excitement in a relationship is to be permanently turning the people over. Which is not a good idea for any number of reasons: It's hard to find decent new people easily, the 'others' mostly end up hurt, and the connection we all crave as humans gets overrun by the 'novelty of new' to name a few. I don't recommend you go that way. Which leaves us with some constant people in our life, whether family, friends or partner.
As far as I can figure it, all relationships have three elements to them: fun, conflict – and normalcy. Fun we know and understand and crave – that's whatever creates the special moments. Conflict is in there too, because any relationship has at least two people with at least ocassionally different ideas and opinions. And finally, there are the normal parts. Or, what we might label 'boring.' You know, the routine things you almost expect to do when you've hung out with someone for a length of time. Going to the same pub every Friday night, sitting in the same place at the same cafe, or watching the same shows every evening – whatever it is that becomes your standard behaviour – are examples of this.
Many of us come to hate this routine part of things. Consider how many relationships break up as soon as the 'excitement' wears off! In some ways it's about as interesting as watching paint dry. Yet this ordinary part of a relationship is really important. Here are three reasons that all relationships need some boring:
1. It breaks up the tension
In this era of 'busy busy busy' it's tempting to think we can run at 100% all the time without cost. We can't. Our bodies are simply not designed to live with permanent stress. We're made to cope well with ocassional excitement and then drop back to a normal level of functioning. This allows our bodies and minds to recover and be ready for the next onslaught. Chronic stress from regularly high tension levels is literally making us sick as a generation. Fun is high tension with a positive spin – the only difference between it and the bad stuff is how you interpret it! Conflict is also high tension. The ordinary parts of a relationship give your body a break from that. They make you healthy!
2. It's a base to measure the other parts
If you only ever had either excitement or conflict in your relationships, you'd never know where things stood between you. This middle ground experience helps you define normal. How much fun you have versus how much ordinary versus how much tension is the way you can know how healthy this relationship really is. The 'boring' (it's really just 'ordinary') part is what you interpret the other two off.
Taking a reading helps you know how safe and healthy a particular relationship is, and also what kind of effort should be put in at this point. If there's too much ordinary you might want to consider something fun. But if there's been a heap of excitement or tension lately, head to the middle ground for some balance. There are times when ordinary's good!
3. It gives you the security to build other adventures off
When 'all's quiet on the western front' you have the best shot at taking on a new job, challenge or venture and doing well. Every change takes time and energy, so if you have a good relational base you can probably pay less attention to it for a while (not long term!) and still be supported. You can focus your efforts somewhere else and have a better chance of success, without needing to switch your attention and energy backwards and forwards so drastically. I can't think of too many situations where someone got to have a big adventure or kick some real life goals in the middle of a relationship bust up or someone important to them dying. The good, healthy base of a steady relationship is a boost in other parts of your life and a great platform to launch off.
So now you know why I think all healthy relationships need some boring bits in, I hope you appreciate the ordinary people in your life more. Next time you see your sister/friend/partner who's been around for a while, look at them in a new light and tell them how much you value them!
Have a great week. It's nice having you around here too.