Dear Dr. Jory,
I attended your presentation at the Zona Rosa Book Festival in Savannah last month, and you said something like “couples fight over sex, money, and kids, but those aren’t the most common problems couples have.” What is the most common problem? I’ve been going crazy trying to figure it out.
Signed, Curious to Know
The most common problem couples have is that they’re boring one another to death! And it’s so common they don’t even realize they’re doing it.
Brand-new, shiny relationships are sensual and stimulating, intriguing and attractive. When we become a couple, we make commitments to add security and stability, which is good and necessary. But most couples go too far in the direction of security and make their interactions safe and habitual. They take one another for granted and settle down to hibernate.
It’s a slow death when your relationship goes on cruise control and you’re falling asleep at the wheel. Warning: the crash can come fairly quick.
Here are two suggestions to wake up your love life:
- Notice something about your partner that you’ve never noticed before. Make sure it’s something positive and attractive. Make up your mind to pay attention to new and interesting things in your partner. Tell them what you notice and see what happens.
- Ask your partner a question you’ve never asked before. Make it something worth asking, something you’ve always wondered but were afraid to ask. Then listen. Don’t give up if you get blown off at first—rattle the cage a little. Always be sure that those you love know you care and are interested in them.
If you get it right, these suggestions will make a difference. Trust me on this one.
— Dr. Jory
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About Brian Jory, Ph.D.
Brian Jory is the Director of the Family Studies Program at Berry College, near Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and has dedicated his career to counseling couples, teaching about intimacy, researching relationships.
He is the author of “Cupid on Trial – What We Learn About Love When Loving Gets Tough,” and has been featured on numerous television shows, blogs, and podcasts including Bustle, Romper, Elite Daily, NBC, PBS, and Good Sex, Bad Sex.