Editor's note: This article originally appeared at Hearts at Home on Sep. 26, 2011. Used with permission.

A recent study by marriage researcher Paul Amato, determined that up to 60 percent of divorces in the United States stem from “low-conflict” marriage.  There’s no abuse, no addiction, no infidelity, and no major debt.  ”Instead,” according to Heidi Stevens of the Chicago Tribune, these divorces happen because of “a slow erosion toward cohabitating strangerdom.  Basically we stop paying attention to each other.”

That is the foundation for today’s Marriage Monday: The Danger of Mediocrity.

Mark says…

After 28 years of marriage, Jill and I are quite predictable in our daily routines.  I know that Jill will get up in the morning and exercise.  I know she likes a cup of Good Earth tea sometime in her day.  I also know that she’ll read a couple of chapters in a book in bed before she turns out the light on her side of the bed.

Jill says…

I know that as soon as Mark’s feet hit the floor in the morning, he’ll head to the coffee pot. I can sense when he’s getting overwhelmed with too much on his “to do” list.  And I know that every night he says he’ll read in bed, but he’s usually asleep before finishing a page.

Mark says…

The daily routines give us security, but they also lend themselves to making our relationship quite predictable and even boring.

Jill says…

If we aren’t aware of this, we’ll lull ourselves right into mediocrity.  We know what the other person will say or do, so we just depend on that and without realizing it, we stop investigating the world together.

Mark says…

I’m an adventurer and Jill is quite happy in a secure, predictable environment.  What’s a couple to do when they seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum?

Jill says…

We’ve come to understand the importance of meeting in the middle.  Mark has learned to value being home and enjoying time together.  And I’ve learned to be a little more of an adventurer.

Mark says…

Take motorcycle riding for example.  I enjoy riding my motorcycle.  Initially Jill wasn’t very interested in riding.

Jill says…

While I don’t care for riding in the city or on the interstate, I’ve learned that I enjoy going for a motorcycle ride in the country.

Mark says…

So, we’re venturing out on some country rides to “change things up” in our marriage.  We’re exploring a new activity with the intention of staying away from becoming “cohabitating strangers.”

Jill says…

Every marriage needs a shot of “new” to keep the relationship growing and fresh.  New doesn’t have to cost money…it just needs to be a change in routine, a new hobby to explore, or a tweak in how you do things.

Mark says…

One couple we know started turning off the television two nights a week and started playing a board game instead.  Another couple began making dinner together trying a new recipe two or three times a week.  Other friends of ours started the hobby of making wine together.

It’s not really important WHAT you do….it’s more important THAT you do something! This keeps us investing in our marriage, deepening our intimacy, and staying away from a mediocre relationship.

What about you?  How have you tried to “change things up” in your marriage?

Jill Savage is the founder and CEO of Hearts at Home, an organization for moms.  Jill is a sought after speaker and the author of 8 books including Real Moms…Real Jesus and My Heart’s at Home. Jill and her husband Mark are the parents of five children, four biological and one adopted. The Savage’s make their home in Normal, Illinois.

Publication date: August 6, 2012