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Archenemy #1 – Complacency

We’re all familiar with the “honeymoon phase” that couples go through.  Everything is new and exciting.  Both partners are in an exploration mode as they go through the process of adapting to the other.  Everyday brings new learning and surprises creating a culture of excitement.

But after a while, that all changes.  The learning ends, the surprises diminish.  We start finishing each other’s sentences and anticipate (with uncanny accuracy) each other’s reactions.  Call it complacency, predictability or routine.  I call it the antithesis of shocking marriage.

I was meeting with a friend the other day.  He was going on about his marriage and some of his frustrations.  “I hate it when she does ______”.  Or, “She always ________”.  I began to ask him about some of these specific situations, and they played out almost like a script.  First he would do something, then she would react in a given manner, which caused him to respond in a certain way, etc. etc. etc.  The problem is, they play out this routine on a frequent and ongoing basis.  While her responses were driving him crazy, it was his predictability that was leading her there.  “When was the last time you brought her flowers for no reason?”, I asked him.  I was met with a blank stare.  He assured me that he buys her flowers on their anniversary and on her birthday, but admitted it had been a long time since he’d bought them unexpectedly.  I asked him what her response would be if he did so.  He admitted that he had no idea… which is exactly my point.

Routine leads to further routine which leads to boredom which expresses itself in the form of frustration and discontent.  Shake it up a little.  Bring home flowers for no reason (other than to express your love).  If you always make baked chicken on Tuesday night, try making pasta instead.  Comfort is a wonderful thing between couples.  But carried to an extreme, it becomes complacency and that is a destructive force in marriage.

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