Comfort is one of those relationship double-edged swords.
I think it’s fair to say that we all want to feel comfortable with our spouse/partner—that sense of security that allows you to let your hair down and be real with each other. No pretense or games. Often, feeling comfortable with one another equates to being able to speak your mind, letting your guard down, feeling free to be more “real” rather than adopting a disingenuous persona in order to win the other over (which frequently happens at the beginning of relationships).
As one husband described, “It was such a relief to finally settle into the relationship and be able to relax…I can now truly say to my wife that she’s seen the real me, for good or bad, better or worse.”
Comfort Versus Complacency
A potential problem arises when the desire for relationship comfort enters the slippery slope of relationship complacency. What does this look like?
Complacency arises when you refuse to leave your comfort zone for the sake of your spouse/partner—some couples act as if it’s their unalienable right to always feel comfort and therefore refuse to meet their partner halfway. Usually, what comes out of a partner’s mouth when this occurs is, “No, I don’t feel like it…”
So when your partner initiates sex, you’re more likely to respond with, “I don’t feel like it,” or when you want to break the pattern of sitting home weekend after weekend and suggest a “date night,” your partner’s knee jerk reaction is, “I worked hard all week, I don’t feel like it.”
“I Don’t Feel Like It-itis” is one symptom of relationship complacency—the message here is that you (or your partner) are set on feeling and staying within your comfort zone, and any action that will lead to potential discomfort (like trying something new) is quickly rejected. Such complacency has the potential to do damage to any relationship.
Couples who periodically push themselves out of their comfort zone reap the benefits of mutual sharing, engaging in novel activities and breaking the mundane, unexamined habits that can lead to serious relationship ruts.
Are you ready to enjoy the benefits of discomfort for the sake of your marriage/relationship?
Dr. Rich Nicastro