Most people, when they get married, tend to relax and start loafing around in their new found status because they are of the opinion that getting married is the ultimate achievement. Getting married is an achievement really, but not the ultimate achievement in itself. The ultimate achievement is the success of that marriage. And to really achieve success in any marriage there has to be an intentional investment of effort and energy into one’s marriage on a consistent basis to make it work or else it would crumble right under our nose.
To be complacent is to be uncritically satisfied with oneself or one’s achievement often without awareness of some potential danger or defect. Most times, couples quickly get to the point where they take each other for granted, stop working on themselves individually to get better, stop investing into each other and begin swopping the relevance of their marriages for other mundane things. This makes relationships to quickly become routine and eventually lead to the point where couples are said to be complacent in their relationship. Marital complacency is subtle in nature because often times, couples don’t realise the crack or problem until the damage has been done, most times half-way or far beyond that.
Unfortunately, most married people will just overlook this issue because they assume their partners know how they feel about them or that they know their partners more than he or she does but the truth is, the person you thought you knew months or years back has evolved into another person entirely because he or she has not been nurtured and attended to. In all honesty, when you get to this point, it simply shows one of the early warning signs of a marriage in trouble. Marital complacency is a sneaky little problem so never you assume that you and your spouse know each other so well that you don’t need to work on your relationship.
Let us look at some areas to watch out for in order to avoid trouble in your marriage through complacency.
When there is a hurricane, the big trees are uprooted by the force of the wind because they are too rigid to withstand the toughness of the wind and are easily uprooted but the grasses survive due to flexibility. It’s sad when couples have various ideas on how to make more money and have a wow standard of living but know next to nothing on how to beat down rigidity in marriages. When you tone down your rigid nature in marriage, it means at each point, either of you is indulging one another which eventually beats down complacency. Stop that nasty attitude of he-knew-I-was-this-way-before-he-married-me and vice versa. Avoid being complacent because you are married and develop yourself. If you pick nose for example, and your spouse isn’t comfortable with it, discipline yourself to change and improve. Avoiding rigidity makes your marriage more interesting and not boring on daily basis. Besides compromising to indulge each other, don’t be satisfied with your ways of doing things and happenings in your marriage; no matter how good and mundane things seem to be, there will always be new way of doing the same thing to make it better for each other in and out of the home. Introduce surprises! For example, if as a woman, your hubby likes taking eba, do you believe you can go as far as trying your hand on a new way to make it even though it looks so simple? Do you know when you turn the gari while the water is still boiling on your burner makes it come out fluffier than when done the normal way? How about the man bringing sparks into the sexual life? How about having new challenges thrown into your relationships like either of you going for a course or training or even offering to be one of the volunteer workers in any of your local religious assembly? It’s always very good when two love birds have new things to struggle over because it has introduced a practically new dimension and focus into their relationship. Don’t be closed up with the way your parents were doing it, rather be open to try out new ways.
Don’t be lazy!
Like I earlier mentioned above, a successful marriage is an on-going institution that is constantly being fueled with efforts to make it better. Lazy people who don’t want to lift a finger to work on their relationships stand little or no chance of making it. Marriage is like a living thing that needs to be fed to grow, and grow it must! When you get married, how determined are you at working on some of the things that were issues while courting? For example, if your husband is the dapper kind of a dresser and you are the shabby type, now that he has married you eventually, do you feel that is where it all ends? What are you doing to upgrade your dress sense? Are you going out of your way to ask him questions ahead of time about your combination if you are preparing for an outing? Do you talk to people who are more knowledgeable in fashion? Are you that observant in paying close attention whenever he remarks about the dressing of any presenter on the television? Are you even ready to go as far as browsing the internet to get fashion ideas to impress him? Don’t be surprised that issues as little as this turn couples hearts away from each other.
On the other way round, if you are a guy that is given to restlessness and you don’t notice when your wife is sad or happy; are you ready to consciously step up your game by training yourself to have self control? Are you making effort to cool down, watch the moods before you throw in your ideas? Are you ready to be hard working enough to study moods before making a major request or before calling for her own idea on a very important decision that is meant to affect the entire family? All these and more take really hard work and successful relationship is work in itself.
Equally, don’t settle for complacency and avoid arguments and run-ins with your partner whenever the need arises, accepting a relationship that’s in second gear. It’s not a good choice. It shows you’ve probably put your relationship last, shy away from risk of communicating your needs or asking your spouse what his or her needs are. Inattention to little details in relationship can encourage a partner to turn away.
Guide against the ‘know-all” syndrome
Most of the time, married people plunge into delusion that because of marriage, they automatically know each other fully. I used to walk in that deception too. Let me say at this point that it’s only the creator that has the capacity to know anyone absolutely not even yourself! Most of the time when we think we know each other totally, it’s because we have not pressed the wrong button. When we cross the line and press the wrong buttons especially in the most sensitive and cherished aspect, then we see an entirely different individual. This is the reason why so many people complain that their partners have changed or got influenced. When we keep basking in that illusion, what we are saying is that our spouse is static, limited and has no capacity to change, grow and evolve into a better person so you have got to keep exploring each other. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying you can’t understand each other but your understanding is still limited per time to the occurrences or situations you have both been exposed to in your relationship and life in general. For example, what happens when the guy experiences mid-life crisis and nothing makes meaning to him? He evolves into an entirely different person you were used to and that could be a bit challenging. When we keep going on in this syndrome, it shows we are easily heading for complacency because of inability to challenge the status quo in our partners by exploring him or her. Another twist to this lie is that it gives us a sense of satisfaction and we never wanted to go extra mile to make things work out better. You know your hubby too well that he can’t cheat on you so you don’t dress well. Some guys equally know their wives very well because they were virgins when they got married and they are so sure no other guys could turn them on so they start getting bored on bed. Some even go as far as taking their wives for granted because of their gentle and reserved nature so they embarrass them in the public and so on. Hey, that’s dangerous!
Get out of your comfort zone and revive your dull and dragging relationship.
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Editors note – Reality With Toyin Idowu is available every Thursday on Expressng.com