Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Insidious Gamekiller - Complacency


Scenario - It's Tuesday night. It's not your anniversary, nothing special happened today, it's just the night of the day of the week sandwiched between a Monday and a Wednesday. You and the S.O. got up, went to work, came home, had chicken for dinner, watched TV and climbed into bed. Just another Tuesday night. Or is it?

I was sitting in on one of Dr. Jayme's group counseling sessions for long-term committed (over 3 years) and married couples. What do you think the one thing they ALL agreed upon as a lurking problem in their relationships? Complacency, boredom and taking each other for granted.

The men complained (a lot) that their women had tucked away the Vicki's only to be brought out on special occasions and the women complained (a lot) that the men didn't pay the same amount of attention to them as they did in the beginning of the relationship. There was also a lot of swirl about housework.

I remember one guy saying, "I finally told her I wasn't going to spend one more Tuesday night watching back to back NCIS. Enough was enough!" The wife said, "It was the only time we spent time together - in front of the TV. At least I knew he'd talk to me during the commercial break." Le Ouch!

Jayme calls it Moldy Marriage Syndrome. When a couple has let the relationship go so stale, it turns into something other than what it originally was.

Happens in short term relationships too. Everyone wants to get to the point in a relationship where you just sit on the sofa and chill but no one wants to get there too fast or sit there forever. The chase can't last forever. It's not always going to be excitement and fireworks. Relationships fall into a rhythm and apparently it's easy to just glide along and eventually take each other for granted. Moldy. One day it's not there, the next day there it is.

It's one thing to be consistent, a whole other to get lazy. Now let's be real for a second. Fellas, your lady isn't coming to bed smelling like a field of flowers and looking like a Victoria's Secret model every night. She's just not. Sometimes she's gonna wear the 10-year old t-shirt, head wrap and smell like Icy Hot. Lo siento mucho, papi - some nights it's Brazilian babe, some nights it's Beulah Mae. Deal with it.

Ladies, your man isn't going to hang on every word. They just aren't wired that way. It doesn't mean he's not listening. It just means that each and every word you speak isn't a precious pearl wrapped in platinum that he must treasure. Sure, he seemed to think so when you first got together but um... he's got you know. Let a brother listen to Sportscenter in peace.

The Impressions had a song back in the day, the lyrics went "Same thing it took, to get your baby hooked, gonna take the same thing, to keep her." Um-hmm. Sho nuff.

What's my point? Every once and a while, Ladies and Gents; you might wanna treat Tuesday night like New Year's Eve. Candlelight, special dinner, adult beverage, saran-wrap-and-chocolate-syrup fun time... you know what? You can figure it out.

BougieLand - who's feeling me on this one? Who has seen complacency creep into a relationship? Who has suggestions for how to shake it up?  Keep it fresh? Thoughts, insights, comments? The  floor is yours.

67 comments:

Penny said...

How timely. A close male relative recently came home and found his wife and children gone. She took almost everything in the house, including the furniture. According to him, he was blindsided-he'd done nothing wrong. Of course, this is only one (meaning his) side of the story, but as a woman, I can't help wondering how many times did his wife try to communicate what she was feeling about the troubles in their marriage, and he ignored it. Now he is sitting in a practically empty house, alone and lonely, wondering if he will ever get his life back on track.. He actually said to me that it would be nice to have a romantic dinner with your wife on a Tuesday night. I wonder if he thought about his wife like that before she left.

Lady4Real said...

"On and on it seems to go that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone."

Lady4Real said...

I was married for five years to my ex-husband and by month 3 it was over. I had to beg and plead for him to 'mac' me. I pride myself that I was raised by my dad and my brothers so I don't play to many female mind games, if I want something I say what I want, exactly how I want it and when I would like to have it so he never had to wonder what I wanted, yet I stayed neglected and beyond thristy, I think I was dieing from dehydration. Year one came and went with nothing to rave about, then 2,3,and 4 rolled by just the same. I tried counseling, books, movies, you name it I think I tried it and yet no spark, sizzle or even a puff of smoke. I felt like he did what it took to get me and once he got me thats all she wrote, "I gotcha now." Well since he felt like he 'got me now' and didn't have to try anymore I got to gettin' on.

I moved on and married my oldest sons dad who has always been my best friend and now I'm showered everyday with attention, some days he is all over me some days we just sit and watch Netflix or OnDemand but he knows how to 'mac' me and I don't feel like he will ever stop. For 13 years he has always made my day brigther, as a friend and as a lover and I plan on keeping the spark, sizzle and steam until the day we leave this earth. The same things I learned to do in my failed marriage I do now and it helps us to thrive, I read, watch movies or seminars, and have people I can turn to for counseling because love and marriage take work and we are more than willing to put in the work.

rozb said...

This is beautiful!

CaliGirlED said...

"It just means that each and every word you speak isn't a precious pearl wrapped in platinum that he must treasure."...Yeah Chele sometimes we just need to shut the hell up!

Complacency is bad in life period! Continuous Improvement has become one of my life's mottoes.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Oh boy, man hve I seen this up close and personal. Had a relationship fall apart because of complacency (first on my part, then on his), and almost had my current relationship fall apart due to it (on his part). It is a slow killer, and you have to be on guard against it. I also believe that you need to deal with the other "small foxes" that ruin your relationship vine of love. Stress, frustration, resentment - all of these lead to being complacent because they steal your motivation to keep things interesting and new in your relationship.

For me, battling complacency starts with a decision to choose my partner, to make up my mind to be with him regardless of other options. Then, it's about making him feel special regularly, not taking my outside frustrations out on him, and about being the best me so that he is still with the person he was first attracted to.

tiffanyinhouston said...

"Joni Mitchell never lied...."

Lady4Real said...

I love you Tiffany!!!

The_A said...

We just attended a 5LoveLanguages.com couples seminar that gave out so many great tips we can do everyday to avoid that "Moldy Marriage Syndrome" (lol)

My favorite was that at the end of each day, you each tell 3 things that happened to you while you were away from each other - whatever you want to share big or small- & say how each thing made you feel.

You learn so much about random things & it keep you intimately connected w your snookums mood. It doesn't take long but it forces the talker to shut up & listen (uh, why is you looking @ me? pssh!) the listener to speak up & share their thoughts - after sports center

GrownAzzMan said...

You hit this one out of the park Chele. Complacency is the enemy of us all on so many levels.

MrsT said...

Whew, this is definitely a needed reminder, you are so right complacency is the mortal enemy of a happy marriage. And what do you know, its Tuesday, channelling my inner-Brazilian girl tonight.

rozb said...

I think when you get complacent about yourself, the rest unfortunately follows. It happens. Work projects are always looming, if you have kids, their needs are always a priority, and everything comes before you. The next thing you know the heels aren't so high, the outfits aren't so fly, and the hair and makeup is...meh. I went through this while going to college and working full time with both.

The ironic thing about me right now is that wedding planning is getting in the way. We get so caught up in the event that we neglect why we are having it in the first place. That is why we make sure we hang out with each other and spend time talking about stuff other than the wedding, or family issues, or finances. It doesn't take much to get silly with each other and just bask in the glow for a while. This way, you're not sitting on the couch looking at him wondering why he's breathing like that, or why is his head shaped that way. And he isn't looking at you, just saying in his head "Why?"...period.

Mr. Skyywalker said...

So I'm the only one who wants to hear about the saran wrap and chocolate syrup?
*side-eye to all of BnB on way out of door*

Deb B said...

This is what killed my marriage. We both got way (way, way) too lazy about the relationship and it died a particularly sad death.

thinklikeRiley said...

Riley can be many things but bored ain't one of 'em.

Queen of Me said...

What's bad is when you meet someone who wants to sit on the sofa from date one. Womp-womp-womp. No, I don't want to sit and watch you play Nintendo, ninja please!

blackprofessor said...

Awesome story! Thanks for sharing.

JaymeC said...

Top three relationship woes I hear: Money, Sex, Boredom/Complacency and of these three the boredom thing is the hardest to overcome. Once that "gibbadamness" (classic Chele word) is gone, it's hard to get it back. You basically have to get both parties to fall in love all over again. And as we all know, it's hard enough the first time.

Lady4Real said...

*raises hand and ask for instructions, trips Skyy as a distraction and runs out door to hubby*

OneChele said...

Something about those Tuesday nights!

OneChele said...

I must admit this one is tough for me. I believe myself to be relatively witty and conversation is my life blood so it was tough for me to learn to just be quiet. Be in the moment and not fill every space with conversation. For the record, men really hate the question "What are you thinking about?"

tiffanyinhouston said...

I've had to read this post several times and go away and come back because complacency is one of my hugest fears about marriage. It's also thr reason that I only want one child because I've heard about so many marriages that go into permanent stall once folks start having a gang of kids. I look at my BIL and SIL and their lives REVOLVE around their two sons. They have the children scheduled to the hilt and they rarely go out solo even though their children are 13 and 11 now. Coupled with the fact that my BIL essentially married my SIL because she got pregnant, it's painfully obvious that he's biding his time until the kids get 18. Wouldn't surprise anymore if he got divorced as soon as they get out of high school.

OneChele said...

*stands up* Hello, my name is Michele and I had an ulcer at age 27 because I held every thought, resentment and sentiment inside. I didn't want to be the nagging time so I just held it all in... until I erupted. So Not Healthy. As you may have noticed, I've cured myself of tongue-biting-itis. If I think it and it's important, I'm going to say it (after Sportscenter). Silence can be a relationship killer too.

William Martin said...

This is why you rock: Ladies, your man isn't going to hang on every word. They just aren't wired that way. It doesn't mean he's not listening. It just means that each and every word you speak isn't a precious pearl wrapped in platinum that he must treasure.

Had to stand up and raise a hand to Jesus on this one. It's not that I don't wanna listen, I just need a little break. I talk all day. I'm required to listen all day. I just want a moment of peace and silence in my own house when I get home. I promise I'm not ignoring you. Just give me thirty minutes and a turkey sandwich and I'm all yours.

Can I get a witness?

BB Waite said...

But Miz Tiffany, you have the advantage of knowing it could be a problem. Mr. Waite and I had no clue and spent a few years just glaring at each other over Cream of Wheat wondering if the butter knife was a lethal weapon. We were tired, cranky and bored as all get out with each other. Plus we had those chillen sucking up time and energy 24/7. We stuck it out because we didn't know how to do anything else and neither one of us could make it in jail. I'm joking but seriously, you are ahead of the curve by even recognizing that it's easy to fall into a rut. You already know exactly what to do to keep your husband interested and engaged in the relationship. You'll just have to figure out how to do that and raise a child at the same time.

AppleBerryMIA said...

Part of this (and I'm sure someone will tell me if I;m being naive) is to find someone who interests and intrigues you from the start. If you feel like you've heard every story and know every word that's coming out of his mouth at three months that's a sign that you're not so intellectually challenged by that person. If it's bad at 3 months imagine 13 years?!

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

Totally agree about silence being a relationship killer. For me, I meant just dialing back and sharing the big or important things with my mate (or nipping little things in the bud before they morphed into big things). I'll be durned if I get an ulcer over some kneegrow, but I'm also not going to lose a man that's good for me because I can't control my tongue.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

This irks me to no end. Especially when said dude is over the age of 21. What part of the game is this?

cocoaeyecandy said...

Amen and amen. I don't need steak and lobster but don't come at me with subway sandwiches on your sofa for the first date. Hell to the no. I'm 28, not 18. Do better.

cocoaeyecandy said...

Amen and amen. I don't need steak and lobster but don't come at me with subway sandwiches on your sofa for the first date. Hell to the no. I'm 28, not 18. Do better.

cocoaeyecandy said...

Get it!

Carey Jackson said...

I love when the long-time married folks drop knowledge - I just soak it up!

Jason P said...

Yessir!

Jason P said...

She can surely paint a mental picture.

OneChele said...

Truth

The_A said...

This way, you're not sitting on the couch looking at him wondering why he's breathing like that, or why is his head shaped that way

IKR!!!

Sweet N Tart said...

You're too right. It's a total catch 22, you want to get comfy enough to relax and be easy with one and other but not so relaxed and easy that you are taking each other for granted. Great post.

CaliGirlED said...

It's a hard lesson, but I sat in that class too. Especially when I feel I NEED to tell him a thing or two, or three...sometimes it's just not the right time. And sometimes it's just a waste of time, PERIOD!...I'm not a Master yet but I'm getting there.

Gods_Man said...

Funny you mention Tuesday night. That is date night in our house. We have a young couple that comes over stays with our girls so we can go out.

I wish that we had carved this time out sooner. Not that we have been married that long. With kids, work, church, businesses and other misc things time was crunched and this discipline was lost. We had to learn that nothing took precedent over our marriage and we, mostly, took back our time.

Definitely feeling this one. I forwarded it on to my bride.

GrownAzzMan said...

No Skyy, it's not just you...

GrownAzzMan said...

THIS.IS.EVERYTHING! It really really helps if you like (not love or lust) but like the person you are with. That way you even when you are in the inevitable rut you still look forward to them coming home.

Penny said...

Or want to do nothing but come to your house and just watch your cable. That's a no no.

GrownAzzMan said...

The reason we hate that question is because we are always afraid you won't like the answer. Chances are, it isn't anything deep...

OneChele said...

I once had a guy tell me he was thinking about beef jerky. And then he proceeded to share fifteen minutes of thought on jerky. I quit asking after that. Sometimes mystery is a good thing.

rozb said...

I am the same way. I just want to sit my butt down for a few, get something to drink and maybe a snack, and flip channels for about five minutes. Then I am all in.

Nadette said...

I can't speak from experience on this topic, but then I probably could. I'll just say I know this feeling, and I'll be sure to keep this tidbit of info in my mental backpocket for next go-round.

derek love said...

That Beulah Mae/Icy Hot reference gave me flashbacks. Last girlfriend. Went from glossy-glamor girl to granny-chic in less than a month.
No bueno.

Grace said...

No you didn't say granny-chic?!

Grace said...

Everyone says date night is the way to go.

BrendaKay said...

While complacency wasn't the sole reason why my marriage failed, when it was combined with a serious lack of effective communication skills between me and my ex, it really wasn't much of a surprise that we ended up divorced.

I think one of the wonderful things about marriage is creating a comfortable routine with your partner, because life throws enough daily drama at us as it is. But comfortable can quite easily become boring and predictable. And it's up to both partners to work hard at keeping the love interesting and exciting.
Turn off the TV and the Xbox, shut down the computer, put the iPhone and the Blackberry on silent ~ go for a walk, open a bottle of wine and sit on the back porch and talk. Play a round of strip poker or Naked Twister with each other. Whatever it is, make it different, make it fun and do it often.

Because, trust me when I say ~ dating in your 50's and 60's is a h*ll of a lot worse than it is in your 20's and 30's... :-l

Grace said...

Did we date the same guy? Cuz the $5 footlong was his Friday night fallback.

Grace said...

Seriously Chele - just tell us what you're doing with the saran wrap? My mind is racing in several different directions on that one.

Sarah said...

This reminds me of something I was telling my Mom last fall. My Mom and Dad celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August. They went on a trip a couple of states away. The first part was visiting one of my Mom's cousins and her husband and then the rest by themselves. Afterward, I was talking to my Mom on the phone and told her that when I was little I remember watching her get dressed up for their anniversary dinner one year and thinking to myself.... what do they have to talk about when me and my sister aren't around? how can they have fun without us? Needless to say she started laughing. I know better now, of course, but little kids don't understand why Mom and Dad don't want them around ALL the time. :-)

GammasWorld said...

Beulah Mae? Girl bye. Good post though.

Brneyed1 said...

Amen!! *stompin' and clappin'*

Brneyed1 said...

Tuesday night is date night for me & my sweetie too. There's gotta be a reason...

Brneyed1 said...

Danggone it, where ARE them dang Vicki's....

Leo the Yardie Chick said...

That's the thing my relationship-novice self is trying to figure out (I know there's no mathematical equation for this, but bear with me please): you don't want to be complacent, but you also don't want to be clingy. I've seen clingy send people sprinting to the hills faster than complacency. Case in point: yesterday's post on thirstiness.

Striking a balance seems to be the key, but I guess 'balance' is determined by the dynamics each partner brings to the table. Oy, my head hurts now.

Lady4Real said...

Liking is definitely the key.The fact that my hubby and I have been friends since 4th grade really helps us a lot. We fight first for our friendship, then for our marriage, when our friendship is good it seems to make our marriage smoother. Because we are friends we can talk like friends, no cut cards, no bull$#*+, just talking it out and it helps. It's also fun to hang out and have fun with your friends, even better when you have benefits with your friend. I say, marry your bestest best friend with benefits.

CaliGirlED said...

LMAO!!!

CaliGirlED said...

That's a hell to the naw *channeling my inner "crackish Whitney"*

CaliGirlED said...

And him dodging bowls of cake batter had to add a little excitement here and there, right BB? *ducks and runs for cover*

CaliGirlED said...

Amen and Amen!!!

CaliGirlED said...

*pays tithes & offering*

CaliGirlED said...

"It really really helps if you like (not love or lust) but like the person you are with."...Absolutely!!! I have cousins that I love, but don't ever have to see them again in life!

CaliGirlED said...

I know a 60+ couple that does it on Wednesday nights. And he said that means no answering of the phone or anything else outside of their time together.

Oh and let me not forget my 70+ auntie & Godmother who reserves every Thursday night for her Boo. Yes that's right 70+ with a Boo! (What AM I doing wrong? LOL)...Called her years ago, on a Thursday, to pick up my daughter from school. She said, "Nah Godchild you know I would pick her for you on any day but today. Did you forget it was Thursday?"....Moved on down the list. LOL

CaliSlim said...

*dead* at Beulah Mae! Please resuscitate!

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