When I troll the Internet out of sheer boredom, it’s not uncommon for me to stop and analyze one of those relationship advice articles. Thankfully, I’m not looking for advice on my relationship – I’m perfectly happy and content to be married to my crazy cat lady wife. Instead, I’m looking for an opportunity to antagonize and aggravate her. I often bully her into playing The Status Of Our Relationship is Based on the Article I’m Reading game—a game that I invented. I find much delight when I exploit any relationship article as the definitive authority to measure our marital success. In fact, it gets me quite giddy.
Recently, I read an article about complacency. I couldn’t wait to corner her when she least expected it.
“This is YOU” I proudly exclaimed, accusing her while pointing my finger directly in her face. Clearly, I interrupted her concentration during another game of Candy Crush. “According to this article, you’re guilty of the dirty ‘C’ word – COMPLACENCY!”
Before she could utter a word, I eagerly read the article’s definition out loud:
: a feeling of being satisfied with how things are and not wanting to try to make them better : a complacent feeling or condition
: self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.
To further the facts of my argument, I read each point from the article with carefully placed enunciation. As I expected, she quickly rebutted with her defenses.
- Look your partner in the eye
There is a yoga practice in which you look into your partner’s eyes for three minutes without looking away. The eyes are the mirrors to the soul, and it’s amazing how we cannot really look at or see each other. It is surprising how deeply this action can reconnect you both. —Donna Davidge” I look you in the eye all the time”, my wife argued. “Each time you interrupt me during an intense game of Candy Crush I look directly at you. Like right now.”
- Change up your daily routine
You come home from work, sit in front of the TV, check your Facebook, and watch the news, and take care of the kids. These activities do not encourage emotional connection with our partner. Plan daily, one-on-one activities apart from the daily grind.“Our daily routine works just fine,” she said.”No need to change it. I expect you to harass me at any moment. Right now is a perfect example.”
- Make each day special
We have all heard the song ‘Live Like You Were Dying’. Next time you hear it, pay close attention to the lyrics. We all need to realize how short our lives are and take full advantage of all the blessings we have – including our partner.“YOU’RE the one who promised to cuddle with me and scratch my back every night for the rest of our lives,” she barked. “But fine, I’ll concede to this one.”
- Schedule a Regular Date Night
Remember the bliss, laughter and ecstasy you and your partner enjoyed during the honeymoon phase of your relationship? Why did it stop? Pursue those activities together again. And be sure to turn off your cell phone.“Every year on October 29 we go to Olive Garden and wear the same outfits we wore on our first date,” she reminded me. “Celebrating our first date every year is regular date, silly. And what about all our dates to Target?”, she asked. “I’m sure the hours and hours of security tapes of your questionable PDA tactics are circulating all over the Internet.”
- Reminisce Together
Another factor of complacency is forgetting why you were first attracted to your partner. Did something change? If not, reconnect with those initial emotions by reminiscing with your partner. If something has changed, engage in open and honest communication to overcome it together.“I reminisce with you all the time,” she argued. How many times do I have to remind you when you interrupted my Candy Crush games?”
- Communicate Openly
According to Engagedmarriage.com, spend 15 minutes each day with your partner without distractions and talk openly about your day, your thoughts and dreams, or whatever else you may like to share. Take risks and break down walls. Intimate communication has long-lasting benefits and the subjects are endless.“Are you saying that I’m afraid to speak my mind?”, my wife asked. I left it at that. I knew she’d blast me for at least 15 minutes because I interrupted her game.
- Listen to your partner
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. We’ve all heard this advice. Take a moment to ponder it. In long-term relationships, it’s easy to ignore our partner. It is easy to convince ourselves that what they say is not important. However, our partners want to be heard. They may want your advice and encouragement, and they may need your balance.“I listen to you all the time,” she rebutted. I had to concede this point. I knew she was right.
- Pursue your partner
Remember when you first met your partner? You were unstoppable to gain their attention and affections. You wrote love notes. You gave silly gifts. You let down your guard. Just because you earned the commitment from our long-term partner doesn’t mean we should give up pursuing them.“HA! Here’s one!” I said enthusiastically. You don’t pursue me like you used to!””What are you talking about?” she said. “I text ‘I love you‘ to you every day, I buy your favorite treats from the grocery store, and I’m always packing a surprise in your suitcase when you travel for business. How’s that not pursuing you? Besides, I allowed you to interrupt me during an intense level of Candy Crush.”
- Stay in tune with their emotional needs
You must prioritize your time daily by being intimate with your partner both emotionally and physically. All of us have different emotional needs and it’s your duty to be in tune with those of your partner. Do thoughtful things to demonstrate your love, appreciation and respect. Compliment your partner and be sincere. A little bit of daily effort goes a long way.I didn’t even bother reading this one to her. My wife is the best friend I’ve ever had and she’s always attentive to my emotional needs. She would dump Candy Crush in a second if I simply asked her.
- Learn the meaning of gratitude
Gratitude is an emotion expressing appreciation for what one has—as opposed to what one wants or needs. We can practice gratitude by putting things in perspective, acknowledging them, and appreciating them. Is the art of practicing gratitude simple? No. It takes practice.“I show you gratitude each time I make fun of you, silly,” she rebuked. “You’re the best source of my comedic material. I thank you all the time for that. Duh.”
By my wife’s witty, sarcastic, and idiotic remarks, I immediately knew that we do in fact meet all seven of the relationship requirements to avoid complacency. We avoid it in our own, weird, crazy way. Clearly, I won another round of The Status Of Our Relationship Based on the Article I’m Reading game.
I can’t wait till next time.
Photo: ©Dave Pasquel All Rights Reserved