BLOG: IS OUR RELATIONSHIP TOO COMFORTABLE?
The topic this week comes from one of the participants of last month's couples survey who agreed to share his question with the group:
I took your survey last month and was in the top 2% of people who said they had a fabulous marriage with no problems. Shortly afterwards, I read one of your articles and realized I have a question.
My wife and I have been together for 23 years. We do not argue and like doing similar things. We both grew up in families with lots of arguing between our parents. We made a decision to have a different type of marriage and not argue. I have looked at our relationship as great based on not arguing and liking similar things. When I read your article about comfort zone living I began to think that perhaps my wife and I have become too comfortable doing what we are accustomed to. We rarely do new things. I still believe we have a great relationship but perhaps I am missing something. Can you address this?
Thanks for your question, Tom and for sharing it with our readers. First, congratulations on 23 years of marriage. We congratulate people because we know that it takes work and commitment to have a healthy, thriving relationship.
That brings me to your question about being comfortable together doing similar things.
My belief is that in thriving marriages, both partners are growing and doing things that fulfill them together and also individually. When you say you rarely do new things I wondered if you felt some restlessness. Do you love what you are doing even if it is routine? Do you find new ways to make it exciting or has your routine become boring? You posed the question that perhaps you are too comfortable so it is something worth exploring further.
I have often said to my clients that there is no real growth in the comfort zone. Most people tend to need stimulation, new ideas, experiences and people to support them in expanding their awareness and to grow beyond their routines.
That said, however does not mean you must adopt my belief as your own. You are your highest authority on what is right for you. Your wife is her highest authority on what is right for her. If this discussion sparks up a conversation, first in yourself and then perhaps with your wife, that is a great place to start. You indeed may have a great relationship.
As to the fabulousness of your relationship based on not arguing, you are on the right track to explore that belief further. There are many unhealthy relationships where people do not argue and do not interact. There is just no passion left and they go about their separate ways. There are also many healthy relationships where people argue or have different points of view and discuss them routinely.
There is a healthy and an unhealthy way to “argue”. The endless arguing where nothing gets resolved is not productive or healthy. Healthy disagreements however can ignite a spark in the marriage and become a place to begin appreciating your partner’s differences.
Are there areas where you could disagree, yet do not discuss with each other based on your agreement not to argue like your parents? If so, you may be missing a prime opportunity to understand each other better. In our work with couples and individuals, these discussions are often portals to greater connection between couples. We often do not know our partners as well as we think. So at the very least, you may want to answer this question and discuss it with your wife.
If you take the charge out of the word “argue” and realize you can have productive disagreements, that may help. (You do not need to repeat or mirror your parents’ arguments; you create what works for the both of you).
Keep in touch, Tom and I hope this has been of some help.
To Your Fabulous Relationship!
P.S. Here is the link back to the article on comfort zone living for readers who may have missed it.
P.P.S. If you would like more support in applying these principles, give us a call. In between our speaking and coaching engagements, we carve out a few individualized sessions each month. Schedule your appointment here.