Tag Archives: complacency

On marriage: more than ‘just’ a piece of paper

**The fourth in my mini-series on marriage. I am exploring why I want it (or trying to), what goes into a successful marriage, and snippets of conversations M and I have had on this very topic**

Marriage is more than ‘just’ a piece of paper.

For those of you that didn’t know me when I was married, for me to say this now and truly believe it…telling.

Because when I got married, I don’t think I truly believed in marriage and what it stands for. I saw it more as a formality, as the next ‘logical’ step in our (then) 7-year relationship. I pish-poshed the rituals of the engagement party, bridal shower, the whole nine yards wedding. I got married with none of my family or friends nearby. When we said our vows overlooking the waters of Kauai, I distinctly remember thinking ‘I should be more emotional. I should be crying. Or something. This should feel different. And powerful. And ‘us.’ But instead? It felt lonely (as I’ve said before). And it did feel like ‘just’ a piece of paper afterwards. We were happy, but we weren’t any *more* happy because we were married (not that I think that it’s like a light switch, suddenly your now-marriage is perfect puppies and rainbows, but there is something to be said for the ‘honeymoon period’ for a reason, right?!).

As these words flow from my fingertips…I am actually surprised at what I’m revealing. And the revelations I am uncovering through this post and this series, overall. I think my disbelief in marriage and what it stands for was one of several underlying reasons why our marriage ultimately failed. Because my ex-husband had this very same view…marriage is ‘just’ a piece of paper.

But now? I think in order for marriage to succeed, both have to believe that there is a reason to get married. That it’s not just a ‘logical’ step. That we want to publicly commit to each other (hopefully) for a lifetime. And put in the commitment necessary to make it succeed. Now, I am not saying that I suddenly ‘believe’ in the big white puffy dress fairy tale that so many do as they grow up, but I do know this: if/when M and I marry, we will be surrounded by our close family. Where/when/how/what is still up for debate, but making this commitment with our families there is important to me. For the very first time.

Because, it’s not just a piece of paper anymore. It’s purposeful. It is filled with intent. And it is a commitment I am ready to make. When the time comes.

~~~

For now, this is the end of my ‘on marriage’ series, though there may be more of these down the road…ya know, when the time comes (wink). Writing this series has been an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. Because with each topic that comes to mind, I actually have had no idea what I was going to write, until I wrote it. Free-flowing. Stream of conscious. I urge you…if there is something you are trying to work through, like me, and my thoughts on marriage and what I want it to look like, write it out. It truly makes it all come together.

On marriage: never sliding into complacency

**The third in my mini-series on marriage. I am exploring why I want it (or trying to), what goes into a successful marriage, and snippets of conversations M and I have had on this very topic**

I think one of my biggest fears when it comes to marriage is sliding into complacency. Looking back on my previous marriage, I think that is ultimately what did us in. It’s like a silent ‘killer’ of sorts, that isn’t easily seen until it’s (sometimes) too late. So now, I am hyper aware to it, almost too hyper aware to it, in a way. Overanalyzing my (or M’s actions) and worrying about getting too comfortable and worse, complacent.

And I think complacency can mean several things.

Complacency in showing each other love. Whether this is intimacy, a touch, a hug, a kiss. It’s easy to just go through the motions, rather than to stop whatever you are doing in that moment and focus on just them. Just that hug. Just that kiss. Nothing else matters. Back to the very first touch or kiss or hug. The magic of it. Keeping that alive, while hard to do all the time, at a minimum, being present in the moment of a loving gesture goes a thousand miles further than a kiss out of habit. (it goes back to can’t-wait-ing too…not rush, rush, rush through it all. Focus. BE. Presence.).

Complacency in fostering your relationship. As I said in a previous post, marriage (and any longstanding relationship for that matter!) is not ‘set it and forget it.’ It takes work. It takes dedication. It takes commitment. And most of all, it takes time. When things are going smoothly, it’s REALLY easy to just go with that. And for it to feel good and normal. But I challenge you…is normal *good?* Or is it borderline complacency? I tend to think it borders complacency. Our relationships should always be challenging and growing and (re)freshed. It should never be the same. This is what I want my marriage to look like. A challenge. (in a good way)

Complacency in spoken words of love. M is very good at spoken words of love. And I am not. I show, he speaks (and shows!). I tell him that I love him all the time but he is just so good at the unexpected words of love when I need it most (like the other day!). It’s something I am working on and something I think is so very important. To tell them him that I love that he always compliments me at moments I need it most, or that he calmly takes the trash out even when I pile it high (and I get the eye roll) and that he makes a mean scrambled egg. The #littlethings that he does. In addition to the big ones. I just assume that he knows. But why should I assume and why should he just know? I know I love to hear it, and I think he does too. But it’s easy to fall back into the habit of showing, not saying. Complacency. I’m working on it.

Complacency. This is a huge one for me. And I think being hyper aware of it helps, but doesn’t mean I still don’t catch myself falling into it sometimes.

What about you? What do you think complacency means in a marriage or relationship?

Complacency.

Given I haven’t been traveling the past few weeks, M and I have been trying to see each other more during the week than usual (has been 1-2 times a week prior) and I must say, I am loving it. It makes me more and more want to live with him…I am already getting sick of packing an overnight bag and vice versa, and we just really jive so well when we do get to spend an extended amount of time together on weekends and such, so I know it will be a natural transition…when it happens. (but that’s a topic for another post, but there, I said it!).

Last night, M came by after work. He was running late and I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was irritable from the day. He doesn’t usually let work affect him too much, but he *is* human after all, and sometimes it is unavoidable. When he arrived, he greeted me with a smile, a kiss and happiness in his eyes, but I could tell he wasn’t quite himself. We talked a bit over dinner about his day (and  mine, and he of course was just as congratulatory as all of you were, thank you!) but he kept glancing at the Bruins game on TV and being distracted.

This is highly unusual for him because he (and me, too) both make a concerted effort to be ‘present’ during meals and anytime we’re together, really, and not be sidetracked by stuff on TV or our phones or whatever. So, the more he did that (until I made it clear it was annoying me, and he stopped), the more I felt disconnected. I knew he wanted to ‘be’ with me and be present, but it was as though he couldn’t shake off the day and it was affecting him through and through. I found myself letting that then affect me, and I ended up reading some more blogs, texting with my sister and it felt like we were falling into complacency.

Maybe it’s on my mind because of my post the other day, or this beautiful post from City Girls’ World today, but I went to bed last night wanting a do-over of the night. Because last night was so NOT who we usually are together, and I guess it goes along with the ebbs and flows in any relationship. Everyone has bad days. Where they aren’t themselves and can’t quite shake it off. If/when we do live together, those moods will be there out in the open in all their ugly glory, instead of hidden away separately (if he were at home, for example, instead of with me last night), so of course we both need to learn to figure out how to cope with that.

Know when the other needs space.

Or when they simply need a hug and a kiss.

Or to watch the Bruins game and unplug.

So, when I woke up this morning, I gave him an extra squeeze, snuggle and kiss, and told him I wanted a do-over for last night. He smiled and suggested we stay home all day *ahem* just where we were in bed. We went for a run together, instead, and though it was unspoken much of the way, as I focused on my breathing (with my new inhaler), he was right next to me, every step of the way, giving me support, telling me I was doing great, and when we finished, I couldn’t have felt much greater.

The fear of complacency was the swift kick in the ass reminder I needed never, ever, ever, to take him or what we have for granted. Sometimes it’s the unspoken gestures, the knowing thoughts, the few and simple words that make you realize…we’re right where we’re meant to be. Perhaps at another evolution of our relationship, as we move forward, together, but united.