While driving down the freeway recently, I stumbled upon a radio talk show host and listened in dismay as she praised the virtues of “Comfort Love.” If you were anywhere near my car, you likely heard me screaming at the radio and shaking my head at the misguided message she was sending to her listeners. Why was I so distraught during her testimonial to comfort in your relationship? Let me explain.
The message being broadcast by the host suggested that once the honeymoon phase of dating and marriage wore off, couples should slip into the next phase of their relationship labeled, “The Comfort Phase.” But here’s the problem: too much comfort in your relationship is a dangerous and risky ingredient to add to the batter of love.
Getting too comfortable in your marriage is when problems begin to mount. When effort to maintain the marital connection is replaced by comfort and indifference, your relationship can slowly start to crumble. Taking your partner for granted is the biggest complaint I receive about fraying marriages.
I cannot tell you how many times people have said to me, “Michelle, you are married now, you no longer need to do all of the nice things you do for your husband” or, “Why do you bother to put makeup on? You are married now.” Au Contraire. My plan is to stay lustfully married to my husband and in order for that to happen, I have made a conscious decision to never get too comfortable in my marriage.
I get it. We get married and we get contented. That’s a good thing, to an extent. I mean who doesn’t love a comfy pair of sweats on a cold winter day? On my bad hair days (of which I have many) a top bun is my go to hairstyle. However, although comfort in a relationship is blissful, comfort should not replace effort. Contentment should not replace nurture. Coziness should not replace sweet gestures. And more importantly, comfort should not replace sex and the incredible power of touch with your partner.
It is important to make the effort to at least semi-resemble (emotionally, spiritually, and physically) the person that your partner was dating and ultimately married. Once married, it is crucial to maintain a semblance of the individual that your partner fell in love with. As humans, we need to feel wanted, loved and appreciated, especially by our partner.
During the dating process, we demonstrate our love and appreciation for our partner through loving gestures, outward affection, thoughtful planning, and lots of sex. Remember that fun, sexy, affectionate, adventurous, nurturing and thoughtful person who said, “I do?” All of those wonderful adjectives need to stay present in your relationship in order to keep the rubber band of marriage tight and secure. Too much comfort in your relationship can result in a limp and useless band unable to hold your bond in place.
I have often wondered why, during the dating process, men love to kiss their woman and slip a little tongue into the kissing action. That’s sexy right? Why is it that as time goes on, women start to get a little less tongue action and a lot more peck on the cheek action? What the hell is that all about? I’ll tell you what it’s about: It’s comfort love creeping in. Once married, the effort we so painstakingly put into our auditions for the role of spouse will often fade away as we get comfortable and secure in our marriage.
I am not suggesting we keep the momentum of the courting process going for the entirety of your marriage. Obviously, we do reach a certain plateau of comfort and security in a long-term relationship. What I am suggesting is daily effort and thought from each partner to keep the love light burning. The sweet compliments and gestures during the glorious days of dating should not fall prey to the beast of comfort love.
The simple and undeniable fact is this: If your marriage was to break up and you were to start dating again, you would put effort into your new partner. Getting too comfortable in your marriage and losing the desire to put in the effort is a danger zone I do not want you to enter. When you two are connected and close, everything else will fall into place. Do not fall into a mundane and monotonous routine that will send your marriage into a free fall. Work to keep the focus on the love and excitement for each other that brought you together and bonded you in marriage.
Don’t disappear on each other. The spark stays lit when the fire is nurtured. Put in the effort to plan dates. Plan a picnic. Plan a beach day. Plan a Sunday drive. Work to find activities you share together. Dates need not cost money. It is the time together, just like when you were dating, that will keep your relationship blossoming.