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The Key to Combating Relationship Complacency

By: Anne Malmburg | Originally Published HERE on September 30, 2020


If you Google “quotes about complacency”, you will see many different iterations of the same idea — complacency is the enemy. Companies get complacent, and they begin to lose customers to their competitors. Employees get complacent, and they are shocked when they are passed over for promotions or are let go altogether.

Complacency slowly corrodes the motivation, desire, and potential for progress, improvement, change, growth, and ultimately success. Apply that to relationships, and… yikes.

The scary thing about complacency in relationships is that, by nature, it silently takes root and eats away at intimacy. You don’t notice it lurking because hey, things are “fine.” You’re both just busy with work, and the kids, and your separate hobbies, and any number of other things. Why rock the boat? Then one day you find yourselves standing on opposite sides of a Grand Canyon-sized chasm, wondering, “How did we get here?”

But that doesn’t have to be your fate. You can combat relationship complacency. How, you ask?

It all hinges on communication.

  • Communicate your feelings. Don’t bottle up anger, annoyance, or hurt, which builds resentment and many times results in an explosion that catches your partner completely off guard, wondering, “Where did this come from?” Deal with issues as they come up. Let each other know if there’s a problem.

  • Communicate your love and appreciation. Don’t take your partner for granted. Remember the beginning of your relationship? You went out of your way to be thoughtful and considerate. You made sure to say, “That was so sweet of you!” or “I appreciate that so much, thank you!” After a while, we tend to overlook these gestures that we once found so special and instead focus on the habits or qualities we find annoying. It would be unrealistic to say you should never get annoyed, but making an effort to be thoughtful, considerate, and express your love and appreciation for your partner is crucial, whether you’ve been together for 2 years or 22 years.

  • Communicate your needs. Don’t assume that your partner “should just know” what you want or need from them or be able to read your mind. Think about if the situation was reversed: do you always know exactly how your partner is feeling or what he/she needs? Probably not. Sometimes it is nice to simply be told and be able to respond accordingly.

Consistent communication allows you and your partner to both inform and be informed about the “state of the union” so to speak. It forces you to address issues instead of sweeping them under the rug in order to keep the peace. It will probably also cause you to put in more effort to meet each other’s needs – a good kind of effort that fosters growth and demonstrates that you’re both still in this thing for the long haul.

Ensure that your relationship doesn’t get passed over for that big promotion– although it can be uncomfortable, tense, and just plain difficult sometimes to resolve issues, ultimately you are strengthening your relationship by doing so.

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