By Susie Kamen, Relationship Therapist
No matter what quality of relationships we enjoy, there is always the danger of stagnation
and becoming complacent.
Contentment has positive aspects that may reflect levels of comfort and happiness, and a lack of challenges. The negative aspect of relationship complacency, however, occurs when we stop putting effort into our relationships; disconnection, discontent, and resentment grow silently and quickly, resulting in crises before we know it.
When we are in dating relationships, a heightened level of effort occurs naturally, due to the newness of the relationship. As familiarity sets in, effort diminishes. The routines of daily life often and understandably redirect energy away from your partner.
In coaching, there is a pattern called the “Crazy 8,” where we can feel unhappy in our lives but unintentionally wait until we are feeling quite negative, frustrated and depleted. Before we know it, we create momentum within ourselves to change those feelings with extreme effort, to restore harmony in our relationship. This pattern of swinging from one extreme to the other can be exhausting.
Fortunately, there is a better way.
Here is what I call Growth Gifts:
- Commit to assessing your relationship on a regular basis; bi-weekly check-ins
- Make a conscious effort to be “present.” Create a No Phone Calls policy for at least half an hour each day to be fully present. Share an appreciation once daily – “Something I appreciate about you is….”
- Be accountable. Self-awareness goes a long way! Pay attention to your personal complacency, and raise your level of consciousness before that level of disconnection rises to the extreme.
Susie Kamen, LMSW, CIRT, SILC, is a certified Imago Relationship Therapist. She is the Vice President of Imago Michigan and a Robbins-Madanes Strategic Intervention Life Coach. She is a workshop presenter for Couples and Parenting. She devotes herself to
helping people “get out of their own way” to create the life and relationships they deserve and desire.