Before I get started on this rant, here is a tiny disclaimer. I am by no means a relationship therapist or expert, so you can take this all with a grain of salt. However, I think each and every one of us has some sort of relationship advice or theory to share, whether your longest relationship has been one month or 30 years. So, here’s what I think.
People say a lot of dumb things about relationships. “Never go to bed angry,” they say. Uh huh, clearly, you’re not allowed to have a teeth-clenching argument near the end of an exhausting day. “Always kiss me goodnight,” they say. C’mon, people. Like I said, are you never tired? “Always be completely honest with your partner,” they say. Um, I dunno. Some days, I really need you to like the new keto casserole I just made, even if it’s blech. And if you dare tell me how I really look in this dress, you better be standing there with some alternatives, “Pretty Woman” style.
But, seriously, in my opinion, the dumbest thing people say about relationships is this: Don’t get too comfortable.
Don’t get too comfortable? Huh? I’m sorry, but isn’t that exactly what you should want in a relationship? Comfort?
A good relationship should be like your grandpa’s treasured leather chair that now sits in the corner of your living room. You know, the one with the permanent butt indent that kind of smells like Old Spice?
A good relationship should be like your favorite T-shirt, the one with the frayed collar, non-existent hem, and vinyl letters hanging on by mere threads.
A good relationship should be like that pair of fuzzy slippers that stinks to high heaven but bring you so much joy, relaxation, and … duh … comfort.
And, yes, it’s true that a lot of things that we consider oh-so-comfortable are also a little old, a little dirty, and a little worn out. That’s because they have been through a lot. They have seen all sides of us and still welcome us in for endless snuggles, time after time. And that’s what I want my relationships to be like—a little worn, a little seasoned—you know, with an unmistakable butt indent.
Luckily, I’m very comfortable in my marriage. My husband and I have been through a lot since we first met 23 years ago—ups, downs, breakups, moves, new jobs, family drama, personal victories, shared struggles, health issues, addiction, many blessings (sometimes in disguise), joyful abundance, and tragic loss. And guess what has gotten us through all of it? Comfort.
We are comfortable enough to be ourselves. We are comfortable enough to have hard conversations. We are comfortable enough to have ugly days (or weeks or years). We are comfortable enough to stand naked while posing the age-old inquiry: “Hey, honey, can you come look at this and see what it is?” You know what I’m talking about. We are comfortable enough to geek out on trivial things together. We are comfortable enough to be honest about our fears. We are comfortable enough to admit that some days we just don’t like each other. But, in the end, we are also comfortable enough in our relationship to know we aren’t going anywhere. We’ve worked too hard to be this comfortable to go and try to be uncomfortable with someone else.
So, go ahead. Plop yourself right down in the middle of that relationship, and get really, really comfortable. Once you’re there, let your freak flag fly a little bit. Give your ugliest side some airtime. And if your partner is still around after all that, he or she is a keeper. Snuggle up. Relax. Take it easy. And sit squarely and confidently in your relationship comfort zone. No need to leave. This is where you belong.