A question I recently received from a reader:
"What tips do you have for a happily married person to strive to be the best they can be?"
Don't get comfortable.
You now how when you first started dating that you worked hard to look your best? You put on your best clothes. You got frequent haircuts. You went to the gym. You were happy and outgoing. Yeah... keep doing that. Don't take your situation for granted.
Comfort is the enemy of men. It lulls you into a sense of complacency. Comfort tells you that everything is "good enough".
Comfort is the way of saying "Ok... I can relax now. This feels good and SAFE." Safe... meaning you have NOTHING to worry about.
Tell that to the guy at the office who did his job every day and was passed over for the promotion, or was canned to free up money in the budget. Tell that to the guy who did everything "right" in his relationship but found the wife banging the18-year-oldd pool boy.
Safety and comfort are an illusion. If you let your guard down, somebody will come along to remind you that your moment of relaxation is fleeting. All of it can be flipped in an instant.
So why do we insist on actually SEEKING out comfort in our relationships and try to expedite the inevitable "holy shit" life moment that will flip us upside down?
MEN THINK "BORING = SUCCESSFUL LIFE"
I often say of the bored, depressed wife: "Their man feels that the lack of drama and relative boredom in life is a sign that he has done his job. There are no dangers. Bills are paid. Food is on the table. All is well. Men are fixers and he has done all of the preventative work to keep things from falling off the rails. Job well done. He can rest."
What he doesn't know is that there are demons lurking... waiting for him to let his guard down. Ready to pounce on any sign of weakness.
The wife is yearning for more. She's daydreaming A LOT more now about the grass being greener on the other side. If only he had kept going to the gym and kept playing guitar in the band he was in when he first met his wife. What happened to the guy she fell in love with?
The boss at work is about the drop the axe and cut 20% of the workforce. Our boring man is expendable. The poor schmuck has his feet up and is watching the Packers vs. Vikings game with a bowl of pretzels on his belly and his third beer of the evening in his gut. He has no idea just how close he is to losing it all. If only he had taken those night classes to earn his certification that would've given him that promotion last year.
So... men think comfort equals success, when it absolutely doesn't. Why?
Well, ladies.. I'm looking at you first.
It's a known fact that a woman will do everything she can to knock her man down a few pegs and mold them into the blob of comfortable bubble gum that she so despises. We call these things "fitness tests" or "shit tests". It's one of the more interesting phenomena in the relationship game.
A woman will be yours because of who you are... and then do everything she can to see if she can change you. If she succeeds, she will leave you for somebody that is like who you were when you first met.
Very often a man will err on the side of "safe" when his woman bitches or questions his authority. "Yes, dear." Instead, he should err on the side of doubling down on his decisions and reminding everyone who the man is in the relationship.
Again, he thinks lack of drama is a good thing. Why rock the boat?
"Happy wife = Happy life!" <-- The biggest bunch of relationship bullshit ever uttered.
Another reason for a man's desire for comfort: our culture.
In the minds of many people, "Dad" = guy sitting in a recliner with a beer belly and football jersey, yelling at the TV. You see it on TV on a daily basis. It's so pervasive, that every single man I know emulates it. It's not like it's a natural state of being. No human being has "be a slob and sit for long periods of time in one spot and yell at glowing entertainment box for hours on end" imprinted into their DNA. Sure, us men need escape and time to ourselves fairly often, but that doesn't have to manifest itself in such a way. You can read. You can go out. Take up a hobby. Hang out with guys doing guy stuff. Hit the gym.
I remember when I found out that the local rec center in town had open gym hours. Sweet! I'll ask some guys I know if they want to get together to play some ball. You would think I asked them if I could bang their wife. Nobody was interested. So... I went by myself. Played with a bunch of 20 year olds. Felt awesome. Now I coach my son's team. To me... that's life. That's masculine. That's fun. Helps get me in shape and takes my mind off things.
I enjoy my TV games. I like college basketball. I like the occasional NFL game or NBA playoff game. But I draw a freakin' line at some point. I don't do fantasy football. I don't put on a team's jersey while watching a game like I'm 12. I don't schedule my entire life around watching other men play. It's just fucking weird.
I think if every man could float outside of his body for a moment and look at himself watching game after game after game... watch himself cave into his wife's shit tests... watch as he slouches his shoulders and says "yes, dear" for the 500th time, he would have an epiphany.
What the fuck am I doing? What does THAT accomplish?
Nothing. It accomplishes nothing. Oh, wait... yes it does. I makes you comfortable. It makes you unaware. It makes you less of a man.
Don't lose your edge as a man. Don't get comfortable. Your holy shit moment is right around the corner.