Family and Relationship

Familiarity can silently destroy your marriage

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Don’t allow boredom and monotony into your relationship

Familiarity is a silent killer that is eroding most marriages. We rarely talk about it, yet when it sets in, it attacks and eventually destroys marriage.

It is said that living together for a long time eventually leads to greater liking. This may be true in cases where the couple makes an effort to understand each other better and grows in love.

In many cases however, the more familiar couples become with one another, the more they start to take each other for granted. During courtship, so many traits about yourself stay hidden from your partner.

When you do get married, these traits eventually come out in the open and, in many cases, they are a put-off to your partner. But this often happens to couples that go into marriage with perfectionism in mind. They find it difficult to reconcile with the shattered image they had of their “perfect” partner.

The irony is that these off-putting “discoveries” are inconsequential. These include hearing your spouse blow his nose, his irritating belching after meals, his snoring, or chewing with his mouth open.

My take is that such insignificant traits shouldn’t have the power to undermine your marriage because there are greater challenges ahead.

Signs of familiarity

The general definition of familiarity is when you stop doing the things you used to do before, or early in marriage.

For instance, when you no longer observe personal hygiene or when you stop making an effort to look good and smell good for your spouse. Women are especially guilty of this. I have had men complain that their wives do not visit the hairdresser as often as they did during courtship. There was one client who complained that his wife is fond of wearing wigs and weaves which stayed on for months.

Your partner used to turn you on, now he turns you off.

You no longer hug or kiss each other as a way of greeting

You no longer put as much thought into the food you serve your partner.

You know you’re getting too familiar for comfort with your spouse when you begin to address each other with disrespect.

You no longer pay attention to her when she talks, and you no longer laugh at his jokes or go out of your way to make him feel appreciated.

What leads to unhealthy familiarity?

You assume that you have your spouse figured out, and therefore miss out on the changes he may be going through. True, when you live with someone for a long time, you are able to anticipate his needs. However, as he grows older and experiences new things, these needs are bound to change, and so will his perspectives in life.

Getting too comfortable with each other.

Taking it for granted that your partner is with you for keeps.

The assumption that you have nothing more to learn about each other.

Ideally, couples need to relate with each other the way they did during courtship if they want to keep familiarity at bay. Here is some food for thought.

A perfect relationship does not exist. However, it is possible to have a fulfilling and exciting marriage, no matter how many years you have been together. To avoid monotony, seek new activities to do together, meet new friends, and take regular breaks from work and home to reconnect with each other.

Everything shouldn’t revolve around your partner and your marriage. Getting married shouldn’t erase you, the individual. A marriage is enriched when you have individual interests.

Step out of your comfort zone and do things a little differently.

Resolve to have meaningful communication with your spouse. Listen actively and you will be surprised to discover this other person you never knew.


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