What Chris Rock Taught Me About Relationships

It’s been about a decade since I watched Chris Rock’s special Never Scared, and I’ve never forgotten his key observation on relationships, echoing like a chant in my head:

“You’re either married and bored, or single and lonely.”

{Take a few minutes to watch Rock’s hysterical bit; click on photo}

chrisrock
As funny as the sketch is, the reverse is also true: anyone who’s been single knows how boring it can be, and sadly, some who are married feel lonelier than we would dare to imagine.

There is always comedy in the extremes, and I don’t know about you, but when I recognize the crooked truths, I immediately start thinking about ways to fix them: Single life doesn’t HAVE to be so lonely if you plan right, and married lives don’t HAVE to be so boring if you put some forethought and effort into it, RIGHT???

But upon deeper reflection, and having lived with this chant inside my head for a number of years, I’ve come to accept that maybe it’s supposed to be this way. One thing I certainly learned from my single times: the loneliness of single hood, as painful as it could be, kept me alert. Alert to my desires. Alert to my creative instincts. Alert for that next person who could at any moment waltz in and change my life. Loneliness had a purpose.

In addition, in her breakthrough book Women Who Run with the Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about the heart as a lonely hunter. Hunting, or even being ready, for a relationship takes focus, steadfastness, openness and risk. It requires a certain degree of assertiveness, and assertiveness, as aggression’s cheerful cousin, carries with it vitality. Vitality is sexy.

Vitality, abundant in many single people and people who are newly in love, also seems to wane incrementally when the hunt for love is over and partners relax into the somewhat necessary confines of stability and routine. Bellies expand. The type of alertness you had access to as a single person shifts. There is simply not as much, if any, time for self reflection.

If you’re married or in a long-term relationship, and feeling bored, there is so much information out there that will help you reverse, minimize and fix it. In my work, I often interpret the boredom as a call to take up the hunt with your partner for a third thing — a family, a business, a deeper connection, a hobby, a theme, etc.

But today, instead of counseling you to eradicate your boredom, I would invite you to consider that it has a purpose, too. In the same way the loneliness of single-hood is a call for connection with other, perhaps the boredom with “neutered” married life as Chris Rock refers to it — replete with mind-numbing talks about hair dye, barbecuing and routes to work — are calls to Self. Husband, Wife, Mother, Father, Soccer Mom, Barbecuer, etc. are the sacred roles of family life, and this is your time to play them. But you don’t have to get lost in them. Your (intermittent, hopefully not chronic) boredom with them is the signal to carve out some time to reconnect with yourself. And then, maybe consider how you can bring more vitality back to those roles.

It can be so challenging, in family life especially, to find the time for solitude. There are routines to be shifted, people to be contacted and schedules to arrange. There is guilt to manage. But you can get away and reconnect with who you are when you’re not playing the various roles that marriage and family life require.

We know that things aren’t as black and white as comedy needs them to be. You can be single and lonely, and bored, and wildly creative and snug in your sweet spot of self-care — at your very best. You can be married and bored, and lonely, and brimming with love, beyond satisfied, fully challenged and more vital than you’ve ever been.

Singles, don’t fear your loneliness. Use it to create community, and stay alert. And those in long term relationships, don’t fear boredom. Expect and honor it as a call to return to Self.

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There are skills you can learn to stand in your authority in your intimate relationships. Intrigued? Check out Intimate Authority — a 7-week online course on how to co-create dynamic and drama-free relationships, without losing yourself.

3 responses to “What Chris Rock Taught Me About Relationships”

  1. Blair, this was so good I had to spread it around on social media! My motto, just be happy!

  2. […] Originally published on BlairGlaser.com […]

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