Image from au.lifestyle.yahoo.com

Last week, Eva Mendes was published in a TV Extra interview where she claimed that sweatpants (trackies, for the Aussies) are the number one cause of divorce in America. When the flood of indignant disagreement came in, she and boyfriend Ryan Gosling were quick to make light of the situation via Twitter, saying it was all a joke.

I know I’ll be going against the tide, but I agree with Eva Mendes. I get what she was trying to say. Not so much that trackpants themselves cause divorce, but rather that the “trackpants attitude” is certainly not strengthening to a marriage. And I understand the outrage too – trackies are undeniably comfortable and with a busy lifestyle, there’s not always time to look 100% perfect. But I still think we should avoid the trackpants attitude.

It’s not that relationships are all about the way people look: I’ll be the first to abhor that. But it does feed into a certain common notion these days, that all the effort and all the trying are for pre-marriage days, and that it can stop afterwards. In my opinion however, post-marriage is when the real effort starts.

Before getting married, the effort comes easy. In a time filled with passion and infatuation and all you want to do is please the beloved, which includes looking your very best for their enjoyment. After marriage (and even before) it’s so easy to get “comfortable.” It’s easy to start taking their love for granted, and to stop nurturing it.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable around your spouse: that’s how it should be. But if you’re wearing your trackies every single day, it gives them the subconscious message that that they’re not worth dressing up for, which isn’t the respect they deserve as the most important person in your life. And it applies to much more than just choice of clothing: it could be not telling them you love them, always eating dinner and going to bed before they get home, not calling or texting during the day, and just not considering  their opinion or their feelings or being willing to put them first. Because if this is the stuff of your marriage, then yes – relationship troubles could be on the horizon.

So what to do? Well as I’ve heard it said before, “keep dating your spouse”. Keep up the effort, out of love for them. You’ll both be happier for it.

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.