Marriage is a wonderful, God-given institution. But the truth is, it can also be difficult and very unpleasant. We can find ourselves in a very unfulfilling relationship with our spouse before we know it. How did we get here? Marriage seemed so easy at first, but now it seems so hard.
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Marriage gets hard for many reasons. But I think that the primary reason difficulties arise is complacency. Initially, people are all in. They get married, and the euphoric feelings of love keep them afloat. For a while. But then time passes, and they get comfortable in their roles and stop actively caring for each other. Sure, they still love each other, but the former compulsion to selflessly attend to one another’s interests just isn’t there anymore. It is at this point that marriage seems to get hard, and often married couples have no idea how to escape the doldrums and regain the enjoyment they had before.
The best way to prevent your marriage from getting difficult is by combating complacency directly. Here are 3 ways to head off complacency within marriage and recapture the wonder:
Talk to each other. All the time. It doesn’t always have to be about deep issues, or important subjects. Just share your day with each other. Talk about what you did at work. Discuss last night’s episode of The Office. Figure out your plans for the weekend. Regular communication like this can create a bond that simply doesn’t exist otherwise.
Finding time to communicate can be difficult in our busy lives. One way to do this is to commit a specific time each day, maybe in the evening after work or early in the morning. During this set aside time, share with each other. Doing this can seriously make you feel connected as a couple.
2. Spend time together
What I mean by this is quality time. Both you and your spouse have interests and things that you enjoy. Actively spend time together doing those things. Find some activities that you both enjoy. Maybe for you it’s reading a book together, or going on a walk or a bike ride in the park, or joining a co-ed softball league. By investing time together like this, you are building and maintaining a solid friendship.
3. Be selfless
A sure fire way to keep your marriage clicking is by putting your spouse’s interests before your own. The problem with this is that humans, by nature, are selfish. We do not inherently want to sacrifice our own self interest for someone else’s. However, selfless is a critical component of a successful marriage.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” ~Philippians 2:3-4
Now, since selflessness is not natural, it is a good idea to start small and practice it. So begin like this: plan to do 1 selfless act each day. Put a reminder in your smart phone or planner to remind you, and then do it. Go to the movie your spouse wants to see instead of your choice. Make dinner for wife if she typically makes it. Initiate sex with your husband if he is usually one who drives it. By putting each other first, you are showing your spouse that you care about them.
Men and women both struggle with complacency in marriage. It is a problem that plagues all marriages at one time or another. We get comfortable with each other and forget to put one another first. We forget what it means to give priority to our spouses and slowly our marriages grow apart. But by being intentional about communicating, spending time together, and being selfless we can begin to get our marriages clicking again!