Let’s face it, our world is a little crazy – too busy, too loud, and too connected. Now more than ever! Most of us are bombarded with stressful “opportunities” every single day whether we like it or not. We’re all going, going, going; and need somewhere safe to just stop.
And our home (our family) is supposed to be that place. Our place to quiet our minds, rest our bodies, re-energize, and connect with those we really care about.
But with divorce rates over half, the home isn’t always what it was intended to be. Many spouses are working late as an excuse to avoid the fight waiting at home. And kids are picking up more activities after school to escape all the tension… just a little longer.
For many families, the home has become an all-out war zone. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And the truth is, we’re all just a few bad decisions away from it ourselves.
Why is Complacency is Bad Thing?
Complacency is dangerous for families because of its subtle nature. It seems harmless.
It’s definition even sounds innocent enough: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.
When we’re complacent, we step into a zone of vulnerability. And I don’t mean the good kind of vulnerability where we allow ourselves to be opened up to new experiences and share our inner secrets with the outside world. Not the Daring Greatly kind of vulnerability!
I’m talking about the vulnerability that a war general would see as a weakness or an open spot for the enemy to come trooping in and attack.
Complacency is simply the feeling that it’s all good in my house. Or there’s no problem in my marriage. Or I have a great relationship with my kids.
It’s not that we should run around alarmed or looking for an attack, but we shouldn’t be passive either.
Yes, it might be “all good” but that doesn’t mean we get to just recline in our quiet pleasure with our hands crossed behind our heads and our hat resting over our faces.
Anything worth having is worth working for. And our family is worth working for.
What do I mean by “working for?”
It means to be actively and continuously looking for ways to be intentional about the relationships in your home. It’s just too easy to let them slip into average.
Complacency Leads to Discontentment
I know this from experiencing it myself. My husband and I have been married for 14 years and dated for almost 5 years before that. We started our relationship as young best friends and haven’t been apart from each other for more than 2 weeks collectively over all that time!
We’ve always been extremely close – still are. But as we grew together and after our first two children, I began to become complacent in my marriage. Simply put, I took my marriage for granted. I was lounging in my quiet pleasure and security.
Though my husband wanted to do more together – without the kids – I didn’t think it was that deep. After all, we had a great relationship. It’s not like we were “working” on anything. Know what I mean?
But over the years, the complacency transformed into discontentment. And I wasn’t as excited about #TeamUs anymore. I wasn’t where he was.
After praying about it, God showed me that we both contributed to this point in our lives by not making the happiness and joy in our marriage a priority. Honestly, we didn’t think we had to. We thought we were just “that good.”
But none of us are. Joy comes as a result of consistent and intentional actions. Isn’t your marriage worth it? I know mine is. And I’m so grateful that we saw our fault and
were able to fix it are still working on it. We should never stop working. We never get “fixed”.
Having intentional happiness in your family isn’t necessarily hard work. But it is work. And it’s so worth it. After all, you love each other, right?!?
But you as a team, have to decide to go for the big guns and not settle for the average home life… Let’s live a higher quality of life!
Here are 4 easy habits for you and your family to implement that’ll help exchange the complacency for happiness, joy, and peace in your marriage and your relationship with your kids. Don’t ever settle for average again:
Habit #1: Have “eyes only on you” time with each member of your family – every day.
Tricia Goyer shared this from her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. It was so simple yet profound. But it does require endurance on your part. And it’s an investment of your time, depending on how many children you have! Yet, it’s time well spent.
If your spouse and your children each have your undivided “eyes only” attention each day, it sends a powerful message to them – YOU Matter. And there’s no revelation more powerful than that. Start out small with 10 minutes for each person, each day. And then work your way up as you develop discipline in this habit.
Habit #2: Designate “unplugged” time for your family as a whole.
I know my family is guilty of being too plugged-in. But making deliberate time to look up from the screen and actually see each other is precious time spent. I’m not a fan of telling people how to spend their unplugged time because every family is unique and flows differently. But here’s a few suggestions:
- Take a walk together after dinner – or even in the morning. Great for the lazy summer.
- Have family reading time. You can all read your own books or read one aloud as a group.
- Eat dinner together. This is a popular one but doesn’t always work for every family.
- Play games. And this one, I’ll make an exception on the electronics. Game systems today are a great way to bring everyone together, as long as you’re all playing one game together.
- Do a daily family devotion time.
- Put a giant puzzle together.
- Do a project together. This one is excellent for developing leadership skills in your kids.
- Have regular date nights with your spouse.
- Here are 13 more great family time ideas!
Habit #3: Have an Open Door/No Freak Out policy.
This is so important at every age and stage with your children and even your spouse. They need to know that no matter what they bring to you… you can handle it.
I remember my mom being somewhat of a “Freak Out” mom, whenever I told her shocking things. Ummm, it’s probably because they were shocking… but moving right along.
I honestly, held back way more than I should have because I was afraid of her response.
We always want our children to come to us first with any and everything they’re dealing with. Don’t open the back door exit for them to go out and get advice from God knows who. You also want the opportunity to give wisdom to your child the way you want them to receive it.
So keep a pillow close by and when the conversation’s over, slam it over your face and go to town with a good scream, cry, or even a laugh! Just don’t let them hear you.
And you may be asking yourself how this applies to getting rid of complacency in your family. It’s simply creating an environment of safe and open communication that gets the conversation going – which is what’s lacking in today’s families. And as a parent, your older child and teenager will bring things to your attention that you’ll be thanking God they did because in the hands of another person, who knows where that conversation can lead if left in the hands of another kid. Plus, all this conversation is sure to keep you on your toes!
If you find yourself in a moment of conflict ask yourself these 21 questions before letting the conflict grow!
Habit #4: Plan family vacations or stay-cations throughout the year.
We all have to manage a budget, so some of us can realistically afford only one vacation a year – if that. But regular time off throughout the year is vital for our health and our family’s. So if you can’t vacate, just stay-cate!
This is super easy with younger children because it doesn’t take much for them to get excited. My husband and I love the surprise approach. We just choose different activities like going to the beach, pool, park, movies, party, and don’t tell them until they get there.
Well actually, it’s a little hard to surprise them with the beach (bathing suits), but you get the point. They usually see where we pull into and start cheering as we get closer. I think it’s more fun for us than the kids.
But when you have older kids and teenagers, I would suggest collaboration on the planning. They want to feel heard and appreciated. Let them brainstorm for ideas on how to spend your time off. You can even let them go online to research what’s going on in your city. Whatever you and your family choose will be great as long as everyone stays committed and connected throughout.
These are just some ways for you and your family to stay closely connected and avoid the subtle trap of complacency. In what ways have you fallen into the trap of complacency? How did you overcome it? Share your methods for keeping your family connected! Leave a comment below and share this post!