I’ve always been fascinated by “that couple” who seem genuinely happy in every situation in their marriage. The ones who constantly hold hands and gaze into each other’s eyes at every opportunity. I wonder if they really have a healthy marriage. I wonder if they’ve ever had a real fight, or are even wired to fight at all. I know I am.
My husband and I have had more than our fair share of fights over the course of our 20-year marriage.
I’ll probably never be able to go home with that couple to see how things really go down in their home. To see if it’s all an act or if there’s genuine love holding them together. And if they really are that good.
Whatever the truth is, one thing’s for sure about ALL marriages – they require hard work. There’s not one single couple that’s immune to this fact, even “that” couple.
But enough about them. Lol
Two Enemies of a Healthy Marriage
One is much easier to spot and widely known. The other is much more subtle and unexpected. It will invade your marriage like a parasite – sucking the life out of it without you ever knowing until it’s too late.
The widely known enemy to marriage is selfishness. It’s not always easy to fight and overcome, but at least you know it when you see it.
The unexpected enemy – the one with the superb skill of the sneak attack – is complacency.
Just like selfishness, every marriage is vulnerable to the parasite of complacency if you don’t know how to guard yourself against it. But before we can effectively protect ourselves, we need to know what complacency really is.
What is Complacency?
Complacency is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some danger or defect.
When I read this definition it brings to mind someone laying in a hammock with their eyes closed thinking about how their life seems perfectly, perfect. While their enemy quietly makes their approach.
Complacency in your marriage may seem harmless – a lot less than selfishness. Right?
Let me tell you, it’s a lot more harmful because it works like a Trojan Horse. Once you let it in, it’s already done its damage. When you feel complacent, you have this overwhelming sense that you’ve arrived. You finally did it! You’re no longer “working at it.” You’ve become finally “that” couple.
This is exactly where my husband and I got to in our marriage. We fell in love in our teen years and quickly became inseparable. We got married very young and were never, ever apart. Outside of normal disagreements, we always enjoyed being together. We really considered ourselves best friends.
Then, drumroll, please … we started having kids. Nuf said there, right?!
It’s not to say our children messed up our marriage. But we fell for the trap of complacency and had no clue we were headed for danger.
Looking for great books to help you strengthen your marriage? I highly recommend these books and authors:
Living in Our Quiet Comfort
We had the feeling we were “that good.” We didn’t need to take intentional date nights when our children were still little. After all, I just couldn’t hand over my angels to just ANYONE. So, my babies took precedence over my marriage.
And my rockstar husband said, “no problem”. He’s a good man who’s always trying to relieve my stress and make my life easier, so letting it ride seemed like the right to do.
We continued like this three kids later with less and less #TeamUs time. All the while, we rolled with it, feeling none the wiser about the whole thing.
What we didn’t see happening was the slipping away in our hearts. We went about each day in our quiet comfort totally unaware that we went from wishing we had more time together… to get used to our regular routine… to finally not caring so much about it.
Not in an “I don’t want to be married” kind of way. But in an “I forgot how good it used to be” kind of way.
It became easy to not have to work at anything. To just foolishly believe our healthy marriage was divorce-proof. Even though we took a solemn vow to stay committed to each other till death do us part, doesn’t mean we don’t equally have the responsibility to cultivate and nourish our marriage as well.
Now going back to “that couple.” The truth is, if their marriage is indeed the real deal than I’ve got shocking news for you – they’ve put in real work to get there. And more importantly… to stay there.
Related: What to do to Stop a Fight Quickly
3 Lies to Resist in Your Marriage
There are 3 lies that couples tend to believe that set them up for failure down the road. If you can recognize them early, you’ll be armed and ready when complacency tries to show up in your marriage.
Lie #1 Your marriage doesn’t require work
Maybe you want to replace the word work with another like nurture. Whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same. Every single marriage requires attention to keep it healthy and strong. The moment you think you’ve arrived; your strong marriage is in danger. Maybe not tomorrow, but later down the road.
Lie #2 Date Nights Aren’t for Every Marriage
This is a lie that invaded my marriage. We felt the whole date night thing was kind of clique, so we didn’t take them seriously. What we failed to realize was it doesn’t matter what we label them – it only matters that we do them. Having one-on-one alone time on at least a weekly basis is a must for all marriages.
The point is, find something you both enjoy and do it together. It doesn’t have to be a “date” at all. Just be you.
Here are some wonderful love language date night ideas!
Lie #3 Putting the Kids First is OK While They’re Still Little
God created an order for families – God, Spouse, then children. Outside of the necessary taking care of your children, placing them before your spouse can have devastating consequences.
Your husband was there first and he’ll be there with you after they’re gone. If you’re struggling with this one, think of it like this; placing your marriage first will keep your marriage healthy. That’s something your children will be thankful for later. My parents divorced after I was already married with my own children. Simply put… I was devastated.
Your children would rather you take time apart from them if it means they don’t become yet another family torn apart by divorce.
Pray and ask God to show you any areas in your marriage that may have slipped or are vulnerable to complacency. Watch Him give you the wisdom to come back together and leave any trace of complacency behind.
Share your testimony of how you personally overcame a trial or challenge in your marriage in the comments below!