Tips On How to Fight Complacency in Your Marriage
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Are either or both of you feeling a sense of complacency in your marriage? Success in careers or parenting are significant accomplishments, but they are no replacement for having a thriving and satisfying relationship with your life partner.
It’s so natural to focus on our careers and raising a family that we forget our responsibility to our mate and our relationship.
When we’re so busy that we don’t have time for our spouse, it’s a sign of complacency. When we don’t have time to talk or be together, we have pushed our marriage to the bottom of our priority list. This marks the beginning of deterioration in a relationship.
Take a realistic look at your relationship and ask yourself, “Do any of the following indicators of relationship complacency describe me and my marriage?”
- Few and infrequent expressions of kindness or affection
- Saying “I love you” infrequently or in a superficial manner
- Not “being present” or being distracted when you are together
- Being lazy or sloppy with the little things that communicate respect, like picking up your clothes, taking out the trash, leaving a mess, etc.
- Shallow conversations with no heart connection
- Sniping and bickering about non-essential topics
- Having a numb heart or a critical spirit regarding your spouse
The antidote to complacency is quite simple: court your spouse like you did before you were a couple. As the saying goes, “If there were more courting in marriage, there would be fewer marriages in court!”
Date your mate.
While it is true that your schedule is hectic, you can make time for a weekly date if you want to, if it is a priority. It doesn’t have to be on a Friday or Saturday night. Any time is great for a date if you agree to take the time to focus on and enjoy each other. You don’t have to spend much if any, money either. You must, however, dedicate this time to being alone– just the two of you. You need this time alone desperately.
When you first dated, you made yourself attractive to each other. You picked out clothes and prepared for the date. You planned dates that you thought would be enjoyable for you both. You invested time and thought into these experiences. It’s not complicated; make an effort!
Plan an adventure or getaway.
Chances are, you had adventures together when you were dating. Chances are also that you are having few to none of those adventures presently. You’ve fallen into a rut, and maybe even a monotonous, predictable, and dull state of being.
Too many couples think they can postpone fun and adventure until after they finish their work or after they retire. Trips are deferred until life calms down or the kids move out of the house. This thinking is mistaken because there is always something to demand our time and attention and prevent us from breaking away.
So, why not plan your adventure today? Do something that you’ve never done before or take a trip to a destination that is new to you both. You could sign up for a class and learn a new skill together. Whatever you do, break the routine and make it happen!
Be more affectionate.
Do you remember how you couldn’t keep your hands off each other when you were dating? Now you don’t even hold hands and rarely kiss one another. When affection wanes, so do connection and intimacy.
We are geared to need physical affection. However, you may not “feel” affectionate for various reasons. Stress, health issues, fatigue, or even unresolved bitterness or resentment can cause a lack of desire for affection. However, it is a mistake to wait until you feel affectionate to show affection to your spouse. Emotion follows motion. In other words, your feelings will always follow your behavior. Make an effort, and your feelings will catch up. Physical contact should be a part of your daily connection with your spouse.
One way to put affection back into your relationship is to institute the practice of “ten-second hugs” and “ten-second kisses.” Either one of you can call for a ten-second hug or a ten-second kiss, and the other responds by participating. Don’t think that it will lead to sex! You don’t want to sabotage the agreement by expecting sex. It might set the stage for sexual intimacy later, but for now, let it just be a kiss or a hug.
Now is the time to turn your attention to your relationship. Please don’t wait until it is too late and then try to salvage what is left of the relationship that you once had. That will take far more time and effort than cultivating your relationship now. If you’re going to go the distance with your partner, you must develop your life together now.