Tag Archives: on marriage

On marriage: never sliding into complacency

**The third in my mini-series on marriage. I am exploring why I want it (or trying to), what goes into a successful marriage, and snippets of conversations M and I have had on this very topic**

I think one of my biggest fears when it comes to marriage is sliding into complacency. Looking back on my previous marriage, I think that is ultimately what did us in. It’s like a silent ‘killer’ of sorts, that isn’t easily seen until it’s (sometimes) too late. So now, I am hyper aware to it, almost too hyper aware to it, in a way. Overanalyzing my (or M’s actions) and worrying about getting too comfortable and worse, complacent.

And I think complacency can mean several things.

Complacency in showing each other love. Whether this is intimacy, a touch, a hug, a kiss. It’s easy to just go through the motions, rather than to stop whatever you are doing in that moment and focus on just them. Just that hug. Just that kiss. Nothing else matters. Back to the very first touch or kiss or hug. The magic of it. Keeping that alive, while hard to do all the time, at a minimum, being present in the moment of a loving gesture goes a thousand miles further than a kiss out of habit. (it goes back to can’t-wait-ing too…not rush, rush, rush through it all. Focus. BE. Presence.).

Complacency in fostering your relationship. As I said in a previous post, marriage (and any longstanding relationship for that matter!) is not ‘set it and forget it.’ It takes work. It takes dedication. It takes commitment. And most of all, it takes time. When things are going smoothly, it’s REALLY easy to just go with that. And for it to feel good and normal. But I challenge you…is normal *good?* Or is it borderline complacency? I tend to think it borders complacency. Our relationships should always be challenging and growing and (re)freshed. It should never be the same. This is what I want my marriage to look like. A challenge. (in a good way)

Complacency in spoken words of love. M is very good at spoken words of love. And I am not. I show, he speaks (and shows!). I tell him that I love him all the time but he is just so good at the unexpected words of love when I need it most (like the other day!). It’s something I am working on and something I think is so very important. To tell them him that I love that he always compliments me at moments I need it most, or that he calmly takes the trash out even when I pile it high (and I get the eye roll) and that he makes a mean scrambled egg. The #littlethings that he does. In addition to the big ones. I just assume that he knows. But why should I assume and why should he just know? I know I love to hear it, and I think he does too. But it’s easy to fall back into the habit of showing, not saying. Complacency. I’m working on it.

Complacency. This is a huge one for me. And I think being hyper aware of it helps, but doesn’t mean I still don’t catch myself falling into it sometimes.

What about you? What do you think complacency means in a marriage or relationship?

On marriage…it takes more than ‘just’ love.

**The second in my mini-series on marriage. I am exploring why I want it (or trying to), what goes into a successful marriage, and snippets of conversations M and I have had on this very topic**

I used to think you just need love to make a marriage work. To make it successful. You ‘just’ need love. 

Think about that statement for a minute.

‘Just’ love and the rest is turnkey? 

‘Just’ love and your views and lifestyles and outlook and effort and devotion and loyalty don’t matter? 

‘Just’ love and marriage just…happens?

‘Just love’ sounds romantic and all but…uh, no. I’m pretty sure that’s what led to my divorce in the first place (in hindsight, of course). That ‘set it and forget it’ mentality. M and I have talked about this on several occasions, actually. That marriage, to us, now, especially (after both going through divorces), means that while love is the catalyst for marriage and uniting your lives, a devoted partnership is the foundation for a successful marriage.

And in that partnership comes allowing of each other’s interests and endevours (sharing in them when it makes sense, but always supporting them).

It also means supporting them up and lifting them up when they need it, too. Pushing them, driving them, motivating them to their goals, and to your collective goals as a unit. It’s the give and take aspect of a relationship that I think really makes or breaks a marriage. It’s a partnership in every sense of the word.

It means the ability to see that person as the parent to your children…and believing that they would indeed make a good parent…and together, being good parents together. Not one having responsibility and the other…not. A team.

It also means respecting each other, first and foremost. Marriage shifts the priority from you-centric to us-centric, which also includes our families (something I didn’t really have in my past marriage – that respectful family relationship with his family), too.

And it some cases, it means defending each other. Standing up for each other. Being each other’s shield. (I don’t know how to explain this one…but I hope that makes sense).

It also means being passionate for each other and about each other. And not just in the traditional sense of passion. To just want as much for them in this life as we want for ourselves.

Marriage takes so much more than ‘just’ love and these are just some examples of what I think of when I think about what I want my marriage to look like. And ultimately, I want to be empowered in and for my marriage. I don’t want to just be a participant. I want to drive it, fuel it, keep it as fresh as the very first day, to our very last. 

That, to me, is what marriage is.

What is marriage to you?