Complacency: It Can Destroy Your Marriage


Complacency can destroy your marriage.


You want to stay married.  So you avoid arguments and run-ins with your partner, accepting a relationship that’s in second gear.  You feel it’s a good choice: you will not destroy your marriage.  But it’s a bad choice.  You are settling for complacency. And possibly you’ve put your relationship last, afraid to risk communicating your needs or asking your spouse what his or her needs are.  You are not happy; maybe you would like to bring back the times when you danced together.

Marriage is a living thing that needs to be fed and nourished with love and communication.  Plants don’t thrive when ignored and a marriage won’t either.  Inattention to the details of a relationship can encourage a partner to turn away.

Is your marriage heading toward complacency?  First, answer these questions.

  1. What attracted you to your spouse?
  2. Why did you decide to get married?
  3. What things, events, etc have brought changes in your relationship?
  4. Do you communicate your love to your spouse on a regular basis?
  5. Do you see your marriage as so solid you can take it for granted?

Now consider—

  • If initial attractions have changed, you need to build on new ones.
  • If your decision to get married was based on head-over-heels reasons, there are still plenty of solid aspects to work on.
  • Death, illness, life-changes can definitely stress a marriage, but with communication and love it can flourish once again.
  • Ignoring a spouse is the fastest way to losing him or her.
  • Marriage is fragile and always needs love and attention.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist,Pamela Peldo, suggests the following actions to strengthen a marriage and move it away from the dangers of complacency:

  • Tell the other person you love them on a daily basis.
  • Stress that they are a priority in your life and that you want to be with them.
  • Compliment your partner on a regular basis and be sincere.
  • Do thoughtful things that help them, demonstrating your love, appreciation and respect.
  • Prioritize spending time and being intimate with your partner.

Did you know that close relationships (like marriage) as well as social interactions “…have profound physiological benefits, from reduced risk of depression to enhanced immune function,” writes Stephen S. Ilardi, Ph.D. author of The Depression Cure (Da Capo Lifelong).  “Levels of the toxic stress hormone cortisol drop precipitously when we find ourselves in the company of …loved ones.  If you layer in the physical touch of a friend (loved one) you also experience increased activity of the feel-good brain chemicals dopamine and oyxtocin.” That’s great news.

And statistics will always indicate that married people live longer.

So you’re wondering if your partner would dance with you again.  Not sure you want to take a risk, to ask?  Complacency means dismissing the idea.  Connection and affection means taking action.  So give it a try.  Turn on the music, open your arms and live in the moment.  You dance, you embrace, and here’s a good thing: research also shows that people feel happiest when engaging in conversation, exercising and making love. (Check out the iPhone app trackyourhappiness)

Rid yourself of complacency and you won’t destroy your marriage.

Complacency: It Can Destroy Your Marriage

Talk to one another–it can lead to a life dance.


6 thoughts on “Complacency: It Can Destroy Your Marriage

  1. Beth,

    I sure hope you have the nieces and nephews addresses. We have to make sure the next generation’s marriage keeps strong growing in the kind of love that keeps it that way. Good message!!

    • Thanks for your comment, Pat. It is an important message for young people just starting a marriage. Would love to have more young people signed on to the blog. Best to you and George.

  2. Beth,

    This is a great article, and one that can apply to any relationship. Push the complacency aside and relate to others, it will make all of us better.

    • Thanks Bill. I love that you apply complacency to other relationships! It’s so true that friendships can wither and fold if they are not nourished with attention and kind words. We need to be able to say to those we care about: “I care about you! You mean a lot in my life.” Beth

  3. Good article. Great advice. We just need to stop and remember the person closest to us and remind them of how much we love them.

    • Thanks, Therese. You words are so true and yet just the simplest phrase to let that important person know how important they are sometimes doesn’t happen as often as it should in our busy lives. I thank you and I care about you! Beth

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