One of my biggest fears in marriage is that Kristen and I would just co-exist in a good marriage. Because she is such a low maintenance spouse, I might take her for granted or even take advantage of her. I don’t want this to be our story.
A while back author, ethicist, theologian, and President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Russell Moore, joined the staff of Watermark Community Church at our weekly staff meeting. I hold a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for Dr. Moore. I’ve tracked with him from a distance through his blog, podcast, and books. By all accounts, he loves Jesus and leads the ERLC and his family with integrity and character.
I asked him, “What are you learning in your roles as a husband and father.” Dr. Moore claimed his wife is the most low maintenance woman in the world. I’d argue with him (I’d put Kristen up against her any day!), but regardless he shared how grateful he is to be married to Maria. They made a rule when they got married that both of them could not go crazy at the same time. As a marriage pastor for over 10 years, I’d say that’s pretty darn good advice! I’m the drama queen in our marriage, so I’m glad Kristen brings stability and a level head to our home and family.
He shared that his tendency, since he’s married to a low maintenance woman, could be that he might find himself taking advantage of his wife and taking her for granted. Since he travels often and tends to be the more ‘crazy’ one in their marriage, he knows he could easily take advantage of his low maintenance wife. I’ve had this thought many times as a married man, but Dr. Moore articulated it very well.
As I’ve reflected on his words the past few days, I’ve thought of at least four potential dangers or fears for those of us who are married to a low maintenance spouse. I don’t want to be the guy who takes his wife for granted.
4 Cautions Regarding a Low Maintenance Spouse
1. It’s easy to put your needs before their needs. Marriage calls for us to be one flesh (Genesis 2:24-25), and demands that we put our spouse’s needs before our own (Philippians 2:3-4). But, with a low maintenance spouse it’s easy to put our needs before their’s and to take advantage of them because they’re so laid back.
- Solution: Apply Philippians 2:3-4 and Mark 10:44-45. Follow the example of Christ in His selfless service. What are two ways you can serve your low maintenance spouse today?
2. You can make things like Valentine’s day and date nights a low priority. I tend to buck up against Valentine’s Day, and Kristen and I often say we don’t need February 14th to remind us to love each other. In the process, I can swing the pendulum too far the other way and become lazy and complacent.
- Solution: Ask your low maintenance spouse what they would like for Valentine’s Day or their birthday. Don’t simply accept their answer without using discernment. Live with your spouse in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7).
3. I can think my marriage is great because of me. Sometimes I think Kristen is a lucky gal. Out of all the bad guys out there, she did well in landing me. And sometimes, because Kristen is such an easy, low maintenance spouse, I think our marriage is amazing. Yes, there are some amazing moments, but the reason our marriage is great is because of the grace of God (and because my wife is awesome).
- Solution: Remember that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Pursue a life of humility. Be like John the Baptist who said (about Jesus), “He must increase, and I must decrease.”
4. I forget how to cherish her. Because they rarely complain, you might forget how to cherish, value, and nourish your low maintenance spouse. I get lazy and don’t go out of my way to appreciate Kristen. I want her to be the most cherished wife around, but if I don’t intentionally pursue her, then we will co-exist in a decent marriage, but not a great one.
- Solution: Read Gary Thomas’ outstanding new book, Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage. I read this book earlier this year and loved it. It’s challenged and inspired me to better cherish my wife.
- Discuss this post with your spouse. Is either of you a low maintenance spouse? Do you ever take your spouse for granted or take advantage of them?
- Which of the four things above do you need to most watch out for in your marriage?