You quit working in those little moments to make your marriage better, and you begin to succumb to what is. 

Why do we quit paying attention? Because it is hard work to care, it is hard work to discipline ourselves to be careful, and it is hard work to always be thinking of the other person. Now, be prepared to have your feelings hurt: you and I tend to want the other to work hard because that will make our lives easier, but we don't really want to have to sign in for the hard work ourselves. Oh, I'm not done! I think there is an epidemic of marital laziness among us. We want to be able to coast and have things not only stay the same but get better. And I am absolutely persuaded that laziness is rooted in the self-centeredness of sin.

We have already examined the antisocial danger of this thing inside us that the Bible calls sin. We have already considered that it turns us in on our­selves, but it does something else. It reduces us to marital passivity. We want the good things to come to us without the hard work of laying the daily bricks that will result in the good things. And we are often more focused on what the other is failing to do and more focused on waiting for him to get his act together than we are on our own commitment to doing whatever is daily necessary to make our marriages what God intended them to be. 

You can have a good marriage, but you must understand that a good marriage is not a mysterious gift. No, it is, rather, a set of commit­ments that forges itself into a moment-by-moment lifestyle.

Paul Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is "Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life." Tripp is also professor of pastoral life and care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella, and they have four grown children. For more information, visit http://www.paultrippministries.org/store 

[Editor's note: Taken from What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage (Crossway, 2010), by Paul David Tripp.]