Living Life, Marriage, People & Relationships

Breaking My Marriage Autopilot

I think it happened somewhere around the time of our son’s birth. Or maybe during his transition from milk to solid foods, or one daycare to another.

Perhaps sometime the first season … or second phase … of job changes and promotions.

Or ministry growth and business opportunities.

Maybe in the midst of never-ending home projects. (P.S. That table we started building last fall? Still not done.)

Breaking My Marriage Autopilot

Somewhere along the way, I flipped on the switch for my marriage autopilot and our trajectory shifted. Now I know, the official role of an autopilot is a system to control your trajectory without ‘hands-on’ control by a human operator. But that only works when you know the exact destination.

  • Departure: 6AM. Wake up. Coffee.
  • Destination: 8PM. At home, kid in bed, everyone alive and fed.

This scenario works reasonably well on autopilot. My brain launches into a trained sequence of events—packed lunch, drop off, work, pick up, laundry, dinner, bedtime—and my dutiful hands follow suit.

Breaking My Marriage Autopilot

But while autopilot executes scheduled meetings and to-do lists, it’s easy for my marriage to slip by under the radar. To assume that as long as we’re not fighting, we’re in a good place. That’s how the course can shift from life with my best friend, passionate lover, dream sharer, & secret keeper  to survival with my fellow diaper changer, co-errand runner, sometimes competitor.

Have you ever felt that shift? Like your marriage keeps taking off and landing at the same two airports, back and forth, back and forth? That’s because autopilot can’t take you anywhere else.

How I’m Breaking My Marriage Autopilot

This isn’t how I’m fixing broken things, healing relational wounds, or coming together with my husband to work on a problem. Please hear me: this action is about ME turning off MY automatic controls because I recognize that my relationship can’t coast in to the exciting future God has for us. Lots of relational health grows from both people coming together to reconcile and choose a different course. But this thing, this little system of using all my strength and focus and energy elsewhere and trusting my marriage self-sustain for yet another day, this I’m changing by myself because I’m choosing to be more intentional in my marriage.

And I’m starting with baby steps.

Breaking My Marriage Autopilot

  • In these 5 minutes now, what purposeful way can I encourage my husband?

  • What area can I bring before the Lord on Jared’s behalf this week?

  • As I plan out my day, have I reserved any energy to pour into the most important human relationship in my life? If not, how can I fix that?

  • Lord, please help me to intentionally pour into my marriage.

  • What one thing do I want to cultivate in my relationship with Jared this month?

  • Does [this thing] (phone, ap, email, call) need to be handled now or is there a better way to spend this moment?

P.S. if you’re a planner like me, you’ll LOVE Lara Casey’s PowerSheets! I’ve just started using mine and already feel so much more intentional in how I go about my day! (I’m not an affiliate, just a fan.)

This is me today. Recognizing that with all the doing and living, working and adulting, my marriage runs a bit status-quo. We’re good, but I don’t want to settle for puddle hopping from one busy week to the next. I’m breaking my marriage autopilot and choosing a better destination.