In Kate’s post, “The First Year Marriage Talk” she suggested that every engaged couple find a newlywed couple to talk to. I wanted to expand this idea to talk about what is motivating your marriage. We often talk about marriage as a journey. A path that we are on as husband and wife for a lifetime together. Kate and I just returned from a week long family vacation. When we left for our 6 hour drive the first thing that I did was switch on the car’s cruise control. While I never use this great tool in my day to day driving, it is the first thing I turn to anytime that I am on a journey. While it is great for car trips, it is disaster in your marriage.
Marital Cruise Control
We wake up, get a shower, eat breakfast, go to work, come home play with the kids, eat dinner, put the kids to bed and switch on the tube for an evening of relaxing. Day in and day out. Over and over again the routine of our day often has very little change in it. It is easy to place our marriage on cruise control, just traveling along together day in and day out with very little change.
One of the reasons that I use cruise control on long trips is that it prevents my heavy foot from taking us hurtling down the highway too quickly. Boredom in a car often results in faster speeds, but it is cruise control in marriage traps us from speeding up. When we stick our marriage in cruise we forget to learn, we forget to nurture, we forget to cultivate, all of the things that we need to do in order to keep growing on our journey together.
3 Ways to Take Your Marriage Off of Cruise Control
If you want to take your marriage out of cruise control, you don’t want to “hit the brake”, you want to stamp on the gas. Try something new in the next week and see if you can’t feel a different spark entering in your marriage.
Learn Something New
Learning is a great way to change the norm. Pick up a book, take a class, find a webinar. It doesn’t even have to be a marriage class to have benefit. Find a topic that interests both you and your spouse and learn together. Recently, Kate was photographing a wedding and asked me to help her out. I agreed with the condition that she teach me some of the things that she knows. Together, we took an online professional photography class which helped me to better understand the amazing things she does, and allows me to enter into her hobby on a totally different level of intellectual intimacy.
Do Something New
Getting out of the physical routine is another great way to break out of cruise control. Visit a park, go hiking, visit a local historical site, or museum. A simple day trip can break you out of the day to day.
Meet Someone New
Challenge yourself to find time to spend with another couple. Maybe it is a couple you have spent time with in the past, maybe it is new friends. Call up another couple and have them come over for dinner, play a game together, or just sit and get to know each other. While friend time and time just the two of you must always be kept in the proper balance, another couple can be a great way to come out of the day to day mundane.
What have you done to break the cycle of your marital cruise control?