Crammed schedules, kids to care for, a demanding boss, the ever-present television. No wonder our attentiveness to our couple relationship erodes over time, leaving us with less connection, less spark, and less intimacy.

Without an active, intentional mindset, most contemporary marriages end up on ‘autopilot’.

During courtship, our relationship is central in our awareness and the rest of our lives are in the background. We sink huge amounts of time and effort into each other and it pays off — our relationship develops rapidly and we feel more and more ‘in love’.

When we marry, and particularly after we have children, this changes. Other things — the children, work, home chores, hobbies, committees — take centre stage and our relationship moves to the background. It often only gets our attention when there’s something wrong.

Mediocre Marriage

For most of our married lives, we operate without really thinking about it. Like being on autopilot, we just go with the flow. We’re not actively thinking about where we want to be in our relationship, we’re not setting goals for our intimacy or planning time to spend in developing skills and insights that will enrich our marriage and keep it healthy and joyful.

Being on autopilot is comfortable and easy going. It is also dangerous.

Too many marriages falter through lack of attention. As our spouse walks out of the door and out of our life, we realise, too late, that we have been fatally complacent. There may not have been fighting, not even a major argument. We just grew ‘out of love’ and into indifference.

Soon, our comfortable, easygoing, autopilot relationship has become a mere shell of a marriage, with little to nourish us or keep us together.

Make a Change

The time to be proactive in your marriage is right now. An intentional couple will turn off the autopilot and take control of their journey together.

Start by doing some research: at the end of each day ask your spouse, “When did you feel most loved by me in the last 24 hours?  When did you feel least loved?” Learn from the answers — do more of the former and less of the latter.

So turn off the autopilot and become a test pilot. Push the boundaries of complacency in your relationship and set your ambition for your marriage higher. And then go for it! … marriage should be a thrilling ride!


Originally published at SmartLoving. Photo by Anete Lusina.

Published On: October 7th, 20220 CommentsTags: , ,

About the Author: Byron and Francine Pirola

Married for 25 years, with 5 children, Byron & Francine Pirola are the founders and co-authors of the SmartLoving Series – marriage enrichment and marriage preparation courses designed to help build successful and resilient marriages. International speakers and authors of numerous articles on marriage, more than 3000 couples have attended their programs, workshops and conferences in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain Byron & Francine are Executive Directors of the Marriage Resource Centre from which they run SmartLoving programs and produce digital resources. Francine graduated from Fordham University with a Masters in Religion and Religious Education. Byron is a founding partner of the strategic consulting firm, Port Jackson Partners Limited, and a Director of both listed and unlisted companies. He holds a PhD from the Commonwealth Centre for Gene Technology, Adelaide University.

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