Think back to the last time you had to drive somewhere for hours. Your foot is tired from driving so much and you just want to give it some rest. When you’re on a long stretch of road with few cars around or potential hazards, you want to turn on cruise control, right? This mechanism with a car has its pros: it can save gas and it keeps your driving consistent. However, when it comes to marriage, cruise control is a dangerous place to be.
what cruise control looks like in marriage
I think cruise control in marriage is like when you’re just going through the motions: kiss goodbye, “honey I’m home”, kiss goodnight. Maybe you still go out on dates but it’s just the same thing every weekend and something that you don’t even have to socialize with each other to do, like seeing a movie. When these little complacent actions are done over months at a time, you start getting used to it, and you stop paying attention.
And that’s the dangerous part of cruise control in marriage, YOU CAN’T STOP PAYING ATTENTION! Even though your foot gets to rest off of the gas, you’re still expected to hold and guide the steering wheel, making sure nothing hazardous suddenly appears. Not doing so could result in an accident… Especially when you come to areas of sudden traffic.
There is lots of safety when it comes to paying attention. Not only do you lessen your likelihood of getting in an accident, but the sudden traffic is not so abrupt. You know what I mean? I can think back on many times where I have been driving on the freeway and I see some new scenery or new building to look at. When I look back up, suddenly everyone starts putting on their brake lights and I have to slam on my brakes to avoid hitting them. If I had been looking up the entire time, I would have been able to anticipate the need to brake much earlier.
Translate this to marriage —-> Spouses often think everything is going fine in their relationship until their spouse brings up an issue and it feels completely out of nowhere. Maybe you are so caught off guard because you hadn’t picked up on your spouse’s behaviors lately. Maybe your spouse should have communicated how they were feeling sooner, but it is also your responsibility to be available for them to do so.
I think it all comes down to action. These ideas of ‘paying attention’ and ‘making yourself available’ are actions that require effort and intention. When it comes to traveling on this road of marriage, you have to put in that effort. You cannot sit back and cruise through your relationship, you have to be an active participant to prevent as many of those rough patches as you can! It’s OK to need a break to take care of yourself, just be active in communicating that to your spouse. Go have a spa day or a weekend getaway with your friends, or even just go take a nap, haha. We all need to rest and refuel so we can give our best selves to our spouse.