3 Ways to Take Your Marriage Off Auto-Pilot and Avoid the Crash and Burn

BY: - 31 Jul '17 | Marriage

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There’s nothing like the excitement of a new relationship. I recently went to a friend’s birthday party and watched as she interacted with a gentleman I didn’t know. However, their body language said it all. His eyes followed her around the room. Her smile brightened each time he was near her.  She leaned in toward him when she spoke. There was a care and attentiveness to their interaction that bespoke of newfound love. And, it was actually fun to watch.

But aren’t they all like that…new relationships. He’s in tune with her needs. She makes an effort to learn about and enjoy the things he likes to do. He takes time each day to call her just to say hello. She surprises him with a homemade lunch at work. He asks her out on a date, plans something special, and arrives on time. She steps out for the evening with her man, hair and make up on point and dressed to the nines.

Marriage, albeit complicated, is an amazing relationship and it needs our attention on a daily basis if it’s to stay that way.


The journey into romance is sweet and if it leads to marriage, all the better. It’s just that for many couples, after they’ve been together for a while, things start to become routine. The excitement of the relationship wears off and somewhere along the road, either…or both, push the dreaded auto-pilot button. You know the one – wake up, shower, eat, drop off the kids, go to work, leave work, get the kids, eat dinner, bed, repeat. When that happens, life, and your relationship with your spouse, begins the slow descent into an unfulfilling, boring, and dangerous abyss.

  • He’s no longer concerned with her needs
  • She’s no longer aware of his desires
  • Work and career become his first priority
  • The needs of their kids become her only focus
  • She leaves him to his interests and flies solo with her own
  • He no longer asks her out on dates and chills on the couch

No matter the culture, race, or religion, marriages across the board are taking a hit because they have succumbed to being on auto-pilot. If you find your relationship spiraling downward and desire to regain control, here are three suggestions to get things back in the air and avoid the crash and burn.

Daily Face to Face

Marriage, albeit complicated, is an amazing relationship and it needs our attention on a daily basis if it’s to stay that way. We perform our checks and balances to make sure that nothing has gone wrong that could further complicate matters. Just as each partner needs to give daily attention to a new dating relationship so that it can grow and mature, a husband and wife needs to give daily attention to their marriage for it to continue to blossom. Whether you spend five quality minutes or fifty, put in the time that works for you and talk…not about the kids or the chores or the finances. Rather, spend time talking about your dreams, laughing about your faults, and connecting with each others hearts…and wherever else you want.

Weekly Dating

Giving your marriage the respect it deserves can easily begin with a date. One of the quickest ways to turn off the auto-pilot is to find fun and exciting things to do with each other. Take a salsa class. Learn a new language together. Go on an art infused date. There are so many opportunities to engage in the new and the unusual. Developing new hobbies and spending time doing them together will keep the relationship fresh, just as it did when you were dating.

Monthly focus

Establishing a monthly focus in your relationship is paramount if you intend to get your marriage off auto-pilot. Where is your marriage in need of work? What are the areas that need your attention this month? What potential pitfalls should you be aware of? What are your partner’s needs and concerns right now? Getting back in the habit of being in tune with your partner requires the same focus you had when you were dating. So while you take the time to laugh daily and date weekly, don’t forget those monthly heart to heart conversations that focus your attention on the rough spots and help draw you close.

Getting your marriage off auto-pilot and putting your relationship back on track is worth the effort. You will find that putting in the time needed will be just as exciting as developing a new romance. For you and your spouse, it will be a beautiful journey. For the rest of us looking in, it will be fun to watch.

BMWK, are you ready to take your marriage off of auto-pilot?

About the author

Joann Fisher wrote 157 articles on this blog.

Joann Fisher has been a writer and editor for both print and online newpapers and magazines for the last 10 years. She now serves as a Writer/Editor at BMWK and lead Editor for The Joy Network.


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Did My Husband Cross the Line by Agreeing to Sleep with My Sister So That We Could Have a Baby?

BY: - 8 Aug '17 | Marriage

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Dear Dr. Buckingham,

Please help me work through my anger and disappointment with my husband. I married my husband who was also my high school sweet heart. We have been together 10 years and have had problems over the past two years because I recently learned that I could not have children. This has caused us to fight often because my husband told me that he wanted children when we got married.

When I first found that I could not birth children, he was very supportive. But, over time, he grew angry. Out of desperation, I thought about asking my younger sister to sleep with my husband with the intent of getting pregnant. I know that this sounds like something from a Jerry Springer show, but I felt desperate and knew that my sister would do anything for me.

Most people told me that my husband and I should have hired a surrogate mother or adopted a child, but we could not afford it so I wanted to ask my sister. I told my husband what I was thinking and he agreed to sleep with my sister. I got extremely angry with him because he said yes. I was disappointed because I was hoping that he would tell me that I was out of my mind. After he agreed, we fought daily and I ended up telling him that I was not sure if our marriage would last. Did My Husband Cross the Line by Agreeing to Sleep with My Sister?

Disappointed Wife

Ask Dr. Buckingham

Dear Disappointed Wife,

First, I would like to say that I am sorry to hear about your birthing challenge. Second, I would like to say that I am not in a position to judge anyone. I believe that God has the final say regarding our actions. My response is not intended to be judgmental, but to shed light on a complex situation. With this in mind, I believe that both you and your husband crossed the line.

You asked him to violate his vows and he agreed. I understand that you were desperate and under emotional distress and that he was frustrated. However, you both took wedding vows and agreed to have and hold each other for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, and until death.

Your proposal and your husband’s response were both indecent. This situation truly reflects the severity of your marital discord. The amount of emotional distress that is demonstrated due to your birthing challenge is worthy of seeking professional help.

Some people would tell you to leave your husband because he agreed to your proposal knowing that you were not emotionally stable. Others would say that he has a thing for your sister. Please be careful of what and whom you listen to. A lot of us say that we would never compromise our morals or values. While this sounds good and ethical, I can tell you that a lot of people do a lot of bad things when they are emotionally hijacked. Emotional hijacking refers to a state when an individual’s logical thinking is overpowered by his/her emotions.

Before you crucify your husband and throw your marriage away, please get help for your emotional distress. I believe that you placed him and yourself in a very awkward situation. Your marriage may or may not recover from this situation. Please get some professional help so that you and your husband can do what is best for you all.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please send an email to askdrbuckingham@gmail.com

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

About the author

Dwayne Buckingham wrote 220 articles on this blog.

Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, author of Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single and Unconditional Love: What Every Woman and Man Desires in a Relationship, is a highly acclaimed international clinical psychotherapist, life coach, relationship and resiliency expert, motivational speaker and corporate consultant. He is also the President and Chief Executive Officer of R.E.A.L. Horizons Consulting Service, located in Silver Spring, Maryland. To learn more about Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham visit his website at www.DrBuckingham.com.


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