Last week we talked about the danger of putting your marriage on autopilot. When you disengage from the controls and begin to relax, you lose sight of each other. You stop putting in the hard work. You begin to coast.
A plane can’t coast forever. It either runs out of gas or experiences a situation that disengages the autopilot. When that happens, you have to be able to fly on your own. But some marriages have been on autopilot for years. Are your “piloting” skills still as sharp as they used to be? Do you still know each other?
To keep your marriage flying high, I want to introduce you to several things I was taught while learning how to fly a plane. They apply to marriage, too.
First, believe that you can crash. Regardless of skill, no pilot is invincible. “If you believe you’re bullet-proof and aren’t going to crash,” I once heard, “then you’re probably the guy who’s going to crash.”
Pilots need to be sober-minded and understand a crash can happen to anyone. I once knew a wonderful couple with a powerful marriage ministry. Their teachings literally prevented hundreds of couples from getting divorced.
Then this couple’s marriage fell apart when the husband had an affair. “I didn’t listen to my own teaching,” the man said. They got divorced.
Regardless of how strong your marriage may seem, it’s not invincible. When you understand you’re not invincible, then you work hard to keep your marriage safe.
Second, respect the laws. For pilots, this means respecting the laws of aerodynamics. Follow those laws and your plane will have no problem staying in the air. But when those laws are violated; that’s when a plane falls from the sky.
God created four laws for marriage. If you don’t follow these, your marriage may crash to the ground. People will get hurt. Here are those four laws:
- Priority: Marriage has to be first. If your children come first, if your job comes first, if your social media accounts come first, your marriage will be at risk. Period. No matter how busy or important you are, marriage takes priority.
- Pursuit: You have to work at it. Some people think there’s something wrong if their marriage takes effort. They think it should be a fairytale relationship of two perfect soul mates. But even if you marry the ideal person, you still have to work at it. You have to pursue each other.
- Possession: God described marriage as two becoming one. No one spouse can dominate the relationship, control the money, or make all the decisions. Men and women are equals, and marriage requires two people working as a team. You don’t get married to live two separate lives but to share a life together.
- Purity: Adam and Eve trusted each other and had no shame until sin entered the Garden. Early in our marriage, my harsh wounds and refusal to take responsibility for my behavior brought impurity and distrust into our relationship. Our intimacy disappeared. Intimacy can’t be restored until purity returns.
Finally, the third thing I learned as a pilot is to refuel the plane regularly. Run out of gas in a car and you pull onto the shoulder. Run out of gas in a plane and you plummet to the ground. Are you regularly filling your marriage with God, prayer, Scripture, romance, communication, and fun? That’s marriage fuel. You can’t fly without it. Don’t let your fuel tank go empty.
Disengage from autopilot and fly your marriage the right way. Follow God’s laws, keep it fueled up, and you’ll find yourself flying high for a lifetime.