Operating on Autopilot?

A recent experience showed me another lesson from the dance floor that I find applicable to Christian marriage.

I have been dancing for more than 12 years, and during that time many dance steps have become second nature to me. Dancers and athletes aspire to this point when movements are committed to muscle memory, when certain activities or actions are so familiar that they become automatic.

A few weeks ago, a turn of events brought to mind exactly how much I dance on autopilot. My planned dance partner had a medical emergency and was unable to participate in the group lessons we were scheduled to instruct. By God’s grace, I was able to find a dance partner to take his place at the last minute, but I was called upon to lead more of the instruction. It was a challenge to instruct beginning dancers on the steps that had become automatic for me over the years.

Are there steps in your marriage that have become second nature to you? In what ways are you operating on autopilot, and are those ways beneficial or damaging to your relationship? If your autopilot is directing you to act in loving and considerate ways toward your spouse, great! Unfortunately, it is equally as easy for the autopilot to operate in ways less beneficial to your partnership.

Incorrect dance steps can become committed to muscle memory as well as the correct ones. Once that is the case, it can be difficult to unlearn the old habits and relearn the steps correctly.

Wherever you are in your marriage, it’s a good idea to take an occasional inventory of how your autopilot is operating. Identify any bad habits you’ve acquired, and start to learn and practice new steps to replace them. Be graceful and forgiving with each other during the learning.

Copr 2009 MarriageDance

3 thoughts on “Operating on Autopilot?

  1. marriagedance on said:

    Speaking of life on autopilot … I ran across this post on the Simple Marriage blog: http://www.simplemarriage.net/is-this-all-there-is.html

    The author encourages the reader to “stand up and address the things in your own life that get in the way of the life you want and in turn, take charge of your life and become more fully alive.”

    Great suggestion for the new year!

  2. This is such a great analogy! I am not a dancer, not even a little! But watching others dance, I see how true this must be! Thanks for sharing what God has placed on your heart through the talents and gifts he has given you! :)

    • Thank you for joining the conversation, Kate. I find it fascinating how many lessons from the dance floor have an application to marriage … demonstrated in this case by each of us writing posts about “auto-pilot.”

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