Marriage is for life—or at least, that is the intention. The traditional vows state that you agree to take each other for better or for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, ’til death do you part. So what happens during the holidays? Do these comprehensive, loving ideals go on auto-pilot?
In this modern age, lots of machines work on auto-pilot, meaning that they work without our having to put forth any effort. For example, one new vacuum cleaner putters around the house all by itself. Although a lot of devices today manage to work without conscious human intervention, a relationship isn’t one of them. Without tending, a relationship goes adrift like an untied boat. Before you know it, you’re out to sea but your partner is still on shore.
During the holidays, we get so busy that we hope our relationship will just maintain itself. It is easy to fall out of touch and lose sight of each other’s emotional state and deeper needs. Although life is hectic, especially during the winter holidays, both partners need to deliberately make time to share activities with each other and communicate meaningfully each day. During this time that represents family closeness and spiritual renewal for many people, we need to confirm, that we’re both “on the same page” and headed in the same direction. It’s an opportunity to renew our closeness. It is from this intimacy that we draw the strength to go out into the mundane world the next day.
What Happens When a Marriage Gets Stuck on Auto-Pilot?
Ordinary daily married life can get tedious even without the stress of buying gifts and planning family occasions. Even our most important relationships can often end up on an auto-pilot without anybody deciding to let go of the helm. Couples can stop being mindful of how important their marriage is. People are often so busy that they don’t pay attention to each other. They don’t take time to enjoy the richness that their relationship offers, instead they let life drag them along for the ride. Other things seem so much more important, such as that special purse your teenage daughter must have or the newest technological game your school-age son is hoping for.
But if there is one lesson the holidays have to offer, it is this: We shouldn’t take anything for granted. Miracles hide within the ordinary aspects of our lives, and love won’t sustain itself indefinitely. Ask yourself this season, who you are most grateful to have in your life, then go to that person with whatever it takes to nourish and perpetuate love and gratitude. With that bright blessing in heart and hand, the longest night of the year will easily give way to a greater connection and feeling of love.