Couple driving - self-driving marriage

Self-Driving Cars May Be the Future, But Self-Driving Marriages Don’t Exist

Marriage Dynamics InstituteMarriage Health, Uncategorized

Volkswagen is emerging as a leader in one of the newest innovations in drivingThe auto manufacturer is paving the way for self-driving cars, which they think (if the idea gets far enough down the road) will hit the streets by 2021.

The car won’t have any pedals or steering wheel inside, instead relying on cameras and sensors, radar and high-torque computers that use artificial intelligence. No human is necessary, except as a rider.

What’s next, self-driving marriages?

We don’t think that would work. Though systems, structures, and innovative techniques might help sustain and advance the relationship you have with your spouse, there will never be a time when you can just sit back, relax, and put your marriage on autopilot to get it where you want it to go.

You might even be able to develop an algorithm for living within the relationship you have with your spouse, but it will never satisfy the need for you to keep highly in tune with what’s going on in your marriage. Here’s why:

There’s no way to predict the external circumstances you’ll encounter as a couple.

Self-driving cars may be able to get you from point A to B, but that’s assuming no catastrophic events or unexpected roadblocks get in your way. If there’s a big storm while you’re traveling and a telephone pole falls in the road, you’re certainly not going anywhere until it’s out of the way. Self-driving, yes, but that’s only assuming there’s a clear path forward.

Marriage is the same way. During the course of a relationship, countless roadblocks will stand in the way of moving forward as a couple. Those obstacles rarely ever resolve themselves. There’s heavy lifting involved, and sometimes you can’t do it on your own.

Human dynamics are unpredictable and needs change over time.

Perhaps you set a course to head to the grocery store and are gliding along enjoying the ride, but then remember you need to go to the bank. If you never speak up and tell your self-driving car you need to make a detour, or pick a different destination entirely, it’s not going to happen, is it? It’s only as helpful as the information it has been given.

If you’re cruising along in your marriage, thinking you’ve finally got things down and can just ride off into the sunset together, you’re mistaken. As time passes, what you and your spouse need from each other in the way of support, emotional intimacy, physical pleasure, and companionship may change. Those things are always evolving. If you don’t pay attention and do something with the new information that’s available, you’ll end up way off course.

The soul thirsts for engagement, not existence.

Part of the joy of a good drive is the opportunity to take in the scenery, go off the beaten path, and experience new things. Getting to your destination the quickest, most direct way might be efficient, but it probably won’t be as enjoyable.

Don’t relegate your marriage to a business-as-usual, must-be-neat-and-tidy mindset. Relax. Sit back and enjoy the ride, but don’t expect that you can be a spectator and really go anywhere. The good and the bad, the easy and hard, the exciting and low-key. These are all part of a marriage that’s growing and will ultimately be rewarding. In other words, don’t keep things status quo just to get by.

Want a self-driving car? Knock yourself out. Just do yourself a favor and don’t put your marriage on autopilot, too.

Need to rev up the engine in your marriage, or just need a little tune-up? Enroll in one of our marriage courses, Dynamic Marriage or United. Or enjoy a quick refresher during our ReConnect weekend retreat. Call us at 800-650-9995 for more information, or contact us here.

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About the Author

Marriage Dynamics Institute

Marriage Dynamics Institute (MDI) wants to cultivate healthy families, churches, and communities by helping create marriages full of joy, meaning, and purpose. Having served more than 75,000 couples since 1994, MDI offers workshops and seminars for marriages at every stage, including those in crisis.