Alex and I have just returned from a weekend trip to Boston. We had such a great time. If you ever get the opportunity to go to Boston we highly recommend it. It is a beautiful town filled with a rich history, great food, and tons of stuff to do and see! Before we jump into our topic tonight, below are just a few pictures from our weekend adventure.
The trip was amazing but like our other vacations, the Lord had a lesson for us to learn and apply in our marriage. Before every single trip, Alex and I take we always pray the same prayer.
Abba, meet us there. Show us wild and beautiful things and speak to us in ways that only we will understand.
The absolutely amazing part is that He always without fail answers this prayer. It genuinely blows my mind all the ways we see and hear Him when we are traveling. This particular time the lesson He had in store for us came about in an interesting way. Let me give you a little back story.
This was a surprise trip for Alex. He had absolutely no idea that we were going to Boston until the day before. On Monday before we left (remember Alex has no idea about the trip at this point) we were talking about what to do this blog on and I was throwing out some ideas when Alex mentioned airplanes. He said that the attitude of a plane determines it’s altitude so maybe we should talk about attitudes and how they determine the direction a marriage takes. I thought it was very cool and very prophetic that Alex had this idea with no knowledge of the upcoming trip. I thought that was a very unique way for the Lord to give us our blog topic.
So we flew to and from Boston and because of Alex’s suggestion I had this idea of “attitude vs. altitude” bouncing around in my head the whole time. I made some personal observances about some things but I also realized that since I have no knowledge of airplanes and aerodynamics that there was a lot I was missing. So when I got home I took my observances and reached out to a pilot for help. Heath Jarvis is a friend of mine that has been a pilot for many years. I asked him this question.
Does the attitude of a plane determine its altitude? For example, if the plane wants to go up does it’s attitude have to be turned upward?
He not only answered my basic question but he gave me a lot more information. Below is his answer in its entirety.
Yes, an airplane’s attitude is basically the direction it is pointed in relation to the horizon.
I’m gonna give you a BUNCH of info for you to chew on, regarding this stuff.
Virtually every airplane has an “attitude indicator”, which uses a spinning gyro to keep itself upright at all times. As the plane changes altitude, the change will display on the attitude indicator. The gyro in the attitude indicator itself ALWAYS remains upright, no matter what attitude the airplane is in.
Another instrument is the altimeter, which indicates your altitude. It works on air pressure. The higher you go in the atmosphere, the lower the air pressure is, and the change in air pressure can be measured and displayed in terms of feet of altitude above sea level. So, as you change the attitude to a nose-high attitude, the plane will climb. If you have a nose-down attitude, the plane will descend, it will lose altitude.
But here’s something else to consider: As you raise the nose of the airplane, you have to also add power, because you are fighting gravity as you climb. If you climb without adding power, you will lose airspeed, and if you raise the nose too high, the wing will stall. When a wing stalls, that means it is no longer producing sufficient lift to keep the airplane airborne. The plane will fall.
Lastly, as I said before, the higher you go, the less air pressure there is. The airplane will cruise faster and burn less fuel at higher altitudes because the air resistance is greatly decreased. In fact, jet engines actually have to pull the power back when they get into higher altitudes because there is so little resistance that the engine can actually overspeed itself.
That’s a whole lot of information right?
After flying to and from Boston with this “attitude vs altitude” idea bouncing around in my head and then reaching out to Heath for some inside information I was mind blown at how much we can actually learn from planes that can be applied to our marriages to make them better. So let’s break down the information that Heath gave us and see how it can practically be applied to our marriages.
Marriage Lessons From Airplanes
Your attitude will determine your altitude
In a plane, if you want to go up you have to change its attitude to a “nose-high” attitude for it to climb. I believe our attitudes can dramatically determine what direction our marriages take. If you constantly have a negative attitude about your marriage it will never get up off the ground. We have got to change our attitudes to face the direction that we are wanting to go toward. How do we change our attitudes?
- Find the positives and speak them out
- Show our spouse kindness and appreciation
- Monitor our thoughts so we are not constantly focused on the negatives
If we want to get off the ground we have to change our attitude first. Whatever direction our attitude is facing is the direction that our marriage will go. We better make sure it is an upward direction that won’t lead us to a fiery crash!
Have a marriage “attitude indicator” and “altimeter”.
Airplanes have all these different ways of monitoring if things are working the correct way. We should also monitor our attitudes and the attitude of our spouse if we are going to have a smooth marriage. It is so easy to have a bad attitude. Once you find a negative it is easy to focus on it until it is the only thing you can see. When this happens we can completely miss the positives and our marriages can be turned upside down. We have to be very vigilant and monitor what kind of attitude we are bringing to our marriage. We always need to monitor our spouse’s attitude as well to see what kind of adjustment are necessary for a smooth marriage. How do we do this?
- Monitor our focus- If you become aware that you are focused on the wrong thing you need to make the decision to shift your focus. List all the positives that you see in your marriage and make a decision to focus on them instead of the negative. Whatever we chose to mediate on will determine our attitude so chose the good over the bad.
- Monitor your spouse’s attitude and make a decision that will shift theirs to positive instead of flipping them upside down.
Let’s camp out on this one for just a moment. I am not saying that your spouse can not have a bad day. I am not saying that you should pounce on your spouse and tell them they better “get their attitude in check”. If you do that then things will get ugly-quick! What I am saying is when you see that they are having a bad day or that they are focused on the negative gently do something kind or life-giving to help them shift their focus to the positive. Use wisdom with this-sometimes that means just being quiet. It does not have to always be this long drawn out thing.
Put power behind your attitude
Heath mentioned above that you can actually stall the plane resulting in a crash if you do not put the appropriate power behind your attitude. What does this mean for our marriages? Here is Tara Payne’s marriage interpretation.
Good intentions without proper action steps will not accomplish anything but a disaster.
Wishing and good intentions do not get us anywhere if we are not willing to put the power and work behind our intentions. I can say I want to have a good attitude about my marriage all day long but if I do not do the work to change my attitude nothing will change in my marriage. Words without works are pointless. So what can we do here?
- Stop talking and start doing!
If there is a change that needs to be made, make it.
- Sit down with your spouse and get a plan.
- Hold each other accountable.
- Include your mentors to help you.
Higher attitude = lower pressure= smoother/quicker flight
If we can get our attitudes in check it will take the pressure off of our marriages. When that pressure is off we can have a faster and smoother marriage. When we have good attitudes things just go smoother and are more pleasant. You will not have to do as much work because you will not be facing as much resistance.
I want to end this with one observance I made on our flight back home. When the pilot started his descent into Atlanta it happened very quickly. With just a small drop of the nose, our altitude dropped about a thousand feet within seconds. What seemed like nothing was actually very significant. I took this knowledge to heart. A bad attitude does not seem very significant but it can cause a marriage to plummet if we are not careful. What seems like a little thing can change into a huge thing if not attended too quickly.
We could dive so much deeper into lessons we can learn from airplanes but let’s keep it simple with this one main point!
Don’t let a bad attitude cause a crash in your marriage!
We have a choice in what kind of marriage we can have. It can be turbulent or it can be smooth. It all comes down to our attitude. Are you pointed up or down? Are you going in the right direction for the marriage you want to have? The direction that you are pointed in is the direction you will go!
Turn your eyes to the sky! It is pretty awesome up there and your marriage can be smooth! Keep climbing!
You can do this! We are praying for you!