My wife and I bought new car last at the end of last year. We would normally choose a late-model used car, but the deal we got was truly a good one, so I went for it. There’s just something about a brand new vehicle with 10 miles on the odometer.
It smells so good, and rides so well. We don’t have to worry about the transmission going out, the tires going flat or the pumps/belts failing. If we could only keep it this way…..
In many ways, it reminds me of a new marriage. Everything about it is wonderful. The sights and sounds; the feeling of adventure; the feeling of confidence that all is well. In the beginning, everything is pretty much on auto-pilot. Like the new car, there’s not much to fix or maintain for a while.
The manufacturer of every car includes a maintenance guide in the vehicle. In it, there is a recommended schedule of actions that the owner(s) should take in order to keep the car running at peak levels and be able to enjoy the vehicle for many years to come. These actions typically include: regular oil changes, regular tire rotation and an annual checkup by a professional to see that all systems are working as designed.
You see, cars can’t take care of themselves. As we add mileage the oil gets thicker, the tires get thinner and the parts begin to simply wear down. The key to enjoying a great vehicle for many years is to do what the maintenance guide says to do. Change to oil, rotate and replace the tires, and monitor all the vital engine parts to make sure they function well for the life of the car.
Marriages too can’t take care of themselves. As months and years go by, our heads get thicker, our skin gets thinner and the our hearts begin to wear down. All of these happen sooner as we tow addition along with us – multiple children, illness, stressful jobs and simply a hectic lifestyle. All of these add additional pressure to the vital components of our marriage while taking away time for critical maintenance.
A lack of regular care and maintenance will make our new car age faster and make us lose our sense of confidence and joy. The same will happen to a marriage. In the same way you can’t expect your vehicle to hold your excitement and confidence if you neglect to care for it – your marriage will begin to run poorly and even break down without regular care as well.
Do we take better care of our things than we do our most valuable relationship? Do we regularly and deliberately maintain our marriage? Do we read the maintenance Manual regularly and do what the Manufacturer says?
This year, let’s pay closer attention to how our marriage is running, and ask God to show us regularly how we can keep it running in tip-top condition. If we don’t, we don’t have anyone else to blame but ourselves when something goes wrong.