Many of us treat our spouses like our automobiles. We wait until the red light on the dashboard lights up before we pay attention to the slowly building problems. Some of us, like me, ignore the light until serious work is needed to repair the issues. Preventative maintenance can help avoid emergencies in our marriage, and with our car, but many of us simply don’t think about it.
Why is this? I am not an expert, just someone who tends to learn lessons the hard way. In light of that disclaimer I will offer 3 common myths.
#1 The “Right One” myth. If I married the “right” person we would not be having issues. Interestingly, even Honda’s require maintenance… Statistically those that get divorced, and then get remarried to the next “right” person, have an even higher likelihood of getting divorced again. I personally love Andy Stanley’s comment, “We should not focus on finding the right person, rather we should focus on becoming the right person”. Whatever problems you are having now, I would be willing to wager will be a problem that will resurface in your next “one”.
#2 The “It Can Wait” myth. Honestly, who wants to deal with an issue now that could be saved for another day? Holding off a few days may not incur any real setbacks, but if left without attention for long periods of time it can lead to serious problems. This is true with automobiles, and it is definitely true with marriages. If you have a small problem now, it is in your best interest to give it all the attention it needs before it becomes a large problem in the future.
#3 The “Can’t Afford It Now” myth. Similar to the previous myth, early symptoms are always easier to address immediately, and frequent maintenance will avoid costly breakdowns later. If you have a breakdown now that seems costly to fix (aka requires time investments) I recommend you “spend” whatever it takes to fix the issue now. It will always be less expensive to fix it now, than wait and suffer the consequences.
The truth: great marriages don’t just happen, they require work. All relationships have ups and downs. Those who learn to communicate and perform routine maintenance will survive and be the envy of those who do not. Back to car analogies, their is something attractive about a vintage car that is pristine shape, especially to someone who knows the work that went into keeping it, or restoring it, to that condition.
I have no idea what condition your relationship is in, but I truly hope that it is in “mint” condition. If its not I hope you find the resources to help you restore it to best it can be. My wife and I are always available to share our story and show you some of our dents… We are not going to get top dollar at any auto auction, but I am proud of work we are doing and the legacy we are leaving for our daughter.
Wish you all the best,
If you have any questions or want to talk please reach out to me. Would love to hear from you…
Some resources that we have found helpful:
https://www.familylife.com/weekend-to-remember/ or check out one my previous posts for information on the Art of Marriage that we attended.