I had a thought a little while ago about taking a closer look. What led me to this thought was my house. I was blessed about eight years ago with a really nice home. The house sits on a slight hill and looks stately to me. I mean when I look at the house from afar, I get that “You have arrived” feeling. About a week ago, I was walking by my front entrance and noticed light coming through on the side of the door. I opened the door for a closer inspection. I noticed the installation around the door had shifted and was starting to crack. A closer inspection of the door frame revealed paint chipping and some wood rotting. I was somewhat surprised and hurt that something was going on with my house and I didn’t realize it. The first thing I thought of was “How did these cracks in the foundation happen?” Quickly I thought about marriages and how good they look from the outside. Of course, the maintenance that has to be performed on the house is quite different from maintenance on a relationship, but it still has to be done.
The maintenance on a relationship is much more delicate than the doorway to your house. Let’s examine the structural intent of both. On one hand, you have this painted doorway with wood rotting underneath the paint, which weakens the framework of your home. On the other hand, you have a diamond ring, kids (maybe), and two spouses who struggle to agree on issues because they both want to be right most, if not all, of the time…, which weakens the framework of your family and marriage. It makes you wonder, “How did these cracks in the foundation of my marriage happen?”
Now the house doesn’t get to be right or wrong; it just gets to be your home: a safe, relaxed and beautiful place. Marriage is the same or it should be. (I can hear some of you out there saying, “Yeah, right!”) You should be able to come home to your spouse and feel safe, relaxed and proud of your place of residence. Now let’s get back to reality. No one can be right all of the time. NO ONE! Marriage maintenance is a little more difficult than calling your local handyman to tear out the rotted wood, replace with new wood, paint everything for outward appearance and be structurally strong. In marriage, you have to call on your heavenly Father to humble yourselves, die to self on some occasions, and most of all pick your battles carefully because everything doesn’t have to be a fight. We have to realize that everybody needs help at some point in your life, marriage, or in times of trouble. Marriage has many opportunities for maintenance/help, through either marriage counseling, couples marriage classes, marriage retreats, or just praying to God together to ask for guidance and wisdom. Once you begin to pray as a couple, devilish issues will begin to diminish because you are truly beginning to think and live as one.
So in conclusion, we can continue to look good from the outside in our designer clothing, expensive cars and six-figure incomes…and have cracks in our foundation or we can bear all to God and become naked in His presence so he can start the process of repairing our marriages on faith, love and spiritual guidance. We should practice being a servant to our spouses so we can receive the same treatment in full from them. As I said before, marriage is a process. Study your mate as you would a new car prior to buying such a large purchase. Learn to love your mate in his/her love language. Take the time to conduct maintenance in your marriage as you would your car or some other prized possession. There is no better feeling than knowing that your marriage relationship is intact and you have corrected the issues that were making your relationship rough and eroding the foundation of your marriage.
One other thing, the best maintenance happens BEFORE the breakdown: before the problem tires go flat, before things stop working, before you need help, you get the idea. Therefore, if you’re thinking, “I’m good. We’re good. We don’t have major problems.” Then you are perfectly poised for maintenance. In addition, maintenance is just around the corner at the 2017 Heart of Marriage Retreat. It’s a great opportunity to “maintain” and celebrate all that marriage is and will be. Remember, the best is yet to come!
Michael & Sharon Brooks