by Pastor Greg Baker
Marriage is much like a car. It can work absolutely fine until the day it suddenly is not. Somewhere-often where you can’t see or hear it-something started to go wrong. Outwardly, everything worked and looked fine. But you get up one morning to find the car no longer runs. This happens in marriage more often than I care to think about.
Most marital problems could have been prevented with standard preventive maintenance. This is both true for the car and the marriage.
When things are going good in a marriage we have a tendency to grow lax. After all, things are great! Things are fine! But all the things we did to get the marriage strong we need to continue. It is amazing the efforts that we put into a marriage to fix it. But once it’s fixed, we sit back, relax, and let our guard down. And things begin to run down and fall apart.
Preventive maintenance in marriage should actually be fun and enjoyable. Here are some tips and suggestions on keeping your marriage strong:
Communication is the foundation of all good relationships. Having time to talk, having time to communicate is an essential part of good maintenance.
Talking allows you to keep abreast of the other person’s life. If you are like most people, you go your separate ways until the evening. Don’t let your tiredness and exhaustion from a hard day’s work keep you from reconnecting in your marriage. A marriage needs daily attention. Communication is perhaps the single greatest means to give it the loving attention it needs.
If you don’t know how to communicate well, find resources and books that can teach you. Learning to communicate is a skill. It’s not something we are born with. If you can master some of the essential aspects of good communication, you’ll have a tremendous tool to use in preventive maintenance in your marriage.
EVALUATE YOUR MARRIAGE AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH
We all hate to be criticized. No one likes to think they are wrong. But it is essential that you make some effort to see your marriage from the eyes of your spouse. I sometimes ask my wife if there is anything she would like to change about what I do. I do this to discover where her concerns are. I want to know the issues in our marriage before they become problems or a crisis.
Be careful not to get defensive when you do this. Often, my wife will inform me of an issue that merely a slight adjustment in what I do or my schedule will solve. I don’t have to argue with her, fight with her, or defend myself. That’s not the point. It’s about finding out the issues and solving them before they become a crisis.
The average couple that comes to my office for marriage counseling does so when the issues become a crisis. In most cases, a slight adjustment several months previous would have prevented the crisis and all the pain that comes along with it. They would have little or no need to come see me if they learned a little preventive maintenance first.
HAVE SCHEDULED TIMES EACH WEEK TO SPEND WITH EACH OTHER
Little says ‘I love you’ like spending time with someone one. People with busy schedules often fail to schedule time for each other or find themselves too tired to spend good quality time with each other. This is a mistake.
My wife and I set two evenings aside each week to spend with each other. We have four small children and we find it difficult to get a babysitter every single week. So we send the kids to bed early, and spend two to four hours two nights a week on just each other.
If you are capable, have a full fledged date every week. Men need this to reestablish their priorities in life. Women need this to reconnect with their husbands. It is an essential part of preventive maintenance.
There are obviously many other things that a person can do. But if a couple would merely do these three things, they would solve most issues before they became a crisis.
by Greg Baker
Original Article can be found at http://articles.christianbaptists.com/Art/925/3/You-Need-Preventive-Maintenance-in-Your-Marriage.html