Why Your Marriage Needs Regular Maintenance
By Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. - 2 Corinthians 13:11 MSG
What would happen if we never did any regular maintenance on our homes? Never changed the air filters, never repaired the broken fence, never vacuumed or replaced worn carpet, rarely cleaned the tub or dusted the furniture? What if we failed to seal the roof leaks or repaint the fading walls? What would that home look like?
Unfortunately, we might wake up one morning in a terrific storm with water streaming through the cracks. And accumulated dust or mold could cause serious health problems. Embarrassment over the condition of our homes could prevent us from letting others in, bringing isolation. Neglected maintenance would invite costly repairs. Pride of ownership would greatly decrease.
What does the obvious neglect and lack of maintenance say about the ones who live there? They probably wouldn’t describe themselves as owners who don’t care. Most of the time, those repairs and maintenance issues sneak up on them because of busy lifestyles or wrong priorities. Sometimes they are clueless as to anything being wrong. And then the deteriorating condition of their home leaves them confused and discouraged.
It’s the same way in marriage. We can all get “comfy” or even too busy in our marriage relationship and let things slip. Our excuses won’t help—whether we’re talking about a house or a relationship: “I’m not good at repairs. I don’t know how. Maintenance is not my forte. And where would I find the time? Too. Much. Work. I can barely keep up without adding more “to-dos” to my calendar? Why do we need maintenance in a marriage, anyway?
We can all learn, and we can find others who will either teach us or help us. Sometimes we may need to enlist professional help to show us what to do. Apathy only leads to greater neglect. Once things start falling apart—in a home or in a marriage—they usually don’t get better on their own.
Paul offers great advice to believers in 1 Corinthians that can apply to the marriage relationship. It’s easy to ignore ordinary maintenance. Grumbling and complaining gradually replace cheerfulness. Neglecting our own spiritual lives can put us at odds with our spouse, inviting not peace, but conflict.
Keeping our spirits up? Taking responsibility for our own behavior or wrong attitudes can help repair the leaks. When experiencing discouraging situations, King David learned to encourage himself in the Lord. The apostle Paul worked at learning contentment in every circumstance. We can do the same. It’s an important part of marriage maintenance as well as our personal spiritual disciplines.
Think in harmony. Ignoring each other’s needs instead of working together to help one another will only cause problems later on. It is possible to be agreeable even when we disagree with one another on issues. Learning to work through situations together and listening in caring ways will help stave off unwanted repairs of a broken down relationship.
When we’re willing to work together in the upkeep and preservation of our marriage, the God of peace and love promises to be with us. I’d say that was a promise worth the time, effort, and work of marriage maintenance.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is a bestselling inspirational author and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to paint encouragement on the hearts of others. She has authored and contributed to over 20 books and has written over 2000 other articles, devotions, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. She is a regular Crosswalk contributor whose daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is also available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can sign up for Rebecca’s free ebook and find out more about her and her encouraging blog at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
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