Thoughts on oil changes and marriage…
What do you make time for, even when life gets busy? Does routine car maintenance make the list?
When there’s a lot going on, it can be more than a little inconvenient to get the oil changed in your vehicle (or to change it yourself, if you’re so inclined). But it’s one of those things that you have to put on the list, and then check off the list. Because regular oil changes are part of the basic maintenance that keeps the engine running well.
Why is it so important? Well, oil breaks down over time. When that happens, it no longer protects the engine.
If you’re a little late changing the oil, it’s probably not a big deal. But if you wait too long, you risk damaging the engine. And that engine won’t last as long as it could have.
It’s kind of the same thing with a marriage. The “engine” of a marriage is the relationship between you and your spouse. And that relationship needs regular attention and maintenance to continue running well.
If you go for long periods of time without attending to your marriage, you can damage the engine. Once that happens you may need help, and it can be much harder to find your way back to a healthy place.
Why Marriage Help is a Good Thing
Unfortunately, many couples don’t give a lot of thought to marriage maintenance. They may wait until things are really breaking down in their marriage, but keep “driving down the road” hoping things will somehow get better. Then, when they find themselves “on the side of the road with smoke billowing from the hood”, they seek help as a last resort.
Most of the time, couples know it when their marriage is in trouble, and they want to make things better. They just don’t know how to get started.
But human beings aren’t designed to be experts in everything. That’s why we have doctors, plumbers, realtors, mechanics, and others who specialize in a certain area. And when we need assistance, we often turn to a specialist.
The same principle is true in relationships. Even if you and your spouse know each other very well, it doesn’t mean you’ll agree on how to handle every problem that comes up. The two of you are wired differently, and you probably see the world differently because of your experiences. Knowing each other is one thing; knowing how to improve the way you relate to one another is a whole different matter.
Of course, like an oil change, going to a marriage workshop or getting counseling may not always seem convenient. It requires extra time and may cost money. But if a car is worth an investment of time and money, isn’t your marriage worth much more?
Taking Action Earlier Can Make a Difference
Every year, couples from all over the country attend our three-day marriage workshop called A New Beginning. This workshop takes place in cities across the U.S., and it specifically serves couples whose marriages are in crisis. Its success rate hovers between 77 and 78 percent, meaning that more than 3 out of 4 couples who attend the workshop decide to stay together, and months after the workshop, report finding happiness and satisfaction in their marriage.
Over the years, we have received a lot of encouraging feedback. We love reading notes from couples who experience renewed hope and commitment in their marriages because of what they learned at A New Beginning.
We also hear from people whose marriages didn’t make it. Their words vary, but the message is often the same. I learned so much at the workshop. I only wish we had done it sooner.
If lack of marriage maintenance has left your relationship in disrepair, we encourage you to take action sooner rather than later. Depending on the circumstances, you may need a marriage class or a renewal weekend, or you may want to find a qualified marriage counselor. And you may need a three-day workshop like A New Beginning, where you can get a lot of help for your marriage in a short amount of time. Just don’t wait too long to get help. The success of your marriage may depend on it.
12 Practical Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship
10 Things to Try if You Regret Getting Married
If your marriage is not in crisis but your relationship could use a refresher, take our free quiz to see which of our courses and workshops might be most helpful!