There is often a high price to be paid for neglect.
My husband and I are terrible at car maintenance. We find it annoying and irritating to be bothered by such trivialities. And the fact that we’re both this way is a big problem.
Several years ago we noticed a vibration with a squealing noise every time we stopped at a stop sign. We were aware that our brakes needed routine maintenance, but kept putting it off.
We were either too busy or not sure where to take the car, so we did nothing.
Weeks went by, and finally the squealing noise got so loud that it was actually embarrassing to stop at a stop light. I mean the sound was LOUD! And so we finally took it in.
And what did we discover?
Well, apparently people change their brake pads every 25,000 miles for about $100. (Novel idea!) But because we failed to do that, we had to have an entire brake job done, which ended up costing $750.
Our neglect had cost us. Big time.
And the same can happen in our marriages. Unless we invest in day-to-day maintenance and tune-ups along the way, deterioration will automatically happen due to the neglect.
And the effort of maintenance isn’t easy. We’re busy. We’re tired. We’re emotionally spent.
But I can tell you from experience this WILL happen. Because it happened to me.
In my first marriage, I figured I’d be married forever, and would have lots of time to work out our differences. I knew everything wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t convinced it required a lot of work to remedy. So I did nothing. And after 7 years I was divorced.
And now, while my husband and I may not be passionate about car maintenance, we are passionate about our marriage–about protecting our connection and growing it.
We work hard to settle even the littlest differences right away.
We are mindful to be loving and respecting of one another and communicate about it if we’re not.
We purposefully schedule recreational activities together and find intellectual topics to discuss.
We parent as a unified front and try to talk privately when we disagree.
And we never miss date night! It is the most important part of our week.
No matter what happens during the course of our week, I know when Friday comes, we drop everything and spend time together … eating and talking and walking … just the two of us, catching up as friends. We make an effort to purposefully connect and it is not always easy.
But the maintenance is so less costly than the price demanded by neglect. Because when it comes to my marriage, it’s not a price I’m willing to pay again.
Won’t you take time today to find just one way to connect in your marriage?
Just one little way?
1. Go out on a date at least twice a month. For childcare use grandparents, barter with a friend, or trade babysitting with another couple.
2. Stay in for date night after the kids go to bed. Turn off the tv and put away the phones. Cook together, play a game, or sit out on the deck and talk.
3. If you’re in a fight, decide to fight naked. Seriously, this works. (Thank you Susan!) And if you can’t do that, then fight while touching. Trust me, it’s hard, but it works too.
4. Take a bath or shower together once a month. Lock the door and take your time. You’ll have one another’s undivided attention.
5. Spend 10 minutes of uninterrupted time just talking when you get home from work. Set the timer and teach the kids this is “mommy & daddy” time and they’re not allowed to interrupt. There’s no greater gift you can give your kids than a strong and healthy marriage they can see.
What is your favorite tip for connecting with your spouse?
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