Do you ever get a new purchase and it’s so new and shiny and nice -looking and you vow to yourself- and yell at your kids- we gotta keep this nice!I
Joe and I recently bought a new-to-us van and even though it was several years old we were so impressed at the condition it was in. Our first thought was, are you sure this isn’t a new van? Everything was spotless and we could immediately tell that the previous owner made it a priority to take excellent care of it. Perfect maintenance records, weather mats to protect the floors, and well, maybe he or she didn’t have young children is my guess!
And now we’re working hard to take the same amount of care: No- you may not bring that bag of chips in the van! We know we need to take good care of it since we need this vehicle to last us for a good long time!
Do you ever see someone’s marriage and think the same thing- wow, how does their marriage look so new when it’s actually quite old? How do they look still at each other like they are newlyweds? Or the opposite feeling you have when you see a marriage that is worn out and stale and while still new. What makes the difference?
How do we take good care of our relationships so they will last not just a long time, but for a lifetime?
1. Time. If you want to have nice stuff, it takes time investment to clean and maintain it. Some guys are really good about this when it comes to their cars. Some women are great at this in our beauty regimens or fitness routines. What you put time into is what will grow!
2. Keep up with repairs. Don’t let broken things stay broken. The easiest way to repair and maintain your marriage is to apologize and forgive often!
Don’t let one stain or rip keep you from maintaining it. Oh, this is me with my things. Like my living room carpet is so stained I just don’t care and I have given up. Wanna color on the floor with sharpies? Sure. Is that Kool-aid you’re drinking in here? Whatever. In my mind, it’s too late to fix, the carpet is ruined. So I just don’t take care of it and figure that we’ll eventually have to replace it.
But what if our marriage seems broken beyond repair? We serve a God who can restore and renew us despite how broken we are. Like those folks who can take the most beat up piece of old furniture and turn it into a gorgeous showpiece. That’s a reflection of the redemption that Christ offers us, making all things new, restoring things, giving hope to the hopeless.
3. Gentleness. There is only so much jumping on stuff before it breaks. This is my mom voice coming out here: please stop jumping on the couches! Mistreating things is the easiest way make them old before their time. Be gentle with your spouse, be gentle when they are vulnerable, be gentle when they are struggling. That goes a long way in not making your marriage look old too soon!
4. Physical intimacy. A healthy, active love life goes so far in keeping your marriage “young”! Dr. Dave Weeks did a study in 2013 at Royal Edinburgh Hospital that showed how sexually active couples looked on average 7-10 years younger than the less sexually active couples. Talk about the fountain of youth 🙂 There’s something so life-giving about the way God designed our sexual relationship- it enriches us as couples and as individuals, with emotional and physical benefits! If this is an area that you’re struggling with, you may need to refer to numbers 1, 2, and 3 above and identify the barriers that are making intimacy difficult.
What can you do today to take better care of your marriage?
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17