It’s so tempting to look at other people and think they have it together. This applies to virtually every area of our lives and therefore God’s commandment that we should not covet what other people have is loaded with divine wisdom (Exodus 20:17). I want to lay emphasis on this in regards to marriage. If only we were like other couples, if only my husband were more romantic, if only I were more patient etc. Even though Nicholas and I haven’t been married a long time (7 Years this July), the element of success that is becoming apparent to us is that great marriages come through hard work and big investments, not candlelit dinners and fulfilled wishes. When we got married, Nicholas and I committed to attending a marriage seminar at least once every year. We failed terribly with that commitment but I’m grateful that this year we made no excuses. An awesome friend babysat our toddler and we took our small baby with us for a half-day marriage seminar at our church – Doxa Deo Langeberg.
I’ve recently learned a lesson about this from my dear sweet dad. He has been in the car industry for longer than I can remember. In January, he and my mom visited us and he heard a noise in the car and knew exactly what was wrong. In fact, he knew that the longer we left it unattended, the worse it would get and eventually the compounded problem would almost be too expensive to repair. I had several excuses – “Dad you don’t understand, life is too busy for us right now.” “We can’t afford to fix the problem now” “It’s not that big of a problem, it’s just a small noise that comes and goes”. And yet, since that time, for several weeks, my father would nag me about the car with almost every phone call. On their next visit in late July, my dad got to a point of frustration. He took out a few hundred rand notes and put it in the glove compartment and said, “Please, please take the car in. Deal with it now”. And sure enough, when we took the car in, we found a bolt on the engine that was literally breaking off! It was relatively inexpensive to repair but it was just God’s grace holding that car together!!!
Back to the marriage seminar. Nicholas and I have a relatively good marriage – disagreements that come and go, we go on a date here and there, we have an okay-ish level of communication. Basically, the car isn’t falling apart, we’re ok. But ok isn’t good enough. At the marriage seminar we got time to look under the hood and talk about the deeper things, to adjust course and even write out some new vows! To name just one course adjustment we made – we realized that the “fun” element of our marriage was being neglected (and if you know us well, you’d know that we love having fun! See picture below for what I mean!) We spoke about how we could reintegrate the fun element into our weekly schedule and be intentional about it.
We love our marriage and value it. This tune-up did cost us something – it took time, it took money, it took a bit of inconvenience (especially since we have small children) BUT a car service today is better than a car breakdown tomorrow!
For a marriage tune-up I’d recommend asking your church about their next marriage seminar or feel free to contact Campus Crusade for Christ’s Family Life ministry and enquire about the seminars they host regularly. Go get your marriage motor revving!
Here’s to rev, rev, revving it up!