7 Keys to Marriage Maintenance

Car ownership can be a thrill, an investment, a hobby, an obsession, or even just a necessity. But owning a car also means learning how to maintain the car to keep it running well for a long time. In the same way, it’s critical to regularly maintain your marriage so it will last for life. So here are 7 keys to marriage maintenance.
1. Marriage needs regular maintenance on the basics.
Every vehicle needs the fluids checked, the oil changed, and the tires aired up from time to time. A car that gets that attention can last a long time. But a vehicle that is neglected in these basics is headed for a short life because of the cumulative wear and tear.
Your marriage needs regular maintenance as well. You can’t just tell your spouse “I said ‘I love you’ when we got married, and I’ll let you know if anything changes!” Keeping up on the basics of love, patience, kindness, communication, and intimacy will help your marriage handle the wear and tear of the mileage, too.
2. Be sure your security system is working.
Thieves are everywhere. Car dealers have increasingly complicated security systems in place to reassure a new owner. And stickers and lights are intended to discourage would-be criminals.
Similarly, you need to maintain careful security over your marriage. You can’t assume no one will ever try to steal the heart and affection of your spouse either. Today’s culture is rife with seduction of many kinds. A protected marriage projects a strength that warns others not to waste their time even trying. Here are 10 Ways to Affair-Proof Your Marriage.
3. Sometimes an unexpected repairs are needed, in spite of good maintenance.
It’s happened to everyone…the unexpected repair. Even the best-built cars will break down sometimes and require some investment of time and money to fix.
The troubles in your marriage, like every marriage ever, will also come at unexpected times. And they will need attention. That may mean investing some time, even money, to work through some issues to restore the marriage and make it strong again. These 4 ways to know when it’s time for marriage counseling may help.
4. The best maintenance involves a willingness to use the best supplies.
Car enthusiasts especially understand the importance of washing and waxing the car, and of putting the right gas and fluids in the vehicle. One tank of diesel in a non-diesel engine will destroy it, for example. Regular washing and polishing keep the shine and the wards off rust and sun damage
Your marriage needs extra TLC, too. But you can’t just spend a lot of time together and assume all is well, that any time spent together will do. Be sure that the time you spend together is meaningful and includes time to just talk and dream. Making every “date night” a business meeting won’t help your marriage be stronger, even if it helps your family run more smoothly. Here is a Date Night Checklist for you.
5. Pay attention to your marriage engine to know when something is wrong.
When you own a car, you love to hear the engine “purr.” And you notice when something suddenly sounds different. Maybe you hear a new squeal under the hood or around the wheels, a knocking from inside the engine, or you smell a weird smell, and you know it needs attention.
In marriage, you need to be attuned to the changes that spell trouble. Maybe the communication suddenly shuts down or the nonverbal signals suddenly change. Noticing the subtleties of your marriage’s communication is crucial to good listening, empathy, and problem-solving.
6. Maintain the outward as well as the inward.
Imagine you’re in the middle lane of the highway and two cars pass you on either side. One isn’t brand new, but it’s clean, waxed, and apparently well-maintained. The other is a beat-up puddle jumper, that’s dirty, dented and rusting.
Of course, what matters most isn’t how they look on the outside, it’s how things are running under the hood that’s important. I’ve seen too many marriages that look good on the outside but are on their last mile on the inside. But after the engine has been properly maintained, we do want people to look at our marriages and want the good they see. We want to inspire them toward a more sacred and holy union.
7. Even a broken down marriage can be fixed.
Some marriages that seem hopeless can be turned into something wonderful with the right help. If that’s yours, don’t lose hope. Here are 3 things to remember before you call it quits in marriage.
Mark Merrill