In today’s world we can see that there are low maintenance, and high maintenance marriages all around us. Some marriages (but not very many) don’t seem to take as much effort to grow them to be good ones. Others take a LOT of effort to grow them to be strong and healthy. In reality, that’s how it is with most marriages. That is because of the complexity involved in maintaining and growing relationships.
It’s kind of like computers. They are very complex. But some of them require higher maintenance than others.
I began thinking about this after we replaced one of our aging, high maintenance computers. It was important for us to do this because of all of the problems we were having with it. We were continually dealing with computer bugs, worms, viruses, and such to accomplish everyday tasks for Marriage Missions. So we purchased a lower maintenance Apple computer (a MAC) upon recommendations from our computer tech. It sure has helped.
But then we came across an article titled “Hello, I’m a MAC. And I’m a PC” written by relationship expert, Scott Stanley. He has it posted on his Sliding vs Deciding web site. Upon reading the article, we can see how these computers parallel marriages.
Scott writes about the problems he was having with his PC system. He described how it was causing him all kinds of grief. As a result, he was contemplating using a MAC for certain tasks. That’s when he realized how marriages can be compared to these systems.
Low VS High Maintenance Requirements
Here is a portion of what he writes:
“How is marriage like the difference between MACs and PCs? Or rather how are differences in marriages like MACs and PCs? Most marriages, and I mean perfectly good, worth working on, solid marriages, are like PCs, not MACs. Just as there are many more PCs in the world than MACs, and there are many more PC marriages than MAC marriages. (BTW, if you think I’m talking about what type of computer you have at home, you haven’t shifted yet to the more abstract level. I’m not talking computer equipment now.)
“Here’s the deal. While the people I know with MACs are not always perfectly happy with them, they’re mostly a seriously happy lot when it comes to computing. They turn on their computers (which look gorgeous, of course). They do what they meant to do in getting on their computers. And they don’t think as much about the computer as they go about doing their tasks or following their interests. They then move on. How simple. It starts up, and you click on some things. You happily compute, and when you’re done, you do something else. And none of your time involves searching for an error message on Google.
“Now seriously, that’s not my experience with PCs. PCs are something else. PCs add a sense of deep mystery to life that is more in tune with the way life really is. PC people are living closer to reality in some cosmic sense.
Then There are PC Marriages and MAC Marriages
“Some people have MAC marriages but most people have PC marriages. You know you have a MAC marriage if it just works most all the time and you don’t think about why it works or how to make it keep working. You know you have a PC marriage if you have to frequently reboot, install a patch, update something, scan for problems, or simply endure the fact that something isn’t working today that worked yesterday. PCs are exciting. MACs? Oh, they are so boring.
“I think some people end up in MAC marriages. They are much more rare than PC marriages —simply because of luck. Others do so because they are careful in the right ways about how they partnered up. For some couples, they simply had compatibility, attraction and a big helping of easy-going-ness. (Those with MAC marriages should not be arrogant, Being thankful would be more the thing or else you may find your MAC starting to slow down.)
“Most marriages, and this includes very good marriages, are PCs. They take effort in order to keep doing the work of life. The truth is, in healthy marriages that have enough of the right stuff and that are not dangerous, the work is worth it. Sadly that message is regularly undermined in our culture. But it’s true, and much research supports the point. There’s no getting around the work. It’s just part of life in a PC marriage.
“And remember this, those of you in PC marriage: You have the opportunity of getting that deep sense of satisfaction that comes from overcoming things together. MAC marriage people can only dream of that joy.”
High Maintenance Marriages
We believe Dr Stanley makes some great points for all of us to note. So, where do we go from here if we’re not in a MAC marriage? What if we are in a high maintenance marriage? Actually, most of us (Steve and me included) are living in this type of marriage. As a result, there is a lot of maintenance that needs to be done to help our relationship grow in a healthy ways. Do we throw away our marriages because it’s more work than we had thought or hoped for? Sadly, many people are doing that. Look at the divorce statistics.
They throw away their marriages, much like outdated computers. The question is, what can we do to combat this growing problem?
First, we need to help those who aren’t yet married to make better choices in whom they marry. Couples often “buy into the lie” that their love will just naturally grow more wonderful after they marry. They believe their love is more unique and “different” than the other relationships they see around them. But that is the type of fairy tale attitude that is contributing to the high divorce rate.
The reality is that there is a lot more work and mature growth that is required than most couples realize before they marry. It takes more than a good connection in the beginning of their love relationship to make a marriage into a happy, healthy one.
Most Marriages Require High Maintenance
Marriages aren’t meant to be disposable as computers. They’re meant to last a lifetime. But unfortunately there is a lot of denial and a lot of naivety that can be in the works before couples marry. However, to the degree that it is possible, please help those you possibly can to open their eyes to put in the necessary prep work to make sure they’re best suited to marry each other. Some people can have a lot of fun together in the short term. But they make lousy life-long marriage partners together. This is especially true if either or both of them aren’t willing or able to grow in maturity together through the tough times they will encounter.
Marriage is for grown-ups. Each individual must be willing to partner together in making their relationship the best it can be. Those who aren’t willing to leave their selfism behind, simply should not marry, no matter how strong their attraction is for each other. There are a lot of other important “requirements” involved, but leaning toward maturity is a biggie.
We have a lot of articles and recommended resources available on our web site that can help couples learn about what they need in order to be best prepared for marriage.
Maintaining Your Marriage Relationship
If you’re married, ask God to help you to learn what you need to, so you can put the maintenance in that’s needed to at least do YOUR PART in being a good marriage partner. God will guide as you look to Him—although it might not be in a way you expect.
Don’t gripe about marriage being so difficult, or look at other marriages — wishing you had what they do. Instead, put your eyes on your own path. Invest in your own marriage, “reboot, install a patch, update something, scan for problems” and do what it takes to make the necessary adjustments and repairs to your relationship. And don’t give up so easily. Some of the most rewarding relationships come after a lot of very difficult, soul-searching work!
Realize that you may have a PC high maintenance marriage and that is OK. Face up to that reality and grow in maturity and character as you work together with God. You may or may not ever have a MAC low maintenance marriage. But it will be what you make it with the strength and the wisdom God can give you as you seek all you can become in Him.
“Let us not become weary of doing good. For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up“ (Galatians 6:9).
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him“ (Colossians 3:11).
Cindy and Steve Wright
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