Do you need a marriage tune up to keep your marriage “running along fine?” Or maybe it’s doing okay, but you want more than just “okay” when it comes to your marriage relationship. It could be that you need a complete overhaul to get your relationship to the place where you are in tune with each other, where you feel connected. Sometimes marriages, just like automobiles, need a marriage tune up. Here’s a thought and question written by psychologist Michael Lace to consider:
“Couples generally enter marriage with engines revving, but sooner or later find their relationship ‘idling.’ The thrill is gone, arguments easily become overheated, and the pressure of jobs, children and a mortgage is on. What causes this once smooth-running machine to knock and sputter?”
That’s a good question to consider. Here’s one theory:
“Too often we put ourselves in cruise control, and this tendency, more than major problems, keeps us apart. When we’re in cruise control, we don’t actively seek to meet one another’s needs or communicate our own needs. Slowly, unknowingly, we drift in different directions.” (Tricia Goyer, from the Focusonthefamily.ca article, “How to Give your Marriage a Regular Check-up”)
Do You Need a Marriage Tune Up?
Have you been there? Are you there? We sure have been. And we’re guessing that you sometimes fall into this same “cruise control” trap, as well. It’s an easy tendency to fall into. We’re so busy trying to make life work for us, we forget the most important part in all of this… US! If we aren’t well connected with each other, our whole marriage falls apart. It’s a matter of not forgetting the most important things, putting them first, and going from there.
So, here are a few tips (with links to read more) to get you started on doing a marriage tune up:
• Watch the Gauges
“The need to assess our marriage shouldn’t come as a surprise. We check our car’s oil and change it regularly. We watch the fuel gauge to ensure we have enough gas. Also, we take note when the engine starts to whine, which might signal a problem. Just as we monitor and maintain our cars, we need to “watch the gauges” of our marriage if we want to keep it running smoothly.” (Tricia Goyer)
How do you “Watch the gauges?” There are many different ways. The following are 3 that are suggested by Tricia Goyer. They’re actually 3 that we have successfully used ourselves at different times in our marriage. They are: – Listen to your spouse – Pay attention to the silence – Ask Questions. To learn more on what you need to do to get your marriage going healthy and strong again, read the Focusonthefamily.ca article:
Here’s another marriage tune up tip:
• Read Your Owners Manual
“Read your owner’s manual (the Bible) to get an idea of what applications your relationship needs. To perform critical maintenance services review and follow these important maintenance guidelines: 1 Peter 3:7 and Ephesians 5:24-31. Assess the general condition of your marriage to spot problems.” (Roy M. Milam from the Marriageministry.org article, “Does Your Marriage Need a Tune-Up?”)
To help you further with this marriage tune up, we have several scriptural tips that come straight from your owner’s manual—the Bible. We suggest you take the time together to prayerfully read, talk through and apply what God teaches you that will help you in your marriage relationship:
• Don’t Wait to Repair or It Could Lead to a Bigger Problem Later.
Just as it is with maintaining a car, the same principle pertains to tending to our hurts sooner, rather than later.
“Don’t let feelings fester. Find the time and energy to resolve disagreements, even if it requires a ‘late-nighter.’ Long-term resentments can use up more energy than a few hours of wrestling through a problem.” (Michael Lace, from the Todayschristianwoman.com article, “Does your Marriage Need a Tune Up?”)
This is something that we especially struggled with earlier in our marriage. We’ve learned a few things along the way that has helped us GREATLY to treat each other more like marriage partners, rather than opponents.
The articles that could help you with this marriage tune up are:
“Hurts must be attended to promptly. When we injure our mate, or are injured by our mate, we must attend to each other. We must immediately acknowledge the wound we have caused, or the wound we feel. Repairs are best made immediately with a sincere apology and taking responsibility for wrongdoing.” (Dr. David B. Hawkins, from the Crosswalk.com article, “Marriage Maintenance”)
Here is an article that can help you do to just that as you make the necessary marriage tune up adjustments:
• Change Your Oil Regularly
“We all know that cars need regular oil changes. It’s needed every 3,000 – 5,000 miles depending on your particular automobile. Today I’m in Lansing because an indicator light came on which I had never seen before. …When I looked it up in the owners manual, all it said was see your local dealer as soon as possible. Apparently when a car hits 60,000 miles it needs more than an oil change. It needs a tune up!
“In marriage going out on a date is like that oil change…we recommend once a week to keep things running smooth. Getting away for a weekend alone together is like a tune-up…we recommend once every six months keeps you both ‘in tune.’ Your marriage doesn’t have an indicator light, but you do have a calendar. Get those dates and weekend getaways on your calendar today!” (Jay Lafoon, from the Jayandlaura.com article, “An Oil Change and a Marriage Tune-up Please!)
Below are a variety suggestions for different date night (or date day) ideas. You can pick one for yourself and see how it goes. And then there are lots of ideas left for other times:
• Schedule ongoing maintenance
“It is essential to establish an ongoing maintenance plan for a strong marriage. If you never got tune-ups for your car, your time, energy and money would be drained for relentless repairs. It would slowly deteriorate and just take up space. Likewise, not being preventative with the direction of your marriage sets the stage for dissatisfaction and complacency, and possibly resentment. Make it a priority to schedule regular time to focus on just the two of you. Then when major challenges arise, you will be more prepared to deal with them and get back on track.” (From the Centerstone.org article, “How to Tune Up Your Marriage!”)
A good place to start in maintaining a good marriage is to pray for God to work on your own heart. Pray as the psalmist said:
“Search me O God and know my heart. Test me, and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
And then pray for your spouse. Pray that that God will open his or her eyes to see the need to partner with you in this marital tuning up process.
For the benefit of the covenant you entered into when you married, don’t stall or put it off any longer. Do a marriage tune up. Today can be a new beginning for your marital relationship!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
We give you so much more on this issue and more in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself (It’s available both electronically and in print form). Just click on the linked title or the “Now Available” picture below to do so:
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