A new set of spark plugs?

Imagine that you receive an incredible gift of your dream car – a Corvette, Mustang, Mercedes, Range Rover, Lamborghini. What are you going to do to keep it running smoothly? Regular oil changes and service, good spark plugs, rotate the tires, occasional repairs.

In many ways our marriages are like the gift of a luxury vehicle. God gave us an incredible, expensive, precious gift in our spouse, and we will need to keep the marriage vehicle humming for 50 or 60 years, maybe even more.

Of course we all intend to pay attention and nurture a marriage with regular maintenance, but it is so easy to get busy with ministry and pressures that we can ignore easily ignore the every 5000 km service recommendations. Sure, your car will keep going many more miles without regular┬áservice, but it won’t be good for the vehicle, and ignoring basic service doesn’t bode well for longevity. Those comparisons to our marriages are pretty obvious, and there are more…

You can wash and wax your car and keep it looking shiny and new, the envy of everyone who sees it. But if you aren’t tending to the mechanical needs, the superficial looks aren’t worth much if you can’t drive it and enjoy the road trip. And in the case of a very sharp sports car, you wouldn’t even want to drive it in Kenya! It would just have to sit and look pretty – and that’s not much fun with a car or a marriage.

Needless to say, driving a car in Africa is much more wearing on the vehicle than on the smooth highways of the West. In our marriages, we may not recognize that the stresses of cross-cultural living present lots of extra potholes, speed bumps, and rocky roads. Issues that would not surface in a familiar culture can become significant stressors in a marriage and family who are living outside of familiar contexts in a pressure-cooker world.

There are regular and expected repairs that are just a part of keeping a vehicle in good working order – brakes wear out and tires go bald. When that happens, we just need to set aside time to do the repairs. Marriages can go through expected ups and downs that often we can address together in focused time to hear each other, re-evaluate, and make a plan to address the issues.

The staff at Tumaini Counselling Centre offers individual and couple counselling to help with marital issues. Reach us by phone at +254-728-606911 or +254-733-687050 (note: neither receives SMS) or by e-mail at tumaini.ac@aimint.org.

(You might also like to watch our Tumaini video which pursues this analogy.)