A Healthcheck for Couples
By Emma Parkin
Some feedback our FamilyLife team had from their last ‘A Day Together’ event was: “A great day to make time for each other. A much needed MOT.” Someone else wrote, “Great opportunity to look under the bonnet and see how you’re really doing in your marriage.”
This got me thinking about the parallels between looking after our car and taking care of our marriage. The two seem polar opposites and my first thought is how can we even begin to compare the two, as my marriage is so much more important than our car! But on further thinking, do my actions actually reflect that belief?
Every year, we (or I should say my husband!) takes the car to the garage for its MOT, a yearly check up to see if everything is running smoothly. We fill it up with fuel whenever we need to and give it a good clean (admittedly not as often as we should). We wouldn’t drive the car if a tyre had deflated, the oil tank was empty, the battery was flat or even if there was a little crack in the screen. Instead, we would address these problems as soon as possible so we could get on the road again.
How often do we ignore the signs that our marriage is not running smoothly? Ignore those little cracks that start to appear and the warning lights that blink up at us. Sometimes, we even push on when we have nothing left in our love tank at all and the fun has fallen flat.
So what can we do?
I remember when I was learning to drive, I was told that whenever you took the car out, you should check a number of things, eg. the tyres, tread depth, oil, coolant, lights, fuel indicator… the list goes on. How often do we actually do this?! But the ideal still stands and made me think that it would be helpful to have a checklist for marriage that we could use every day or at least regularly.
If we can be caring for our marriage in an everyday kind of way, this will help to avoid the damage that neglecting it will do. And also help to avoid surprises or big problems down the road.
Even if we put these things in place every day and marriage is going well, a more thorough examination each year is only going to be helpful too. FamilyLife’s ‘A Day Together’ events can serve this very purpose and give you that chance to talk about the deeper things in your relationship with time and space to reconnect with one another. Go to our FamilyLife website to watch a video about what two couples thought of their recent experience.
For ideas and helpful advice on all of the topics in our checklist, go to the Marriage Week website who are focusing on the ingredients for a healthy marriage.