Can we start with this question? Have you ever driven a car that ran out of fuel/gas before? Maybe not. But have you ever been in one? Okay, maybe it didn’t go that bad. But have you ever been close to running out of fuel/gas, where your gauge was already showing the warning signal? Why do you think this happened?
Let’s consider a few reasons why people generally run out of fuel and draw a parallel between that and what happens with marriages as well.
1. When you start without a full tank.
How you start your marriage sets your marriage. The foundation of your marriage is very critical and that’s why we encourage that you invest time and resources in pre-marital counseling. While that doesn’t solve all the problem, it helps put things in perspective. Many people rush into relationships, and ultimately marriage without been emotionally whole themselves, and without really understanding what it takes.
2. When you are too busy to pause and refuel
No matter how full your tank is, it is expedient that you refuel on a regular basis. How far can you really drive without refueling? Are you too busy or so much in a hurry to fill your marital tank? What reason is legitimate enough to keep you from pausing and refueling?
3. When there are hidden leaks
This one is a classic. You can fuel up every day for all you care, if there’s a leakage in the system, it is a matter of time before you run out of gas! Be honest with yourself – what really drains your marriage? There are 2 major drain pipes we want to bring to your attention – relationships and responsibilities. Be aware! Unhealthy relationships with friends, coworkers and people of the opposite sex can cause leakages in your marital tank. There are people that drain your energy after meeting them. They make you feel awful about your spouse. You need to watch out for these!
Responsibilities too, most of them legitimate, can also drain your marital energy. Your responsibility as a mother, father, business executive etc. can cause leaks in your marriage. Your responsibilities in church or any mission can drain your marriage. Take care.
4. When you are overloaded!
Do you know that a car consumes more gas when it carries heavier weight than normal? The same is true about you. You need to evaluate your weight / baggage and your limits as soon as possible. You might be running on empty because you are carrying more load than necessary.
We know a couple of marriages running on empty because each of the spouse is carrying too much load from other family members (especially extended) and friends. Never forget that you are not “Elshaddai”. You will never be able to meet the needs of everyone. Manage your load and manage your energy.
5. When you accelerate too rapidly.
Acceleration is great, but sudden/rapid acceleration can cause you to burn more gas than necessary.
There is heavy pressure in our world – pressure to do it NOW! It is the world of instants – instant coffee, instant success, instant money, instant marriages, instant communication etc. With this pressure comes the perceived need to accelerate. Newly married couples are very well exposed to this. Even from wedding preparations, there is a pressure to press the accelerator. There is the pressure to achieve and acquire. You burn a lot of fuel doing that.
Sometimes, it is important to stay still, to stay calm and to be at rest. In an age of acceleration, nothing can be more exhilarating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing is so luxurious than paying attention. In an age of constant movement, nothing is as urgent as staying still. Think about that.
So, where are you in your marriage dear friends? How close are you to running on empty? Or have you been on empty for a while now? What is draining you? What is distracting you from the things that matter? Are you even too busy to care? We suggest you start by getting a refill – and what better place to do that than spending time in God’s presence together with your spouse. He will fill you up. He will give you grace to flow in the unforced rhythms of grace.
If you’re not sure how to achieve this, we’ll be delighted to help. Give us a buzz today.
May you find rest!