Marriage tune-up

Chaplain’s Corner

Padre Zibby Jonczyk

During the few cold days we have experienced a couple of weeks ago some of you might have had a little bit of trouble starting your cars.

Living in Cold Lake, and especially during winter time we all know how important it is to ensure our car batteries are fully charged, our winter tires are on and when it gets really cold we plug our cars so that we are able to start it the next morning. Many years ago, our friends from the South have been often surprised to see cables sticking from under the hoods of our Canadian vehicles and made jokes about our electrical cars – that was long before Tesla cars started showing up on our roads. Those cables – when plugged would often save us from calling the CAA truck.

Well, we make sure that we have no oil leaks, our filters are clean and when our cars start squeaking our brake pads might need to be replaced. If our tanks are empty we are not going to be able to go anywhere. We know that neglecting our car maintenance is a recipe for disaster.

But what if I tell you that we need to do exactly the same when it comes to our marriages?

We ensure that our house and our vehicles are well maintained. How much more important should be our relationship?

As time goes by our relationships, just like cars, experience wear and tear. If you ignore the little things that go wrong, you may find yourself dealing with a major breakdown.

Our cars might show us yellow warning lights, and some might even show red warning lights when you actually need to stop because driving your car might be dangerous or your vehicle might be inoperable. Since you might not have noticed yellow or red light flashing in your relationship let’s go together through a maintenance check list to see how you’re doing, shall we?

Is your oil overheating?

Check your relationship temperature. Ask yourself: how are we doing? If your husband or wife gets angry or irritated and things are being said that you would not have said otherwise, or if you stop talking, if one of you give the other a cold shoulder, then it might be a beginning of an issue. Try to solve it before it gets bigger. Communication is one of the most important things in our relationships.

If your windshield is smashed you cannot see the road ahead of you.

Make sure there is nothing obstructing your view. Someone told me once that love is not looking at each other but looking ahead together. Talk about your goals and your dreams. Maybe it is buying a new or newer family car, buying a house or going on vacation. It is important to plan and dream together, and work together to make the dream come true. As in a relationship it is no longer “me” and “you” but “we”, a team supporting each other in your journey ahead.

Sometimes we need to replace worn parts in our vehicles.

Try something new in your relationship. Take advantage of the movie passes and take your spouse for a date to a movie theater, try a dance or an art class at the MFRCS. Sometimes boredom can settle over a relationship like a grey cloud. If you have not done anything new together for a while give it a try.

Just like checking the fluids in your vehicle every relationship needs kind words and affirmation, little gestures and expressions of affection. If you have been in a relationship for many years, think of those small things which might have thrilled or comforted your spouse long time ago. Holding hands, giving each other a kiss when you meet or leave the house. Rub each other shoulders. Do not forget to kindle your relationship.

The root of the word maintenance is maintain, meaning: keep going, don’t stop. Marriages can only be kept going if we don’t stop working on it and invite God to be part of our relationship.

And as your vehicle might need to go from time to time to a garage, if your relationship is out of sync consider speaking to a counselor or a padre. God bless.

zbigniew.jonczyk@forces.gc.ca