Music played a big part of my teen years. My favorite group of all time was the Eagles. Being a teen of the seventies, it was their music that saw me through many a good time, and helped me over some rough spots. On their "One of These Nights" album, there's a song entitled, "After the Thrill is Gone." The song is about a relationship that has had the flaming embers of passion quenched. The only thing left is ashes.
This song at its core, is sad. It raises an important question though: What keeps the flame of love burning? On June thirteenth of this year, my parents celebrated fifty years of marriage. If I were to ask them their key to a successful marriage, I think it would be that they still care for each other deeply. They actually enjoy each other's company, and they tend to each other's heart.
Meet Tom. Tom just got a brand new 2001 Ford Mustang. The body is pale yellow with a white convertible top. The interior is white leather and black carpeting. Underneath the hood is a 5.0 Cobra engine that will go 0-60 in 6 seconds. It's got a Blau Punk stereo system, with a 6-cd disc changer. He's had it for nearly six months now. Every weekend he's out there with the turtle wax and buffer, putting layer on layer on layer. Yep, his car looks real pretty.
Let's fast foward two years. The car still looks good, the interior is just as clean. But one day, Tom goes out for a drive. It's a hot day. Tom takes this long, curving mountain road that has a seven percent grade. Tom notices that his temperature gauge is getting into the dangerous zone, but does nothing to cool it down, like pulling over and letting the car rest for a while. He does notice that the oil light is on, in fact it has been on for a while, but again, he doesn't do anything to relieve the problem. You see, like most men, Tom is task oriented. But Tom is not mechanically inclined. The inevitable happens, and Tom's precious Mustang that has hundreds of layers of turtle wax on it, blows a head gasket, and the engine freezes.
What went wrong? Number one, Tom never had his car in for service. He doesn't know a dip stick from a twig, let alone how to read one. Number two, he did check about his radiator once and someone told him that it was a closed system, which meant that you didn't have to add coolant to it. When he finally had it towed to the shop for repairs, he was told that the radiator was completely dry. The oil pan, when it was dropped, showed that the oil that was left was baked on, and that the main bearings had seized. So now Tom is the proud owner of a two ton, wax coated, pale yellow, white over black interior, metal rock...with a great sound system!
The picture is obvious. He was careless with the maintenance of the engine. He was too wrapped up in the appearance of the car. He figured that the engine would take care of itself. In fact, if he would have spent more time pampering the insides of the engine instead of putting wax on it, the car would have taken him where ever he wanted to go.
Our marriages, men, for the most part, are like cars. We are driven by sights. We like frilly things. When we were in our courting days with our prospective wives, we would say, do, and buy anything to keep the romance alive. In fact, in the first few weeks of marriage, if we're honest, we lived on nothing but romance, bringing home flowers or frilly night gowns; telling her how special she was and how pretty she was. We said and did all the right things. While we were home with our new wives, we treated them like a brand new car.
Then something strange happens. The frilly things stop coming. One by one, the compliments stop. Then, three or four years later, everything else stops. There is no more romance, no more conversation, no more passion, no nothing. Like our friend's car, our marriage has just frozen up. Now, all that's left is two people barely existing.
It doesn't have to be this way, guys. If we spent time and effort taking care of the girlfriend who would eventually become the future Mrs., then isn't it worth the effort now to still tend to her needs? After all, she is still the same woman you married, perhaps a few pounds heavier now. But haven't you changed too? She is still the same girl whose ear you whispered into. She still needs to hear these words, because they are the first words that were planted to sow the seeds of love in her. They are precious to her. I understand it's hard to say certain words, especially out in public, but to quote Garth Brooks, "somewhere other than the night, she needs to hear,' I love you'," whether it's bringing home a rose for her unexpectedly, or flowers sent to her work with a note that says, "meet me at....."
Christ calls us to love our wives, men. His greatest act of love was to lay down his life for us. We, as men, surely can tell our wives what's on our hearts. We can tell them how special they are in our lives. We can accept them as they are. Tend to their hearts, enjoy their company, remember the days of your youth when you, as a couple, were inseparable.
A marriage may look good on the outside, but if it's not maintained, it will die, just like a car without water or oil. For our marriages to last a lifetime, we must maintain them.
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