As I drove back from the recreation center close to our new home with my wife, I was reminded how good it felt to get out and exercise and be a part of the community. Loads of books and tests have formed an impenetrable brick wall around me lately, amongst many other life circumstances, and stress, isolation and their friend, depression, have knocked on the wooden doorway to my mind too many times. The worst part is: I’ve let all three in as welcomed guests freely allowing them to roam around the hallways of my mind unintentionally inviting them into the rooms that occupy precious space in my head.
You see, the reality is, everyone wants a great relationship. That’s no secret. However, most people either don’t have the tools or they don’t understand what it truly takes to keep up on the routinely under-the-hood maintenance in their relationship; others, like myself, have the tools but too often forget to take the tools out and use them when our relationships need repairing. As a result, too often we forget to charge the batteries and do the routinely oil changes necessary for a healthy relationship.
Think of a vehicle or an iphone. Both the vehicle and your iphone are incredible tools. They allow you to drive to places without walking, saving you time and energy. Your phone, with it’s GPS system, directs you to places the vehicle will take you and that saves you precious time and energy. Whether it’s paying the bills or driving you places with ease both are incredibly useful tools when the batteries are charged. Without the batteries charged, they are merely useless and powerless shiny objects gradually rusting away, collecting dust and deteriorating in your possession. The same is true of relationships.
Think of it this way: your relationships aren’t static. Neither are you. When something is static it has no motion. It’ motionless. It’s not active. The idea that: “I’m doing no wrong in my relationship” doesn’t really make sense. That’s because relationships aren’t static and despite popular belief, we don’t operate that way. Think about it, if you aren’t doing anything wrong, then it doesn’t imply you are doing anything right either. Rather than your relationship staying safely and healthy in neutral, with no wrong done to it, it’s actually more realistically moving backwards or like the car and iphone above, it’s gradually rusting away, deteriorating and losing it’s relational charge.
The opposite of static is: active. If our lives and our relationship aren’t able to simply exist or stay neutral. If they aren’t able to be kept safely frozen in time. If we aren’t able to do nothing without any relational repercussions or losing relational charge in our relationships, then, by default relationships are active. They require weekly charging. They require constant and intentional maintenance. That’s because relationships are always moving. They’re always morphing, shifting and changing into what you allow them to morph into. If apathy is king in your relationship, then, by a natural bi-product, lethargy is the queen of your active relationship. She’s the active catalyst of indifference. No relationship can be static.
Bringing it Together:
Where are you at in your relationship? Where are you at in your personal life? Do you take time daily to change the oil in your relationship, put it under the wrench, to change the harmful fluids that get dirty and inject poisonous and dangerous toxins into the motor of your relationship and marriage? Are you living apathetic or living life in a bubble or are you working to inject clean fuel and clean oil into the motor that keeps your relationship charged and running smoothly?
Together and individually, both in the relationship are always growing, learning, shifting, supporting each other and figuring out how to cater to each others always-changing and constantly shifting needs. Each, if the relationship is working properly, are pulling their weight. Both are regularly, either injecting energy into the relationship or sucking energy and life from the lungs of the relationship. What one does, directly effects the other as a natural bi-product.
You may think your relationship is safely stuck in neutral. But it most likely isn’t. You may think you aren’t doing any wrong in your relationship, but theirs better assessments: Are you doing any good in your relationship? Are you working to add life, energy and color to your relationship? Are you working to pray for your spouse, to read scripture with them, to listen to them –to do things they find fun and energizing? Are you showing that you care and putting intentional effort into loving the special people God has placed in your life? Are you seeking to build them up daily?
If not, the reality is that your relationship is deteriorating and slowly sliding backwards. It’s heading down the road of danger, and the destination of that dangerous downhill road is: destruction. That’s because relationships aren’t static and if you’ve believed the lie that they are, then it’s probably time to do the relational maintenance in your relationship, to charge the batteries and check the oil in the active vehicle of your relationship. Because what you do or don’t do, regardless, will drive the vehicle of your relationship to dangerous relational destinations or to beautiful destinations. But you can’t stay safely stuck in neutral.