The Routine Maintenance of Every Relationship

September 18, 2012

Tuesday Re-mix –

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…  Hebrews 10:24-25

As a teenager starting to drive, I spent one Saturday afternoon learning from Dad how to change the oil in my car.  It was actually pretty interesting to me.  I was fascinated with the whole process.  Dad was very careful to show me how to change the oil filter without damaging it, how to drain the oil and properly dispose of it, how to tighten the drain plug again without stripping it, and how to put the new oil into the engine.  It was a whole process.  I learned it all.

Then, by the time I was 40 years old, I had paid to replace two different automobile engines as a result of NOT changing the fluids regularly enough.  It seems that, while I did learn HOW to change the oil…I had not learned THAT I must change the oil regularly!  I am a slow learner.  🙂  The truth is, I have had a hard time learning about routine maintenance in lots of respects…appliances (both major and minor), household, landscaping, automobiles, computers…you name it, if I have owned it, I have struggled with routine maintenance for it.

Relationships have routine maintenance requirements as well.  All relationships do…even Christian relationships.  Relationships between really good people still need maintenance.  Relationships among experts on relationships still need maintenance.  Without that maintenance, even the strongest of relationships will tend toward breakdown.

I am always amazed in my counseling endeavors when I find two otherwise intelligent, personable, Christian leaders who spend little time actually nurturing their friendship with one another and who then seem befuddled by the brokenness in their relationship.  Relationships need regular doses of two elements: quality time and honest communication.  Without those, a relationship dies.  Relationships among church staff leaders need those two elements.  Marriages need those two elements.  Every friendship needs those two elements.  That is the routine maintenance for relationships.

I suppose it comes with the territory of my ministry that I must bear witness to so very many broken relationships among otherwise Godly people.  In almost every case, the brokenness is due to neglect.  Oh, there may have been an issue, even a terribly divisive one.  But it was the subsequent neglect of the relationship which did the damage, not the initial injury.  Relationships, you see, are amazingly resilient.  They can spring back to life out of even the most broken of situations.  But there is one thing a relationship cannot survive: utter neglect.  It requires regular routine maintenance.  Without that, the brokenness turns into deeper and deeper damage.  It is very much like your automobile in that regard.

It is simple, really.  It is not rocket science.  Relationships are just like everything else worth salvaging.  Forsake the maintenance, and pay the price.

© Blake Coffee
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