Shortly before my daughter’s sixteenth birthday, we began looking for her first car. Like every teenager, she was mesmerized by the thought of independence and mobility. She was excited.
We made nightly rounds to every car lot in the city, but it didn’t take long for us to realize she was looking for one thing, and one thing only: style.
She would see a car that struck her fancy and say, “Oh, I really like that one!”
I would look it over and reply, “Okay, honey, let’s see how much it costs. We’ll read about it in the consumer magazines, pray about it, and make a decision.”
Karen and I wanted to take our time and get our daughter the best car for our money. I was interested in reliability and other technical aspects. But our 16 year-old just wanted to buy the first flashy car she could find and get out on the road.
Don’t think I couldn’t empathize with her, though. I remember being her age. With my first car, I didn’t care about maintenance, mileage, resale value, safety ratings, or fuel economy.
I was thinking about speed, independence, and girls!
Most of us prepare for marriage like a teenager shopping for a car. We get sidetracked by how it looks. We want speed, accessories, and immediate gratification.
We focus on what we’ll get out of it now but forget to consider the future. We pay no mind to long-term maintenance.
This results in plenty of people getting married without having prepared themselves for the expense and maintenance aspects of the relationship.
That’s a recipe for trouble.
After our daughter had that first car for about a month, something went wrong with it. She came to us, asking, “What are you going to do about this?”
We smiled and said, “Honey, it’s your car. What are you going to do about it?”
You should have seen her face.
Of course, we knew we’d help her get it fixed. But we wanted to bring some reality into her thinking. She’d experienced the fun of the car. Now it was time to take responsibility for keeping it operable and in good shape.
That’s called maturity. Immaturity is when we enjoy the pleasure of something with assuming responsibility for it. It would be immature to get rid of something or reject it the first time it needs maintenance.
But how many people are ready to reject a spouse and find a new one as soon as problems arise? Marriage is not a trade-in business. If you want a marriage without maintenance or fun without faithful devotion, then your attitude is immature and unrealistic.
In marriage, a husband and wife each acquire a precious gift from God. Each is given a lifelong friend, lover, and helpmate. We are designed for such relationships and have a God-given desire to share life together.
But if you think for a minute that your marriage will not require regular maintenance, you are in for some sticker shock. Care for and protect your marriage. It’s the mature thing to do.