What Do You Do When the Marital Fuel Light Comes on?
I’m the kind of guy who runs the car until it is below empty. I push the limit. And yes, I did run out of gas one time. While I know the smarter way is to refuel long before the fuel light comes on, I don’t do it.
In marriage, a lot of us push the limits too. We don’t pay attention to our relationship gauge until it reaches a critical point. And it’s often good things that take our focus off of our marriage. Helping our kids with school, attending their sports and music events, caring for them when they’re sick, and working through their issues with friends all take time. Serving on committees at church consumes time as well. That’s in addition to our daily work, paying bills, chores around the house, laundry, and cleaning. After all that, there is no energy left for our mate.
If we aren’t careful, we won’t even see the need to address the needs in our marriage until the kids go off to college or a career, and then, the love tank may already be completely depleted.
So, what can you do when the marital fuel light comes on?
- First, accept that you have not been replenishing your relationship with your spouse the way you should.
- Second, ask your spouse for forgiveness. Tell them you were wrong to let other things become more of a priority than your marriage.
- Third, promptly make changes in your priorities to the extent that you can. Maybe it’s not so important to serve on that board or committee during this season of life. Maybe that weekly golf game with your friends will have to wait. Maybe your kids don’t need to play three sports at a time and have a calendar that is jam packed with extracurricular activities. Maybe your children can help a bit more with things around the house.
- Fourth, calendar a weekly or bi-weekly date night with your spouse or a day each week you can meet for coffee together. Walking, hiking, or riding bikes together can work well. Finding a hobby you both enjoy can also meet the need.
If you and your spouse have ever reached this point in your marriage, I’d love to hear how you re-filled your tank. Here’s my wife Susan’s account of how I recently did this in our marriage. Please share your thoughts with me below.