Summary: Long and lasting marriages require work and are costly, but are worth it all.

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Life in the Fast Lane

Marriage: When Was Your Last Tune Up?

Hebrews 13:4

Woodlawn Baptist Church

October 24, 2004


Do you perform regular maintenance on your vehicles? The truck I am driving now belonged to my father-in-law. He bought it new in 1989, and took great care of it. Today it is 15 years old, and has almost 235,000 miles on it. What is more amazing than that to me is the fact that the engine has never been opened up to have work done on it. Sure there have been the routine repairs like batteries and alternators and water pumps, but for all those miles, the truck has never needed major repair. The reason can be summed up with one simple word: maintenance. Kathy’s dad told me one time that when he bought that truck he determined that no matter what, he was going to take care of it and perform routine maintenance on it. The oil has been changed every 3,000 miles, tires rotated and so forth for all those miles, and today it is still a good looking, great running truck.

When I bought our van a couple of years ago, I determined to do the same thing. When we picked it out, Kathy asked me why I hadn’t looked under the hood. I always look under the hood, but this time I didn’t. I told her that I knew there was an engine under there and that it wouldn’t matter if I looked at it or not, I wasn’t going to ever work on it anyway, and I haven’t. We’ve had it almost 2 years now, and I’ve seen the engine once or twice in all that time. That doesn’t mean we don’t take care of it. It just means that I don’t do the work myself because I would only mess it up. That thing has been in the shop more than any vehicle I’ve ever owned, and it happens to be the best looking and best running vehicle I’ve ever owned. I attribute those things to maintenance.

Most of you remember that over a year ago our church bus broke down. The catalytic converter had stopped up, so we towed it to a local shop where we took what I think was some bad advice. We cut the converter off, and immediately began to experience problems. It performed poorly on the road, got terrible fuel mileage, started burning up sensors, had an awful smell inside and poured black soot out of the exhaust. That wasn’t all. The brakes went out, tires were bad, we had steering problems, the air conditioner doesn’t work right, and I know I have forgotten some other things. Unlike my truck with all its miles, our bus only has about 40,000 miles on it or less. Was the problem with our bus poor maintenance? Not really – it has been in the shop a lot too. But just as bad as not performing maintenance is when we settle for a patch instead of having the job done right because we didn’t want to pay the price of having it done right, and we pay the price anyway.

What’s the point of all this? Its simply to say that if you want your vehicles to run their very best, you have got to be committed to a plan of routine maintenance, and you’ve got to be committed to having every job done according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Anything short of these commitments is only going to cause problems in the long run.

Marriage is no different. Someone has said that even though marriages may be made in heaven, man still has to perform the maintenance. I think he’s right. No marriage becomes a great marriage without giving special attention and care to it, and no marriage is worth giving special attention to until you first accept God’s view of marriage. We’re going to take a look at some of this today, but before we do, let me assure you of this: maintaining your marriage according to the Manufacturer’s specifications is going to cost you. No marriage that is worth anything comes cheap or easy.

Some of you treat your marriages like you do your cars. When you hear a noise, you turn up the radio. I knew a girl one time that was driving along when she heard a loud pop under the hood of her car. Some fizzing followed the pop, and the more she listened to it, the more worried she got. Her solution? She turned up the radio! If she couldn’t hear it then she wouldn’t worry.

Marriages and cars have a lot in common. Sometimes they run rough. Sometimes they get out of alignment and veer off the road. At times the acceleration is not what it ought to be, or the shocks get worn down so that you get a rough ride. The answer to these things is not to ignore them or put off repairs. Each of them is an indication that your car is in need of attention and repair. In the same manner, any time you begin to experience poor performance in your marriage relationship, you can be sure it is time for a tune up. For the next few minutes, we’re going to imagine that you have pulled your marriage into the Lord’s garage. We’re going to check it out very quickly, so let’s take a walk around and see how it measures up. You have a checklist in your bulletin, so without looking at what your spouse is doing, you check the appropriate spaces.

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