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Intro: (Michael) If you look up the phrase “maintenance-free home” or “maintenance-free house” on the internet you’ll find no fewer than 125 million articles. It seems everyone wants to live in the build-it-and-leave-it-alone structure. But one article stood out to me. It was written by Jeffery Howell of The Independent in London and entitled “The Maintenance-Free House is a Load of Old Rot!” In the article Howell says, “People write in asking about low-maintenance or even "maintenance-free" building products, and I have to say, sadly, that no such thing exists. Everything decays over time; it's simply a matter of how long.” And then he goes on to talk about well-known, fail-safe building products that have long thought to be invincible but which studies and experience have proven to be anything but maintenance-free.

(Laura) That’s a powerful sentence, “Everything decays over time; it’s simply a matter of how long.” That’s not just true of the physical homes we live in but also the “homes” we build together – our marriages as well as other relationships. The truth is, everything of value requires attention and needs to be maintained. Sometimes people walk the aisle and assume that the emotion they feel in that magical moment will carry them through for the rest of their lives. What they may fail to realize is that the magic of the moment and the love they felt in it was not created by the moment itself but by everything they did right building up to that moment. In short, it was the result of the maintenance, if you will, and the effort they put into their relationship leading up to that point. And for that relationship to continue to be strong and to grow, it will require some on-going work.

(Michael) We are in the 4th week of our series entitled “Home Improvement” and this week’s message is entitled “No Such Thing as a Maintenance-Free Home.” If you are interested in the other messages in the series, they are available on-line under the title “Home Improvement” and may be purchased as a set through the bookstore.

(Laura) Like any home improvement project, the first question is where to begin. And perhaps the best idea is to start at the beginning. The most important verse in the Bible on marriage is found in the first book of the Bible:

Gen 2:24 (KJV) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Oneness, as we have described in previous messages is the key to success and happiness in marriage. The idea is simple, sow into the “we” and your relationship will grow. More particularly, sow into the “we” and your marriage will grow.

(Michael) When the Bible says that the two shall become one, it means that we are on a journey toward oneness and since every human is made up of three parts, our journey toward oneness includes all three areas – spirit, soul, and body. In this message, we’ll look at each and seek to discover some practical ways we can do maintenance on our marriage in a way that will improve it.

1. Spirit – this is the spiritual aspect of our lives and provides the foundation for the other two. When we are one in spirit, we are inseparable – nothing can divide us. The things that build your spirit individually are the same things that build oneness in spirit in your marriage.

A. Word

1. Read it together – Word 360, read aloud, read and share insights

2. Memorize it together – chose a book or a passage

3. Study it together – Study Bible, Bible study book

4. “Wisdom Search”

B. Worship

1. Music in your car and home

2. Worship together – really engage in your hearts

(Sometimes people are intimidated to be vulnerable in this area – the area of their spirit. They are afraid they will appear weak, unspiritual, or insecure. For many this is unfamiliar territory and they are insecure. But the only way to get comfortable is to dive in. Be who you are, you don’t have to be anyone else, but open yourself up and take a step. Do not let fear of failure hold you back.)

C. Prayer

1. Over meals – out loud (the perfect way to practice)

2. At family gatherings and celebrations.

3. Pray together – routinely, after arguments, over concerns about family, work or kids, for promotions – anything you wish God would do for you. Pray, right then, right there.)

4. Keep a journal and read to each other out of your journal.

D. Service

1. Attend a small group together

2. Volunteer to lead a small group together (NextStep, Membership, LeaderStep)

3. Volunteer in a ministry inside the church or in the community

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