The slow leak
The tire had a slow leak. For weeks or maybe months, we would stop and add air when we saw it was getting low. From time to time, I mentioned the leak, but Dave wasn’t concerned. He’d take care of it later – when he wasn’t so busy, as if he is ever not busy. Plus, if we got a flat, he could change that tire in under five minutes (ask me how I know!). So, we ignored the leak.
One morning, Dave stepped outside and discovered the tire was flat. He took the tire off, drove four miles to our tire guy, who repaired the hole in the tire, and put it back on the car. It was a mild interruption of his schedule, but it could have happened at a more inconvenient time.
I could have said, “Well, if you had only fixed that tire when it started leaking!” or “If you had fixed that tire when I suggested you do it, you would not have had to deal with it this morning.”
I know I’ve been as guilty of procrastination as he and I also knew that he already knew. Chagrin was written all over his face and he didn’t need to hear anything from me.
Marriage is like a tire
Communication 101 is as old as the Garden. Yet, we still don’t have it down. We allow slow leaks to develop in relationships. Instead of working on the leak when it first occurs, we ignore it, adding more air when necessary so we can just keep trucking. Sure, the tire still works, but it’s getting weaker because the hole is still there, and oftentimes it is getting bigger.
We’re busy. We don’t have time or we don’t have the energy it takes to deal with that leak, so we keep refilling the tire to make it through another day.
I grant you that there are times a slow leak needs to be addressed, but there really is no time like now to deal with it. We have deadlines, bills, kids, and illnesses that are on the front burner, so the leak stays on the back burner. That’s okay for a time; however, we tend to forget the leak because it’s not right in front of us. We can still drive that car and get where we need to go today. We forget about that leak because it’s so slow that it isn’t interrupting our routine.
Fixing the slow leak
The solution is so simple, but we make it hard. We make it hard because we are selfish people and we want what we want. We do not want to take the time or expend the effort to fix the leak, nor are we willing to admit our part in the problem.
To fix the slow leak, here’s what we need to do:
- recognize the leak (name it)
- find the leak. (there’s a place this started)
- repair the leak (shore up your communication)
- keep an eye on the patch to make sure it’s strong (marriage maintenance)
- keep the tire running well by maintaining alignment and air pressure (stay connected)
Dave was able to keep the tire inflated by pumping air into the tire. He did not, however, have the tools to find the leak and repair it. He took it to his tire guy, who found the problem and fixed it. For several weeks, I had been checking that tire before I drove off. After it was repaired, I didn’t need to check it as frequently because the problem was fixed.
That’s what we need to do. If we can find the problem ourselves, we can usually fix it. It takes time, effort, and communication. Even after everything is fixed, there will be obstacles. We’ll hit a patch or a nail and once again, the tire begins to leak. That’s the nature of marriage. The key is to repair the leak when it happens so you don’t end up with a blow-out.
If, however, the leak is too large and we need help, we need to find help. It doesn’t always have to be a professional counselor, but it needs to be someone who believes in the permanence of marriage and will help you fight for communication and commitment in your marriage. Find that someone. Go get help.
Check the tire pressure to make sure the leak is fixed. Keep communicating about the problem to make sure you are on the road to recovery.
A good marriage takes effort and work. It is infinitely worth the effort and the work both spouses invest. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Keep pressing forward. The journey is worth it. Trust me, I know.
Photo credits: pixabay.com