by Steve Goodier
A Kansas cyclone hit a farmhouse just before dawn one morning. It lifted the
roof off, picked up the beds on which a farmer and his wife slept, and set them
down gently in the next county.
The wife began to cry.
"Don't be scared, Mary," her husband comforted. "We're not hurt."
Mary continued to cry. "I'm not scared," she responded between sobs. "I'm
happy... 'cause this is the first time in 14 years we've been out together."
I find that little things, such as too little time and attention, will hurt an
intimate relationship (marriage, parent-child, or close friendships) more than
anything else. We can usually get through the times of crisis; it's neglect that
often destroys closeness and intimacy.
In his book The Romance Factor, Alan Loy McGinnis says the longer we postpone
maintenance, the faster the rate of deterioration. He writes this: "I see that
principle operating in families every day. Many couples who have come to my
office with their marriages in shreds did not start fighting about unsolvable
problems. Their marriages were not suffering from major malfunctions, but merely
from a series of small deteriorations that a little adjusting and tightening
could have corrected. But people had lost interest and had turned their
attention to other things: children; careers; tennis; decorating their homes."
I don't know of anything of value that does not require time, attention and lots
of maintenance! In one week's time I once worked on two plumbing problems at
home, caulked bathroom tile, replaced a heating element on the dryer and another
on the stove. At the same time my car needed two new tires, windshield wipers, a
battery, new brakes and a starter motor.
But everything of value requires maintenance. And I am in trouble when my home
or automobile receives more attention than my closest relationships. Even if a
marriage is made in heaven, the maintenance must be done on earth.
Mother Teresa said, "The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than
the hunger for bread." Lack of regular maintenance will turn your valuable
relationship from an ideal into an ordeal. But daily maintenance - spending
enough time, listening and touching, laughing and caring - will keep you close.
And isn't that what you're hungering for?
is a professional speaker, consultant and author of numerous books. Visit
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