My first car was a 72 Plymouth Duster with a V-8 engine and a stick shift in the floor transmission. It was sky blue with two flat black hood scoops and white racing stripes on each side. It was not the fastest car around but it sure was fun to drive. It was the only one around and anyone who knew me knew how much I loved it. The car seemed to be made for me.
I was sixteen when my Mom bought me that car and I was still driving it a year later when Janet and I started dating. During the eighteen months we dated I even taught Janet how to drive it. She had always been afraid of straight drives.
Then a year after we were married, I was driving one summer afternoon and I wrecked my car into a ditch. It was not a real serious accident, although I did get stitches. But there was some considerable damage done to my car.
No worries though, I had the right guy for the job. My Mom was dating a paint and body man who had his own shop. I helped him out in his body shop a few times, so I figured this should be something the two of us could easily fix.
So, I had the car towed to where I worked until I could work out the details of how we were going to fix it. Then I had Mom’s boyfriend meet me one day after work. He looked the car over, checking out all the damage. And with one heartbreaking statement he turned to me and said, “it’s totaled.”
Apparently there was more damage underneath the car than I had expected. I was devastated. Because, in my mind, this automatically meant that it was beyond repair.
I did not want to send my car off into some auto grave yard. I loved my car. But who was I to argue with this guy. After all, I was only twenty years old and he was the expert.
Now many years later, I know something now I didn’t know then. The term “totaled” he used was from his perspective and it was based on what he thought the value of the car was versus the amount of work it would take to fix it.
To him the car was not worth it. But he didn’t bother to ask me if the car would be worth it or not. If I had known it was possible I would have done whatever it took to restore my car back to what is was before I wrecked it and possibly even better than it had ever been before.
A “totaled” marriage?
I reflect on this story of my first car because it reminds me of the experience we have had in our marriage, only with a different ending.
When our marriage was in trouble and it looked like it was beyond repair, I had almost everyone around me saying it was over. Even my own father-in-law told me to throw in the towel. But what most of our friends and family did not understand was I had a higher estimation on the value of my marriage than they did.
And because of the value I had placed on it, I was willing to do the work to make it right. The extent of damage in my marriage did not change the value; it just determined the amount of work that had to be done to fix it.
Which now, the value of our marriage has increased because of the work we put in to restore it and the work we continue to do to make it even better.
What is your marriage worth?
So here is the real problem we have today. The struggle so many people have with their marriage is a battle over the value they place on it. If it has little value it can easily be disposed of. When things get tough or even when the interest fades, it is too easy to consider their marriage as “totaled.”
But, if we place great value on our marriages we will guard it and treat it like a treasure. We will work hard to keep it in good shape and repair any damage that happens along the way. And we will embrace every opportunity we have to make it better.
The attack against marriage
The enemies attack against marriage is simple. It is a plan to steal the value we place on marriage. That’s what he always does. He comes along to temp us to reconsider if what we had once believed is really true or not. He tries to plant seeds of doubt. Look at how he came at Eve, “did God really say?” Then he said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God.”
3 keys to stand against the attacks.
- Value marriage the way God does. A holy covenant that is meant to last a lifetime.
- Guard your marriage as a treasure. Just as Jerry Jenkins describes in “Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It.”
- Invest in every way possible to make it better. Keep growing in your understanding of each other. Keep exploring the beauty of your relationship.
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