Why not marriage skills? Since we would not expect to become a successful violinist, plumber or watch maker without careful preparation and seriously working at our jobs.
Neither will we be successful in our marriages without the training and marriage skills which can result only from serious and continuous effort. People often fail because they take the same attitude toward their marriage as does the owner of a car.
The ordinary driver knows that to operate his car, he must do some things. He must start it, shift gears, steer, and stop. He must provide it with gas, oil, water and air. But after he has done these few simple tasks, he expects the car to do the rest.
When he puts his foot on the starter, he expects it to start. When he takes it on a trip, he expects it to purr along without trouble, so long as it is filled up. If it breaks down, he will probably feel baffled and possibly resentful. It is not his job to servŽice the car. It is the job of the car to give him what he wants and expects, without too much effort or expense on his part.
The attitude of the garage mechanic is quite different. To begin with, he feels a different kind of responsibility. He must not merely get service from the car, but make sure that the car gets the kind of service which will make it run properly. He not only drives and rideshe is also alert for any kind of trouble which might become serious.
He keeps the car not only fed, but tuned up and adjusted. Breakdowns do not appear as outrageous surprises. His job is to fix things when they go wrong. And since he underŽstands the car, he can respond to trouble creatively. Instead of feeling baffled and bewildered, he finds out the nature of the difficulty and has the knowledges and the skills to correct it.
The satisfactions of a successful marriage are not to be had merely by performing a few simple tasks, such as feeding a man, dressing up the children, or paying the bills. If a marriage is to function well it must be kept in constant adjustment and repair by people who understand it and are willing to put in the amount of study and effort which is required. When breakdowns occur, as they will, you should know enough about the situation so that you will not be floored by them.
You should know enough to be able to spot the difficulty and fix it. Keeping a marriage in good running order is a real job which requires hard work. Yet work alone is not enough. Success in marriage also requires intelligent understanding and effective marriage skills.
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