The voice on the telephone line was obviously stressed.
“I’m sorry but we are going to have to cancel our reservation this weekend at David’s Refuge.”
After a painful few moments of silence the tears began to flow. Rory just listened as the woman poured out the brokenness of their marriage. She then said,
“I wished we would have come six months ago.”
It sounded as if it were over. No hope. Too late. “If only we would have…..”
Their gas tank was dry. After caring for their children, after holding down jobs, after running from one doctor to the next, after one more fight, after wrestling with the fear of the future and the unknown, their relationship sputtered and stalled. Intimacy was a fading memory. Laughter a rare intruder. Communication dissolved into short staccato burst of who will pick up the dry cleaning or buy bread at the store.
Sadly many couples simply give up when they get to this point. Many divorce. Some live as roommates. Others rip each other apart, only deepening the open wounds they already have from living in a broken world. Hope is lost.
Yet is hope really lost? I don’t think it is or has to be. Let me ask you a question. If a friend told you they ran out of gas on the highway and decided to abandon their car for good what would you say to them? You would tell them they are crazy. Yes, it may have to be towed, yes they may have to do a little maintenance to get it started, but all it really needed was a gallon of gas. I wonder how many marriages have ended when all they needed was a gallon of gas?
The woman who had to cancel knew six months ago their marriage needed help. The gauge on their relational dashboard was dangerously low. But like many of us she ignored the warning signs, thinking they could keep going without checking the oil and filling their gas tank. Excuses were made, time not made, and lies believed.
As you look at the gauges on your relational dashboard what are they telling you? Is it time for a tune up? Are you running on fumes and simply need to pause long enough to fill your tank? Don’t ignore the signs or that clunking sound. Be proactive! Don’t wait until you have to say, “I wished we would have come six months ago.” Care for yourselves and for each other. Ask for help. All you may need is a gallon of gas.
PS: The woman who called went to get some counseling with her husband, took some time to refill their gas tanks, and have signed up again to come to David’s Refuge. 🙂