A few weeks ago, one of my favorite little people kept quoting that commercial over and over as she was playing. I don't think she really realized what she was talking about, but as she said that one line repeatedly, a different thought popped into my head. This commercial symbolizes a lot that is sad and wrong about our culture, but I think it also resonates because it is built on a truth that could save a whole lot of marriages. "If you aren't building up your marriage, you're letting it go." I know that I would probably get a lot of pushback from this (if more than a handful of people read it), but I believe that it is true. "If you aren't building up your marriage, you're letting it go."
Let me clarify what I am saying versus what I am not saying:
- I am saying that a healthy marriage is made up of two people who are constantly and intentionally engaged in the relationship.
- I am not saying that if a day, a week, a month, a year, or even a decade goes by and one or both of you are checked out of the relationship, then your marriage is doomed and you might as well give up.
- I am saying that a healthy marriage takes effort every single day.
- I'm not saying that if you ever have something come up in your life that requires your focus to be on the crisis rather than your relationship, then your marriage is doomed and you might as well give up.
- I am saying that building up your marriage can take something as little as 10 minutes a day and a simple, "How can I help you today?"
- I am not saying that you have to spend every waking minute with your spouse and thinking about your relationship every minute you are away from them.
I am saying that if you aren't intentional about building up your marriage, a little bit at a time, on a regular basis, it is way too easy to just let it go, a little bit at a time, until you feel like your marriage is doomed. And, if your marriage gets to that point, you have a hard decision to make: do you give up and call the whole thing off? OR...do you start all over again, building up your marriage from scratch?
Even the peddlers of teeth whitening products get this right: don't give up. If you haven't whitened in years, you can't expect to see results overnight. You won't go from yellow to brilliant white in a week, a month, or even a year. Translation: if you haven't spent any time building up your marriage in years, you can't expect to see results overnight. You won't go from totally disconnected to best of friends in a week, a month, or maybe even a year.
Colgate doesn't want you to quit, and neither do I.