I went for a walk this morning and was really enjoying the beauty of the day when I realized it was trash day in my neighborhood. The garbage cans were lined up at the end of each drive way waiting for the garbage truck to come by and haul their contents away. Now, this wouldn't have been a super bad thing if the heat had not been in the 90's. Yep, you get where I'm going with this. YUCK.....the smell was horrible. As I walked by each driveway, the pungent aroma was more than I could take and I found myself covering my nose to keep from smelling the odor. "What a shame," I said to myself. "I'm out here on this beautiful walk and I can't even enjoy it because of the smell of this trash. I wish I had remembered it was trash day. I would have taken another route or walked on another day."
It didn't take long for me to realize that this was a marriage metaphor. (I seem to do that a lot - connect my experiences to marriage and relationships.) Sometimes marriages can be like trash. We don't take care of them and nurture them the way we should so they end up smelling and the smell isn't pleasant. The difference between our marriages and trash is that we live day in and day out with the "smell" of our marriages and don't do anything about it. We just complain that it "stinks." Sometimes the smell in marriage is my fault - I'm the one with the bad attitude or rotten behaviors. Sometimes the smell is my partner's fault – he’s the one with the stinky attitudes and behaviors and if we both have poor behaviors and attitudes, then the marriage really gets to smelling.
Think of it like this: remember the last time you walked into your kitchen and your nasal passage was hit with an awful stench? You probably said something like, "Oh, My Gosh! What's that horrible smell?" Upon further investigation, you found that the kitchen garbage had rotten food in it and the trash needed to be taken out. If someone didn't take the trash out, the smell was going to get worse and worse. Well, that’s like the "trash" in our marriages. Unless we recognize the "smell" and decide to "investigate where it's coming from," the problems and issues will continue to rot and the "smell" will get worse. Before we know it, we will be avoiding each other and wondering what happened to our marriage. Just like taking out the trash, we must be deliberate in our marriages and get rid of the smell when we first begin to notice it. The truth is that we see it; we feel it; we know something isn't right. The longer we avoid dealing with it, the greater the problems become.
What smells in your marriage? What do you need to address? Can you be the one to "take out the trash" so the two of you can smell fresh again? The cool thing is that trash day can be every day in a marriage - you don't have to wait for the garbage truck to come!