When our grey Honda Odysee reached 250,000 miles we decided it was time to buy a new one and we gave the old car to our son and his family. My son and daughter-in-law have two small children and we thought this would be a good "run around" back up vehicle for them. To my surprise they used this vehicle a great deal and kept it for several years. They also continued my practice of regular oil changes and regular preventative maintenance. Well, this approach apparently paid off. The other day my son sent me a picture of the odometer: the car had just reached 400,000 miles. These miles were all achieved with the original engine. Although there are no guarantees, preventative maintenance seems to be a strategy, in many cases, that works.
I am certainly not a poster child for self-care. I do try to exercise regularly and, especially these past several years, I have tried to make better choices regarding my diet. But, I tend to over work, I stay up late and get too little sleep; and, with the exception of my annual physical, I seldom ever go to the doctor. But these are not really good life strategies. Waiting for a problem to occur before seeing a dentist, eye-doctor, or family physician, is usually a recipe for "big time" problems. There is a reason why the dentist recommends patients come in twice a year (or at least once a year). It is easier to fill a cavity when it is just beginning than to do a root canal and crown as the result of an abscess. Personally, I don't want to wait until I have heart trouble or diabetes before I loose weight and begin a regular program of walking. I think most people would agree that the "preventative" approach is best..
Relationally these principles hold true as well. It makes much morse sense to "nurture" our marriage (going on dates, having time alone just to talk, doing little things that say "I love you") than to wait till our marriage is on the brink of divorce before we decided to pay attention to our spouse! In most cases, preventative maintenance is simply a good idea. It helps keeps mechanical things, people, and relationships healthy and strong.
So congratulations to my son and all who get high milage on their car. My recommendation is simply that we give equal effort to caring for ourselves and nurturing our relationship with the one's we love.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.