A wise, shrewd person discerns the danger ahead and prepares himself, but the naïve simpleton never looks ahead and suffers the consequences.
— Proverbs 27:12 TPT

My truck was recently out of commission for a few days, so I began driving one that belongs to a close family member. This devotional is about harmony in marriage, so I won’t mention whose vehicle I was driving. This person was, however, generous to share her — I mean, their — ride with me!

It had been a while since I had driven this particular vehicle. One of the things I noticed right away was the sticky notes that were placed on the control panel of the dashboard — you know, the panel that shows the gauges and warning lights, such as check engine, low oil pressure, etc. The notes weren’t intended to hide anything. The vehicle’s owner was just using them as personal reminders and to-do lists. I resisted the urge to remove the notes since I was borrowing the vehicle. (I did have to take a peek, however, to make sure everything was OK.)

The gauges and warning lights are provided by vehicle designers for a reason. Most vehicles have a couple dozen lights, each with a specific purpose. If observed and acted upon when illuminated, they can prevent a breakdown or serious damage to the vehicle.

This week at c|Life, we wrapped up the Beautiful Design series with a message that focused on marriage. As we’ve been reminded, marriage between two fallen people in a fallen world is going to be a struggle at times. This is because we all have selfish and sinful natures, looking for an opportunity to surface.

If we are paying attention to what’s important, there are relational warning lights that will indicate a problem, or at least a potential one. There are also things we can do to keep all parameters in check before the warning lights are needed. Although this subject could easily fill a book, here are a few time-proven ways to keep a check on your relational dashboard.

Inspect your relational dashboard lights. As a couple, plan a time and do a self-assessment. Are there warning lights that have been covered up with the “busyness” of life or ignored? Ask open-ended questions. (And be open to what you might hear!)

Pray together. Several years ago, my wife Janet and I were advised to pray together every day. It’s very difficult to do so if you are angry with one another. Plus, you have the tremendous opportunity to do so with Christ as your guide!

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them. — Matthew 18:20

Serve one another. You probably know what your spouse’s favorites are. Secretly go about doing something you know they will enjoy, then see how long it takes them to notice. It could be something as simple as unloading the dishwasher, washing their car or buying a small bouquet of flowers. Be creative, but be sure to keep it on a repeat cycle.

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
— Romans 12:10

It takes work and effort to remove the sticky notes from your relational dashboard to identify and address the warning lights, but it is worth it. Being so intentional will help ensure a safe and enjoyable ride, and will likely prevent a breakdown on the side of the road.