There are a lot of different reasons why there may be a fire in your house; some good or on purpose and others simply dangerous. Your view and response to each of these is important. Marriage can often have some of the same qualities of fire. Some we are excited about while others we are not. How you view certain situations in your marriage will determine the success of your marriage.

Often in my profession people will come to me in a panic because they feel their marriage is on the brink of destruction when in reality they are just overreacting to a situation that could be managed if it were approached properly. It is much like fire in your home. If you call the fire department because a candle was burning, that is completely unnecessary. Social media only gives us another outlet to magnify our problems. People talk about their marriage much like they do a fire in their house. Often it was an ember in the fireplace but to hear them talk their house (or marriage) was burning to the ground.

Fire is necessary in marriage. However, it must be maintained and cannot be ignored. It must be tended to, stoked and controlled. It is not really any different than fire in our home. Let’s look at the correlation between fire and marriage.

Mood

Candles set a mood. It can be the glow of the candle that sets the mood, but more often it is the scent of the candle that we are after. That small flame ignites smells that can refresh a room and make it extremely inviting. Occasionally when left unattended, the candle may burn too long and make a waxy mess. This may frustrate us temporarily but it is not the end of the world.

Fire creates mood in our marriage. That light flicker that constantly is lit inside of us for our mate sets the mood daily in our relationship. It makes it inviting to be in the presence of our partner. Sometimes the mood gets a little off kilter, much like melted wax and things are not exactly as we planned. The mood of your relationship needs a little attention. This is not the end of the marriage, or even need for counseling (and never social media complaining). It’s just time to pay a little closer attention to things until we have them back in order.

Comfort

On a cold day, one of the most comforting things in a home is a nice warm fire in the fireplace. The crackling of the wood. The smell that fills the house. The warmth it brings to our bodies. A fire in a fireplace can touch so many of our senses and bring such a comfort to a home. One of the largest “comfort food” restaurants in the US is Cracker Barrell. In every one of the restaurants you will find a fireplace because it adds to that feeling of comfort. Fires in a fireplace are started intentionally and kept in a controlled environment, which adds to the level of comfort.

Fire in marriage can bring comfort.  Sex and fire are often equated and there is some correlation to be made. But one of the greatest benefits of sex is comfort. It is that assurance of two people committed to one another being able to share something exclusively. In the Bible we find that Isaac was comforted with sex by Rebeccah when his mother died. Those moments of passion in one another’s arms brings comfort in knowing that I am completely yours and you are completely mine. It is initiated by us in an environment where we feel safe. Comfort in marriage is necessary.

Survival

There are several places in a home where fire helps us survive. We may have a gas furnace or a gas stove. Even electricity is equated to fire and creates sparks. We need fire in our home to survive. We need heat when it is cold and air conditioning when it is hot. We need to keep some food cold while we also need it to heat or cook that same food in order to safely eat it. We need lights to navigate and warm water to bath. Certain amounts of fire are necessary for us to survive.

The same is true in marriage. Fire is necessary for our survival. The spark that gives us hope. The fire that fuels us to stay committed. The light that helps us see clearly the needs of our spouse and helps navigate difficult times. The fire that drives us to provide for those around us. Marriage cannot exist without some spark, some fire, to move keep it going.

Accident

The danger with any fire is that there can be accidents. The smallest candle ignored can burn an entire house down. We are told from an early age not to play with fire. We need fire but are just being warned not to be careless with fire because accidents can potentially lead to devastation. Over my lifetime I have had plenty of accidents with fire. I have made a mess on a table because a candle was left unattended. I was singed one time because I wasn’t paying attention to the draft on a grill. I had a campfire get out of hand. Just last night I melted a lid in the microwave. I have burnt my fingers with a match. The list of small accidents that have happened with fire is long. In almost every case I was able to deal with the problem myself. On one occasion someone helped me put out the campfire. In most cases there has been some minimal damage. The lid melted and my wife was frustrated. The table was sooted. I didn’t have eyebrows for a couple of weeks. There was no major loss, I didn’t have have to call the fire department and there was no major crisis.

Accidents happen in marriage. The fire of marriage can create mood, comfort and the ability to survive but it can also create problems when there is an accident. Left unattended marriage can get out of balance and attitudes can get out of whack leading to conflict. Conflict can cause tempers to flare which may make matters even worse. The fire of passion left uncontrolled may seek other partners which can wreak havoc on any family unit. What was meant for comfort suddenly creates great discomfort. The light that helps us navigate our spouse’s needs can turn into a conversation where we are only seeing their faults. What once was a benefit to our home has suddenly turned into a problem and it is up to us to deal with it.

The danger is that when these accidents happen we are tempted to exaggerate the issues at hand. No one would call the fire department because wax had gotten on a table. They would just clean it up. The same is true with a campfire that got a little out of hand or a stove whose flame was too high. We would address it and deal with it. We wouldn’t abandon the house because some food caught on fire on the stove. We would not even abandon the house for a kitchen fire. It may require some people to help us put it out and other people to help us repair it, but we still wouldn’t just walk away. Why is it that we are ready to throw up our hands at every flame that gets out of hand in marriage?

Social media has created an avenue where we can garner attention sensational comments. Thus, we are tempted to share every flare-up in our marriage with the world. However, we don’t tell them that it was just a candle that fell over. We describe it as a house fire. Everyone doesn’t need to know these things. Just as with the majority of accidents with fire you have in your home, you can deal with flare-ups in marriage without anyone ever knowing it. On occasion you may need some assistance, but even then it is going to be for specific help, not an all-call. Why do we throw our hands up and consider walking away every time there is a small incident? Even on the occasions when there is major damage, walking away is the last resort. It may require some outside assistance for us to get things back in order, but it can be fixed. Your home and your marriage are much more valuable than that.

Don’t allow the mishaps of marriage to derail you any more than small accidents around the home would cause you to walk away from it. Accidents happen. Deal with them promptly and wisely. Sometimes the effects will be small. Clean it up and move on. Other times there will be major damage. Get the help needed to repair it and enjoy the new. We need fire in our home and in our marriage. Just know its purpose and be prepared to deal with the accidents.

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