Controlling The Burn

As we are posting tonight there is a wild fire raging in a neighboring county causing damage to property and the rerouting of traffic.  It is causing people to flee in fear of losing everything they have.  Last we heard it had spread across 4,000 acres and was making its aim towards a major highway leaving more havoc in its wake.

Fire is a powerful force to reckon with, and only those who are trained can help stop the firestorm once it starts.

Firefighters say the most powerful technique in preventing wild fires is to perform what they call, “regular controlled burns.” Peter Brannen with the Vineyard Gazette, a publication for Martha’s Vineyard reports:

“It may seem counter intuitive to fight fire with fire, but the key element to a prescribed burn is control.

“You’re much better off having a fire under terms that you dictate versus having a one under unpredictable conditions…”

We are struck with this picture and how it relates to marriage.  It is important to provide controlled burns on a regular basis in our relationship in order to keep from sparking a huge wildfire.  How?  By taking time to talk about the hot topics when they aren’t so hot.   You know what topics we’re talking about – the ones you dread discussing when the subject is mentioned.

It could be money, in-laws, lack of intimacy – you name it.  All marriages have them.  They simmer on the back burner until someone pushes the right button and increases the heat.

But ignoring these issues is the worst thing a couple can do;  it is equivalent to allowing underbrush to grow, which provides fresh fuel when a spark occurs.  Add to this spark a fresh wind of angry words and a wildfire is sure to ensue.  Before you know it it’s difficult to determine how the fire started in the first place and all that remains is a charred mess with little or no life left.

Marriage is hard work.  It takes commitment to go after these hot topics.  It takes love to see past the hurts and purpose to work towards reconciling our differences.  As we do this, it’s like ridding our vineyard of wild undergrowth, which hides offenses and feeds resentment.


Photo: Stacy Barnett

So, put on your fireman’s gear, grab your helmet and plan to burn away things you’ve been holding onto for too long.  Controlling our emotions and committing to talk openly and honestly about these things will go a long way in insuring your vineyard survives many more harvests.

As the years pass you’ll discover you’ve grown closer and more intimate by facing the pain, managing your responses and most of all – controlling the burn.


This entry was posted in Christian Marriage, communication, Difficulty, Forgiveness, Growing Strong Marriages. Bookmark the permalink.

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