Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Three-Legged Race

A friend of mine this past week referred to marriage as a three-legged race and that image has really stuck with me. I'm sure this illustration has been used a million times but for whatever reason it hasn't crossed my mind before. It's so true! You have two people, trying to walk in step with one another and at times it is just down right difficult. Here are a couple thoughts running through my head about the three-legged race that is marriage:


1) Practice, practice, practice!

The winners at the annual three-legged race at family reunions every year are the ones who take the time to talk strategy before diving into the race. They make sure they are on the same page and know what leg to lead with. They also take time to walk around a bit before heading to the starting line. And isn't it also true that the ones who tend to win are the ones who are partners year after year?

If you are dating or engaged, take the time to really dig into conversations about what your marriage will be like. Read books, do pre-marital counseling, do pre-pre-marital counseling. Go on a retreat or take a class at your church together. The more you can do to get on the same page before hand, the better.

However, those of you who are married, know that no amount of preparation will completely eliminate any conflicts. Once you're married, you have to take the time to keep talking and evaluating where things are at. Be quick to see counselors or ask for help when you realize your moving at different tempos. Continue to read books, go to workshops and find ways to challenge your marriage.


2) The most telling thing is how you help each other up, not how fast you go.

I think it says more about a persons character when you observe how they handle failure and I believe the same is true for a marriage. Rather than working to hide all your struggles and failures be open and transparent about them instead. First off, be honest with yourselves as it's the moments where one of you is dragging the other along that actually teach us the most about ourselves and our spouse. But second, be honest with others because your failures will help others avoid your same mistakes.


3) Expect to fall out of step at some point.

It's a fantastic feeling when you and your spouse are in perfect lock and step and you've gone from a walk to a break out run together. Enjoy those seasons of your marriage but don't surprised when someone takes a misstep and you've got to slow down or stop all together to get on the same page before continuing forward.

First, don't take it out on your spouse if they are the ones to slow things down. I, like many men, hate it when Melissa wants to talk about our relationship. It annoys me because I typically feel like things are fine and I want to just keep running. However, it's so important to be loving in those moments and take the time for the conversation. I have learned that when I do that, we end up running even better or faster after the pause then if we had just kept going.

Second, understand that the consequence of not being willing to stop or slow down will be falling down instead of just a misstep and at times injuries. Don't ignore issues for the sake of appearances or comfort because it will only make things worse. We watched this happen in our first year of marriage. We ignored early signs and just tried to keep on pushing through them when we really needed to stop and ask for help. More and more hurtful things would be said during fights and eventually we got kicked out of our apartment because our fights were so loud. With both of us flat on our faces and fighting about how to get back up, we needed a counselor to work with us, slowly stand us back up and then help us talk through how to start moving forward together.

Jake

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Our goal of this blog is to share stories (both good and bad), thoughts and insights about our marriage and we would love for you to jump into the conversation.

The goal is to provide three things:
1) HOPE for struggling couples that they are not alone.
2) GROWTH in our marriages and our understanding of marriage.
3) ENCOURAGEMENT to keep loving your spouse unconditionally.