My husband and I recently ran a 5K marathon. We were pretty excited to do this together, but that day when we woke up the sky was gray, the weather was cold, and it was raining. Neither of us had much motivation to go out there and run the marathon, but despite it all we decided to get bundled up and get ready to run anyway. We knew we could get through this race because we had each other for support and that got me thinking that this mindset is not unlike the way we approach our marriage.
When my husband and I first got together and decided “Hey let’s get married,” we set out thinking it would be a clear sky and sunshine kind of marathon too. We geared up for the long haul, put on our best running shoes, and made sure we each had our water bottles to keep hydrated from time to time when things felt dry in our relationship. When we first started this race, it was so exciting! We dreamed of a lifetime of happiness, sunshine and rainbows. Get ready, get set, go! We thought we were ready, until that day a gray cloud in the sky called “differences” appeared.
I mean we knew we were different. He is guy and I am girl; we liked different stuff. But I am talking about the kind of “differences” that get under your skin. Funny thing is, it’s usually the subtle stuff that gets to you. For example, you are neat, he is messy; he wants to watch sports all day long, and you, well, not so much; one procrastinates, the other wants it done now; one is a spender and the other wants to save it all; one wants to talk about their feelings and the other one doesn’t listen. It’s stuff like this that builds up in your relationship, and your marathon together feels like you are running under gray skies, rain, and sometimes a thunderstorm. We found that, as we got so weighed down by these little difference, it became more and more difficult to see the bright spots in our marriage. You start off in marriage very excited and with a goal in mind to cross the finish line. But how do you continue to love your spouse when you are frustrated and not as motivated as you were when you first said your marriage vows?
Well, for one thing, you do it together.
In marriage you will have your differences and your own experience weathering difficulties and unexpected challenges. In all of my 27 years of marriage, what I have discovered most about staying in this marathon called marriage is that it’s not so much about how to weather the storm, but it’s about how to motivate each other to stay in the race and cross the finish line together.
My husband and I may not have finished our marathon first that cold and rainy day, but we finished it together. As my husband and I were entering into our last mile, we became tired and fatigued. I felt like this last mile was weighing me down, when my husband looked at me and said, “We are almost there, we got this. Let’s cross this finish line together,” and then offered me his arm. I grabbed his arm and found the support I needed to finish our last mile. At that moment it didn’t matter how I was feeling or what kind of weather we were facing. I was just happy that I had him by my side to finish this race as a couple, just like when we first started.