What The Olympics Can Teach Us About Lifelong Love

I don’t know about you, but my wife and I love watching the Olympic games, both summer and winter.  It’s always a treat to watch athletes compete at such a high level, especially when they are doing so for love of sport and country!  Besides, it’s always fun to playfully bet against my wife, especially when I win!

Photo Credit: Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press
Photo Credit: Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press

The stories of the athletes are almost as exciting as the events themselves, with Olympians struggling through injuries, setbacks, and challenges that would make most of us hang up our hats long before getting to the Olympics.  Stories like Mark McMorris, who won a bronze medal while snowboarding with a cracked rib, or the US hockey team beating Russia in a dramatic shootout.  What makes these athletes persevere, let alone thrive, amongst so many challenges? Obviously, they love their sport. I am willing to guess, if we interviewed each gold medal winner, it wasn’t love alone that got him or her to where they are. I bet if we asked what got them to this level, each one would say something close to “hard work and relentless effort.”  They had a goal, and they fought for it in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, and it’s amazing to see all that work pay off.

You know, that leads me to a thought about marriage.  What makes a marriage work, let alone thrive?  Couldn’t we say the same thing?  Of course, we fell in love with the person we marry, but love isn’t always easy. It takes hard work and relentless effort. It turns out that these attributes lead to success wherever they are applied, in sports, careers, school, and in marriage!

Photo Credit: MelodyRoss.typepad.com
Photo Credit: MelodyRoss.typepad.com

The United States is no stranger to hard work. In fact we hear that mantra in almost everything we do.  That’s why it’s sometimes troubling to hear people say that while hard work pays in every other dimension of life, the key to a happy marriage is finding the perfect person.  If that’s the key, we might as well forget it.  This perception is a fantasy, and while it makes for good movies, it also makes for confusion and heartache.

The reality is a lot more hopeful.  We don’t have to scour the world for the perfect person, we need to put in hard work and relentless effort; that’s what makes marriages not only last, but thrive.  All couples are capable of a joy-filled marriage, but it comes at the price of dedication, sacrifice, and grace.  The Olympics always remind me of what incredible things we’re capable of, and this year I’d like to apply that potential to my marriage!

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