The New York City Marathon happens every November! 45K Runners from all walks of life, countries and backgrounds will run 26.2 miles to prove to the world that they have what it takes to finish strong! Running in and training for a marathon can be just like preparing for or being in a marriage. I am sure there will be very few runners (probably none) that will simply show up tomorrow ready to run without training and knowing what to do in each stage of the marathon. In marriage, couples should be just as committed to training and identifying what to do in every stage of marriage.
Training is key – I know one friend (Connor Scanlon) who has logged hundreds of miles in preparation for the marathon. He’s ran miles in the heat and rain; eaten properly; purchased the right running shoes and nutritional supplements; and read countless articles on how to finish strong. Training for our marriage marathons takes the same effort and heart. Taking advantage of premarital counseling or premarital classes are one of the best ways to prepare for what lies ahead in your relationship. In addition, availing ourselves of the hundreds of thousands books, web resources, enrichment seminars and retreats, is another way to train for what lies ahead.
- The race starts with the first step – you’ve trained and committed yourself and now the big day is hear. Within all of us there are fears and concerns of not finishing strong and the “what if’s” of all the things that can go horribly wrong. Our encouragement to you is simply RUN! When the starting gun goes off and you take the first step celebrate that you are here running in one of the biggest and best marathon’s in the country. Like running a race, marriage starts with taking small steps to accomplishing your marital goals. Here are a few first steps that we all need to consider: 1. Seek advice on how to build healthy communication and conflict resolution skills. 2. Determine your values and goals together. 3. Create unity and oneness within your relationship. 4. Start identifying successful parenting skills. 5. Intentionally maintain intimacy and passion in your marriage and much more. Now is a good time to start taking practical steps!
- Find someone to cheer you on – There are plenty of people who will tell you “marriage is too hard” and “marriage is not worth it”. Do yourself a favor and stay away from naysayers. Instead, get around people who will motivate you to go the extra mile in your marriage or relationship. I love going to the NYC Marathon and seeing the crowds cheer for people with names on their shirts or hats. You can tell when the crowds begin to call their names “Go George keep running…you can do it Melissa…you’re almost there William”, that weary bodies come alive. When we hear our names called and the crowds cheering for us, something happens internally. Find people who can encourage and lift your marriage and cheer you on. It could be a mentoring couple (someone you love and trust to speak into your marriage), a professional counselor (don’t wait too long to see someone who can help save your marriage), or find a couples small group to join!
- Learn what to do when you hit the wall – we’ve all faced it whether we are marathon runners or not. Hitting the wall is a part of life. The question is not “if” you hit the wall but what will do “when” you hit the wall – especially in your marriage. Common walls we all hit are: not feeling “in love” anymore; adjusting to the various “seasons of marriage” we face; sustaining intimacy at every level; fidelity in marriage; and the list goes on and on. Preparing is just as important as “saying I do”. Anyone can get married but it takes a special couple to stay happily married.
Marriage takes training, preparing and enduring as we run together. Have you trained to finish strong? Have you prepared for the obstacles that we all face? Have you built up the endurance to finish the race? We are here to help lift, encourage, cheer and equip you for your marriage marathons and journey for life!