I ran my first 50-yard dash at a race in my elementary school. I only placed third, but I was hooked. By the age of 12, I was running 10K races and ran my first marathon at the tender age of 13. The funny story is that they had planned to take the finish line down at 5 hours but my mom knew I was on my last mile and she begged the race director to keep the finish line up for me. Finish time 5 hours and 12 minutes. Ahh!
For some odd reason, despite being ridiculously slow, I loved the distance. I adored long bike rides and endurance swimming as well. Perhaps my penchant for endurance activities led me to this crazy idea that marriage is also an endurance activity.
Most marriages profess in their vows to love each other for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, bla bla bla. Why then do so many relationships run out of steam at the first sign of a bi-polar diagnosis (in sickness), or they quit the relationship when the finances run sour (for poorer), or any other myriad of reasons that “it just wasn’t working out”?
If I had quit running when I got my first blister, first set of shin splints, plantar fasciitis, heel spurs or chondromalacia, I would have never experienced the richness of being a runner. The injuries and disappointments are part of the sport.
I have gotten caught running in a hail storm, and yet I ran. I ran when it was so cold that the air pocket on my Nike running shoes broke. I once arrived at a race with no running shoes. I borrowed an extra pair from someone and ran 26.2 miles in shoes too big for me. Oh, the blisters I had that day! And yet I ran. Many times I trained my butt off only to fall short of a goal in a particular race and yet I ran. While running with my father I got bitten by a dog. The dog chose my inner thigh and bit me four days before a qualifying race. You know what I did? I ran in the race. In my twenties, I qualified for the Boston Marathon but my heel spurs were in full pain mode when we arrived in Boston. What did I do? I taped my feet and I ran.
What was the point of those short stories? My hope is to bring home that marriage is an endurance activity. Yours may suffer from addiction, infidelity, a loss of a job, a loss of a child or any number of things that can feel like there is simply no hope. Maybe you are married to an unbeliever who does not share your faith. Perhaps you just have no idea what you were thinking when you said “I do” and now you can’t fathom staying with him one more minute. Did you get married young because all of your friends were doing it? Was the biological clock on the baby machine ticking? Did you got married to get away from your parents? Perhaps you assumed all of her weird habits would disappear after the vows or you expected him to do things differently once you showed him the right way to do it. Will this second (or third) marriage be the charm?
Let’s face it. We all had different reasons for saying “I do” so where do we go to avoid saying “I don’t”? Your marriage will get “blisters” from time to time. I truly hope that you will understand that the tough times are part of the richness of being in a relationship. Look past the difficulties long enough to avidly find a way to view your partner in a new light. Allow yourself the opportunity to “run” into her arms again. You won’t be sorry like someone who dropped out of the race. You will be victorious and proud to have crossed the finish line with the knowledge that you ran your best race ever. #GoTheDistance #strongerthanbroken #staceygreene