Marathon Runners or Sprinters?
( Source: Billy Milton’s e-book: Building a Marathon Marriage)
At the moment I said, “I do,” I realized that I made a wedding vow in front of my dear husband, and most of all, we exchanged our wedding vow in front of the Altar of the church which means we said it before God.
By saying, “I do,” doesn’t mean that life would be as beautiful as Hollywood’s dream. It’s not as simple as that! Marriage needs lots of adjustments, tolerance, and most of all the willingness to accept every single change that will come along the way.
Changes are uncertain. But as the wise person said, the only thing that’s certain in this life is just the changes. We’ll be in a dynamic situation where changes can be met here, there and everywhere in our life.
Of course, I’m not an expert of a marriage. I’m still far from that! But, with this tiny experience of marriage, I tried to see more from other people’s point of view as well.
And Billy Milton’s book at least gave me a real good example on how to face a marriage with a different attitude- the better one for sure!
Why do so many marriages fail? Quite simply, couples start their married life with a sprinter's mentality and when the reality of the commitment hits them, they bail. They aren't thinking marathon—they're thinking sprint. They're thinking, Glamour and glory, when they need to think, Guts and graft.
And most importantly, Billy also gave a secret to a marathon marriage:
Many couples mistakenly believe that if you love someone, marriage will be easy.
Every couple who's achieved a healthy longevity in their marriage has recognized that there are times of pain when they want to give up, when they even think they don't love each other anymore. But they don't quit. Why? Because they've developed the "marathon mentality"—in which pain doesn't divert a true marathon runner from his or her goal.
Don't be a sprinter—develop a marathon mentality and get set for a great race. Here are some secrets that marathon-marriage couples have discovered:
1. Pain isn’t always a bad thing.
2. Displaced pain can lead to trouble
3. Pain isn’t a signal that your marriage is over.
4. Pain can’t be the focus of your race.
It seems that what Billy has emphasized along his book is about realizing that pain will be there in a marriage (and of course in all part of our life, married or single, pain is unavoidable). But pain isn’t a signal that marriage is over. And pain can’t be our focus of the race. If we’re focusing on that, for sure, we’ll be in trouble.
And finally, I realized that it’s almost impossible to have a healthy marriage without involving God, our Lord as the center of the marriage itself. Knowing that marriage will be full of pain and yet we still need to be faithful no matter how painful the condition is, the ability to forgive is on top of the list. While asking for more merciful heart to God, I know and I realize more and more each day that I could never make it on my own. Depending on God in order to have a marathon runner attitude towards my marriage and also toward this life, would make our Daddy in Heaven proud :)
God, let me be a Marathon Runner and not a sprinter in this marriage and also in this life. Amen.
Singapore, April 3, 2008