Yeah. You read it right. And I’ll say it again:
Marriage is like an emotional 3 legged race.
For the rest of your life (a clause that’s sadly becoming increasingly optional), it’s the two of you. Three legs. One life.
Sometimes one of you will be called upon to be the strong one, catching a fall, bracing against a stumble, keeping the duo upright and forward moving.
Sometimes it means you’ll need to stop, take a breath, figure out how to re-sync your steps so that you can move forward gracefully and progressively with some real hope of actually getting somewhere.
And yes, sometimes all it really means is that it’s easier for the whole thing to come a-tumbling down. One party megatrips and takes the whole team down- sometimes even out.
But here’s something else to consider: there’s someone to bellow at you (slash ‘encourage’) and haul you up. Someone to bellow at (ditto) and haul up. Or someone to brace against when you’re struggling back up. When. Not if. Because you see, the thing about being bound to someone means it isn’t- cannot- be about just you.
Sometimes, despite my busted emotional ankle or my husband’s bruised emotional knee, we need to focus on the Godly objective and move toward that, hobbling along, trusting God to make perfect- or at least beneficial- all the various bumps n bruises we WILL both suffer and inflict on each other, even with every good intention in place.
I am by no means belittling the horrifying and hurtful things that can happen between two humans, muchless two people who are staring down the barrel of forever together. What I am saying is that just as ‘I love you’ isn’t enough to make a marriage, or ‘I’m sorry’ isn’t enough to mend it, ‘I’ isn’t enough to define it.
When we involve God in a real and active way, we’re inviting him in as our impartial third party. Our ultimate judge. The referee who isn’t susceptible to bribes, emotional blackmail, baggage or even the kind of exhaustion that prompts disengagement or irrationality. We’re acknowledging a Perspective that has nothing to do with the fickle feeeeelings we rely on so instinctively, and one which pushes us- bleeding hearts and justifiable rages and all- to find GOD’s desired outcome. It removes us from the realm of ‘me and you’, in which one person ‘has’ to ‘lose’, and makes it about God, an arena in which we both have to give a little to truly ‘succeed’.
I’m still a marital newbie, but from what I hear, you never stop learning and re-learning stuff. And I’ve observed marriages of varying lengths, intensities and pairings (how did THEY ever make sense???), and the one thing that remains constant is that those that have a higher objective that ‘you and me’ are the ones that make it through when ‘you’ or ‘me’ or both crash out of the race in marvelous clouds of catastrophe. Or even in silent whimpers of fatigue. Or boredom.
So yeah. Marriage is a marathon, designed to stretch out as far as your life can see…all the while bound to your wonderful spouse. The race track vistas go from beautiful lakeside parks on a beautiful Summer day, to dry, acrid deserts or frozen tundra at midnight, then back again, then not again, etc… But on and on it does go. And the way I see it, your best bet at making it across the line sweaty, disheveled, banged up but still even just baseline ‘in love’ is to go it all with God.
Would it be bad to make any kind of reference to a holy threesome here? Probably. So I won’t.
Look, alls I’m trying to say is: God is love. All kinds of love. Even married ‘lurve’ love. God’s fighting for your marriage even harder than you are. And if love is a war or a battlefield, or a three legged race, He’s for sure the kind of backative you’re going to want on your side…
You gotta have Love.
- 1 Thess 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
- 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
- 1 Cor 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.