Have you ever seen a three-legged race? Teams of two people tie one leg to the other person’s leg and then take off running together on what looks like three legs.
It’s awkward at best. And kind of silly. But after a few clumsy steps, it’s possible for two people who are tied to each other to cooperate and race successfully across a field toward a finish line
Marriage is like that sometimes. Because we are, in a sense, tethered to one another as husband and wife. And our stride doesn’t always match our partner. Sometimes we don’t have the same goals. And when we do, we don’t always agree on how to get from point A to point B.
So sometimes, it’s tempting to think we’d be better off running solo.
Have you been there?
The truth is that three-legged races only cover short distances. They are by design a crazy sort of sprint.
Marriage is more of a marathon.
We run this race of life tied together by common history from building a life together. We are joined by shared responsibilities of family, and the dreams and visions we have for the future.
And when we are running well, these ties do not impede our progress, but rather enhance and enrich our journey.
If you are a runner, or you have family or friends who run, you may be familiar with the term “runner’s high.” If not, here is a definition from Scientific American.
Runner’s high: A feeling of euphoria coupled with reduced anxiety and a lessened ability to feel pain.
This feeling is widely attributed to a release of endorphins by the brain during and after strenuous exercise.
When things are working well in a marriage, there is a similar effect.
Maybe it’s a tingly feeling when you see your spouse across the room. Or realizing that you smile more when you are together or anticipate time together. Sharing burdens reduces anxiety and lessens pain.
You revel in each other because you feel seen, and heard, and understood. You share a lingering kiss. A great conversation. You celebrate an event or get excited about reaching an important goal together.
Marriage can generate feelings of euphoria. And marriage can also produce a deep sense of satisfaction and well-being.
We need those times because marriage, like the rest of life, can also be tough.
Want to keep your marriage running strong in 2020?
Spend some concentrated time with your spouse.
Review your goals and plans for the coming months. Coordinate calendars and schedule date nights.
Read a good book together.
Choose a book about marriage or some other personal growth topic, or even a good novel you would both enjoy.
Talk to each other.
Make time each day to check in about the business of life AND stay in touch emotionally.
Consider a marriage course or refresher.
Don’t wait until things are not going well to invest in your marriage. Continue to learn about each other and grow together.