How Marriage is Like Training for a Marathon

As a follow-up to my last post I wanted to let you know that our adoption dossier was not accepted by the Haiti department of social services last week. They are sticking to their one dossier per adoption agency per month quota for now. We are told we should be submitted before June, so now we have nothing to do but wait, pray and trust God.

Thankfully our lives are full of distractions during this waiting period. We have two happy boys who are growing like weeds, jobs and ministry activities and our hobbies. Not to mention my grandparents who still haven’t moved. I just took over their mail and bill paying again because they were getting buried.

In the meantime, this weekend Mike and I attended a Marriage Summit at our church this past weekend. It was called Marriage 101, Back to the Basics.

Some might wonder why we would want to attend a class on the fundamentals of marriage when we’ve been happily married for fifteen years. Let me tell you…having a great marriage is a treasure and something worth investing in. Like anything in the universe, if you don’t put some energy into it, it will naturally head towards entropy and that isn’t good.

Mike and I have been to a number of marriage seminars and classes over the years and we always come away better for it. We may not learn a ton of new material, but it sparks a lot of good conversation and we usually learn something about each other.

Plus this one was cheap and convenient, with childcare provided. Can’t beat that.

Our marriage is far from perfect. FAR far far from perfect. But we are really good at resolving conflict quickly. The more years that pass, the more experience we have, the more quickly we can diffuse arguments and move past them. Having a history of resolving conflicts also makes me increasingly hopeful that when a fight does come up it can be worked through and things will be better on the other side. Looking back at the pattern makes the desire to give up and quit very small.

It’s a lot like training in that regard. It took me more than six months of consistent training to run that half marathon strong. Some runs, especially in the beginning, were pretty hard. But after they were done I felt pretty accomplished. Repeatedly struggling and working through a run that seemed maybe impossible or just daunting taught me that it was possible and I was getting stronger and growing new muscles because of it.

Working through conflicts in marriage is the same way…I don’t just avoid them now because I know that as challenging as they are, they usually lead to renewed and even stronger connection. I know it’s worth the effort, the pay-off is great.