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Archive for September 27th, 2011

It is a rare thing for an athlete to have both a gifting for speed and for endurance. The short track runner needs to have the human equivalent of fuel injection … they need to start fast and keep it going to the end. The marathon runner needs to be able to pace his or her self … it is a long run, and so their energies need to be spread out over a longer period of time, running consistently until they cross the finish line.

Endurance has become, in our society, a word associated primarily with athletics. I am no athlete, but I do know that my natural tendency in living is that of the short track runner.

I can start well, I have amazing energies for short term projects (and if they are long term, they are still sitting, unfinished, in a closet in my house), I am fantastic at responding in a crises, I am a confident trouble-shooter. I struggle to know how to be balanced, I struggle to start anything slowly, I can easily shelve any project or problem when I get bored of it. I struggle to keep going when I cannot see the finish line.

When I think of the word endurance, I think … marriage.

This week hubby and I will celebrate twenty-two years of marriage together. To some we have already run a marathon (amen to that), and to others we have only completed a short track event. To us … it depends on the day 😉

Twenty-two years is more than half of my life (I was married  w  a  y  too young, at twenty … now your brains are all doing the math). I have quite literally grown up with my hubby. We have gone through our twenties together, we have gone through our thirties together, and now we are speeding through our forties (he, of course, is speeding through them MUCH faster than I). We have had the joys of sharing the births of our three children, and the sorrows of losing five others. We have moved, quite literally, from east to west, together. We have loved and learned and lived … together.

When we were first married, we were both so into it! We were so focused on each other, on making sure that we were meeting each others needs. We wanted to please each other, we wanted to love each other. As life has moved on our focus on each other has been back-seated by the million and one other important things in life … children, jobs, home, yard, church, friends, etc., etc., etc. It is so easy to see the motivation behind the Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond hit “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” …

She                                                                                   He

You don’t bring me flowers                                        You hardly talk to me anymore
You don’t sing me love songs                                     When you come through that door at the end of the day…
I remember when you couldn’t wait to love me
Used to hate to leave me
Now after loving me late at night                              When it’s good for you, babe.
When you just roll over and turn out the light…    And you’re feeling all right
And you don’t bring me flowers anymore

Those memories of early in the relationship ‘short track’ love, can be a great and horrible wedge once you are into the endurance run of ’til death do us part’ marriage. It is so easy to remember and reminisce about the new (and young) love stage of relationship. Often it is easier to remember it than it is to maintain it. And it is easier to remember what your spouse used to do for you and I, than to remember what you (I) used to do for them.

This marriage thing … it is definitely an endurance run. And, it is a tandem run, as well … it means that the success or failure of your marriage is dependent on both runners giving their all, all the time. Keeping pace with where your partner is heading. Being alert to possible ailments or distractions, for yourself, and for your partner. It also means that, at times, you will be the stronger one, and you will need to pull them along when they are weak, or ill, or just not on top of their race. But another key element to running the race together is rehydrating, refreshing each other … sometimes that refreshment comes from being apart, but usually it means making time to be together.

Like water to a weary runners body, time away, as a couple is not just a nice thing to do, but it is necessary if the marriage is to be kept alive. Sometimes it can be accomplished as easily as taking a walk together, or going to bed early and locking the door (there is nothing so disturbing to adolescent and teenage children, as a closed parents bedroom door, BEFORE they go to bed … their response is equal to the classic ‘heebie-jeebies’ … personally I am thinking of investing in a ‘do not disturb’ sign … just to keep shocking them … I figure my goal in life is to shock them before they shock me 🙂 … but, I digress). Sometimes it is a dinner out … not with another couple, but alone, making eye contact and talking. And, sometimes it is a day or more away, together, to reconnect just as a couple, and rediscover what it is that drew you both together in the first place (sometimes that is more advantageous than what is keeping you together presently … if it is not a happy and productive leg of the marathon).

So, we pace ourselves, my hubby and I … and hopefully we can make a time of refreshment possible … so that we can keep pressing on to the finish line … together, in tandem.

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