Blog Post by Rodney A. Wilson
Rodney Wilson is a regular guest post writer on Selma on Leadership. Rodney has been a marriage and family pastor/counselor for almost 20 years. Rodney and Selma have been married for 40 years and they have spoken and written on marriage and family issues for most of their married life.
Once upon a time, before my calves said “enough,” I was an avid runner. I learned many lessons from this sport, especially the marathon. The most vivid lesson I learned was what to do when I’m tired and want to quit.
Once I was privileged to hear a marathon world-record holder share his expertise. He posed the scenario every runner faces:
What do you do when absolutely nothing in your run is in sync? Your breathing is off, there is no gliding, and every step pounds your joints, and you still have EIGHT miles left to go. How do you cope when you’re exhausted and nowhere near the finish line?Relationally, how do you cope when you're exhausted and nowhere near the finish line? Click To Tweet
His answer was simple: You ask, “How are we going to fix this?”
I was a bit taken back at the simple, yet profound solution. He didn’t say, “Are we going to fix this?” but rather “HOW are we going to fix this?”
Many marriages face moments or even seasons of exhaustion. Nothing is in sync. Everything is hard. There is no communication. Sex is not fulfilling to either one. You’re tired and you just want to quit. What do you do?
Here are some things I’ve learned from running that can help your marriage in times of wanting to check out.
1. For once, look at the small picture. Every runner faces exhaustion in the marathon at some point. I would find a marker just a short distance ahead and focus on getting there. My goal was to get to that mailbox at the corner. Then, the light pole 100 yards up the road. Dwelling on the nine miles to the finish line was too much for me. Step by step I would make it.
In your tired marriage, take it one step at a time. Focus on the one thing you can do today for your relationship. Can I offer an affirmation to him? Can you serve your wife in some way today? With each kind gesture your marriage can grow. Don’t look at the whole picture right now. Take it one mailbox at a time.
2. Go through the checklist. At mile 21 or so, I would ask myself, how is the arm swing going? My leg lift? Is my breathing normal? Am I hydrated? Do I need to eat something? Am I trying to keep up with others and that is throwing me off my pace? Monitoring yourself is critical to finishing a marathon.
Go through your marital checklist. Are you two communicating? Are you encouraging each other? Are you available to each other sexually? Are you dying on every hill, fussing about everything?The most important part of your marital checklist is your spiritual hydration. Click To Tweet
3. Stay Hydrated. Dehydration affects every part of the runner. It often sets in long before any obvious signs are noticed. Your body needs fluids before, throughout and after the race.
The most important part of your marital checklist is your spiritual hydration. How is your personal relationship with Christ? When is the last time you have prayed for your spouse? Do you ever ask him how you can pray for him? Are you in the word? How is your commitment and engagement at church? The Lord wants to be part of your marital relationship and the healing of it if necessary. But He will not force that to happen. Wherever you are with Him …
… come near to God and He will come near to you. James 4:8
Consider seeking a counselor who can add to your personal checklist.
Remember, in times of marital issues, even marital crisis, do not ask, “Are we going to make it.” Rather, set your focus on “How are we going to make it?”
The things that are impossible with man are possible with God. Luke 18:27