The Dirt Road of Marriage

me and mike

We’ve hit the marriage stride.

Comfortable and happy, I never thought the day would come where we have more peace than strife in our home.

After nearly seven years, God’s grace has helped us find this rhythm in marriage. But we just hit a bump.

In-laws.

Is there a bigger bump than a fight with the in-laws? I don’t know. I don’t have much practice with my in-laws. Mine live half way around the world in Kenya.

I’m ashamed to admit in the beginning of our marriage I was glad nearly 9,000 miles separated us. After getting to know them, I wish they lived closer—perhaps somewhere on this continent.

I underestimate the impact family has when positive and encouraging support defines interaction. But what I’ve gleaned from mother-in-law jokes tells me in-laws often overstep and can tend to meddle.

My hakuna-matata in-laws have the opposite problem. Our fight arose out of a lack of communication, partly fueled by my tendency to sprint away from conflict.

But this situation has taught me to measure marriage by the stride and not the bumps. This perspective changes everything.

Reasons abound to keep running.

I remember the day when I decided I wouldn’t let a conflict color my entire attitude toward my spouse. What could have become a wedge, separating us, became a compartment I could open and close at will.

Oh happy day when I discovered this nugget of wisdom! I wanted to corner every newlywed and engaged couple I saw. But couples can only master this skill by humility and lots of practice.

My husband and I didn’t let this one bump keep us down. Like any good runner, we peeled ourselves off the pavement.

Jarring and painful, falling never gets easier. And tripping like an ungraceful klutz in front of others threatens ongoing embarrassment that isn’t easy to overcome.

But the first step is to get up and begin pounding the road.

Now wiser, we can more clearly see the bumps looming ahead. Instead of tripping, we can avoid these potholes in our marriage.

After falling, it’s normal to limp for a while massaging our sore bums, but eventually we have to start running again. In marriage we have to start truly living again.

Others have compared marriage to navigating a minefield. You can only learn where the mines are from stepping on every one.

After a fight with the spouse, offense and bitterness can spring up easily. Suppress this urge.

Just like an experience runner, you can find your stride again after a tumble. If you keep running, you can also look forward to a second wind or a runner’s high.

Like running, marriage takes endurance. Check out the Apostle Paul’s words about running the race of faith. Although the passage isn’t about marriage, it is about faith. Try to have marriage without faith. It’s not easy.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV)

Look to Jesus, always Him. Pace yourself for the long trip knowing faith and grace to keep running come from His hand.

I wish you happy traveling along this dirt road of marriage. Please don’t forget to enjoy the view, and don’t let the bumps keep you down.

What bumps threaten to slacken your stride or halt it all together?

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