Congratulations. You just signed up for a marathon.
Marriage is like running a marathon. Not a runner? No problem. Anyone can do it. There is no special formula, just a willingness to work hard and an ability to adapt to whatever comes your way. As you run, there will be days when you feel like you were made for long distance. You will channel your inner Olympian and feel like a champion. On other days, you will drag your butt out of bed and hate every minute of it. But the success of your marathon is up to you. Walk, run or crawl, but just keep moving forward.
First step: The search for shoes
Ladies, you need shoes that will go the distance. I’m talking comfort, reliability and built for impact. It’s important to take your time because you will be wearing these shoes every day for the rest of your life. Finding the right pair — not perfect, but right — takes time. You may be in a season where it seems everyone around you is lacing up their new shoes, but it doesn’t mean you have to. There is no pressure here, so don’t settle for the clearance rack. The wait is worth it.
Second step: Training
Yay! You found shoes that fit, and you are so happy. You have committed to a date, you have a training schedule and you have bought every book you could find to prepare for this race. Now, it’s time to see what you’re made of. Training will reveal your strengths and your weaknesses, so get to know yourself and be honest about who you are. This is a great time to be fueling your body and your mind, because what you put in is what you will get out. Find a training partner — maybe someone who is already a strong runner, who is years ahead of you. Soak up their wisdom. A support system is super important, too, so make sure you are surrounded by positive people who are willing to cheer you on, especially when you want to quit.
Third step: Marathon!
The day of the race is here. You are filled with excitement and nerves and joy. Family and friends are rooting for you. You are ready to run, so run like the wind! Adrenaline will get you through the first few miles, but It’s important to have a plan to stay hydrated. Water will wet your whistle, but Jesus will fill your soul. Stay connected to the source and let him fill you up.
Along the way, you will be tempted to compare your race with others. Don’t do it! This is your race. Yes, there are times when it will be boring. Yes, there will be times you want to quit. Yes, at some point those shoes you loved so much in the beginning will rub you wrong and cause pain on your tired feet. But I encourage you to keep your eye on the prize and stay on the path, because there is a blessing that comes with completing the race. It will be hard; possibly the hardest thing you have ever done. You will be stretched, but you will be strengthened, too.
Marriage is like running a marathon. And if you’ll let it, it will be the greatest race you’ve ever run.
Disclaimer: I have not actually run a full marathon (only 1/2s here) but I am married, so trust me, I’m doing the work. Mile 13 and counting.