Among my favorite childhood memories are the picnics our family held every summer. I played all kinds of games with my cousins, including the three-legged race, which was everyone's favorite. To make the game more interesting, partners were often tied together so one faced backward and the other forward. The starter gave the signal, and what happened next would best be described as chaos. Everyone would cheer as the forward-facing participants would half drag, half carry their awkward-facing teammates toward the finish line. There were always plenty of grass-stained knees, piercing screams and roars of laughter.
The three-legged race is hard enough when everyone is facing the same direction. The teams can lock arms and step out in unison. They might stumble and fall along the way, but they always get there much faster and more efficiently.
A marriage is a lot like the three-legged race. A husband and wife can face in the same direction and try to run in step with each other, or they can run in totally different directions. I've counseled couples where the wives were headed south at 65 miles an hour and the husbands were going north at 90 miles per hour! When that happens, it means pain, difficulty and isolation.
One woman said, "My husband and I have been married for 20 years. There is nothing he wouldn't do for me and there is nothing I wouldn't do for him...and that's exactly what we do for each other-nothing." One reason many couples face different directions in the race is they have bought into the illusion fostered by the popular culture's claim that we can live independently of each other. A healthy marriage requires two people who agree to become mutually dependent on each other.
When was the last time you and your spouse sat down and talked about the race you're running and the direction you're facing? It could explain why there's been some pain recently.
Prayer: Ask God to show you, as a couple, the race He wants you to run, the direction He wants you to face and the pace for the race.
~ Courtesy of Kristy Freels
FLO Ministry Team