Marriage is a Marathon

Congratulations! The big day has come and gone. Everyone you love was there. The groom was handsome and the bride beautiful. The reception and honeymoon were just like you dreamed they would be.

Marriage is a Marathon

Now, you’re back home and happily married, and your whole life is stretching out before you. That’s right…your whole life!

God willing, you’re going to be married a long time. But how do you do that?

One day at a time.

And that’s good news, but don’t let that reality lull you into complacency. The days fly by and as they do, you will feel pressure to get everything done in one day. This pressure leads to all kinds of problems. You try to buy too much too fast and you end up with credit problems. You try to do too much too soon—fix up the house, join the club, find new friends—and boom! Suddenly, you’re physically wiped out.

In every race, there’s an internal pressure to run really fast at the beginning of the race. That’s a sure plan to lose. You don’t get a trophy for winning the first 100 yards of a marathon. You have to run the whole race. That takes a little discipline—a little pacing. Every good runner knows how to find their own rhythm in a race.

Good marriages are the same way. They have a good rhythm to them. Each person knows what needs to be done on certain days of the week to keep the relationship running smoothly with all of the distractions the world throws at them.

The fact is you can’t live on love. Life has to be done. The trash has to be taken to the street, groceries have to be brought in from the car, diapers have to be changed, and piano recitals attended. Budgets have to be balanced and checks have to be written. But they don’t have to be done all at the same time, on the same day. You’ll soon find some things fit on Friday and other things fit on other days. Your weeks will find their rhythm.

Has your marriage found its rhythm? Are you and your spouse running at the same pace? If not, that may be something to sit down and talk about this weekend. How’s does a good week flow? What’s the best day to do certain things that need to be done? What about date nights? What about exercise and rest? What about eating together? All of these things, and more, are in a good marriage pace. Sit down with your spouse and find your pace.

Remember, marriage is a marathon, and that’s a long run. Pace your lives accordingly.

Care for Widows [Podcast]

In today’s episode of Creating Real Marriages that Last, I talk about the role of the church in caring for widows. One of the great things about the gospel is it gives us a new family. And one of the ways we see this is through the “adoption” of widows into families within the church. Many women who have lost their husbands don’t have any other family nearby. What if we invited them to lunch with our families or to come with us to a ball game? These women have a lot of wisdom to teach us, and we can ease some of the loneliness they face. I’ve learned that it takes time to love people well, but it’s always worth it.

Care for Widows [Podcast]

In Dating, Camping Rules Apply

If you enjoy camping, you know there’s a very simple rule of the trail—always leave the campsite better than the way you found it. Don’t leave trash around for someone else to pick up. Don’t leave the campsite messy or scattered. Leave it the way you would want to find it if you are hiking and looking for a place to make camp.

In Dating, Camping Rules Apply

There have been a lot of discussions and debates about dating and how poorly we do it in our culture. Teens and young adults feel a lot of pressure about dating. Should you ask out this person or that person? How do you know if the other person is interested? How do you get someone’s attention and not be a jerk about it? These questions have been around forever, and it doesn’t seem social media has made them any easier to figure out.

Let me give you a different way to think about it. For better or worse, dating is how we practice being with members of the opposite sex. Because it’s practice, you shouldn’t take it too seriously. Here’s what I mean by that: most people you date will not be “the ONE.” What’s more, you‘ll know it after being with this person for about 15 minutes.

And that’s OK. But since we seem to have to go through this process, let’s make it work for us. Everyone you date will teach you something. There will be things you like and don’t like. What are those things? What attracted you to this person? What makes you want to leave? These things and more will be important to know as you discern what person God is leading you to spend the rest of your life with. So, take good notes.

And here’s one more thing: leave the person you dated better than they were before they dated you. In dating, camping rules apply. Guys, remember you’re dating someone’s future wife. Ladies, you’re dating someone’s future husband. None of us has the right to use these people, harm them in any way, or cause them to doubt their own self-worth or the goodness of true love.

Too often, dating badly becomes a train wreck of hurt feelings and damaged souls. Christ-followers date differently. We always leave the person better, more sure of who they are as a person, more certain of their worth as a human being, and most importantly, more sure of Christ’s love for them.

Like I said, in dating, camping rules apply. Christ-followers always leave the person better, even when dating doesn’t work out.

Finding Family

One of the good things about being part of a local church is you will find a new extended family; you will find brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, and grandparents who will add a lot of love to you and your family. I’ve talked about how important these people who became like family are to me (even though they’re not blood relatives).

But finding this family can be a little daunting. Say you’re a young couple who’s just moved to a new city and found a church you like. What’s next?

Find a family; that’s what’s next. Now, like I said, this can be a little uncomfortable, but let me give you some things to think about:

1. Most senior adults would relish having a young couple to hang out with. Most would respond very eagerly to an invitation to lunch, dinner, or just a cup of coffee.

2. Most senior adults mistakenly think they have nothing to offer to the younger generations. A lot of the time, senior adults don’t understand the digital world—and really don’t want to. They don’t think you would be interested in anything they have to say.

3. Don’t expect them to make the first move. You make it. Find a couple you think you might have something in common with—perhaps you grew up in the same town, went to the same college, work in the same career, or like to play golf. Any reason is a good reason to start the conversation.

Then, start the conversation. Ask them (or him or her) to lunch after church. Ask about their lives. Introduce them to your children. Tell your stories and listen to theirs. They’ll bring incredible wisdom to your life if you’re wise enough to hear it.

Find out their birthdays and anniversaries and celebrate them. You know, act like family.

The rewards will be more than you can ever imagine. You’ll get back more than you’ll ever give.

And all it will cost you is a cup of coffee.