If there ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever. Winnie the Pooh

Monday, February 13, 2012

Marriage Is...

Run the mile that you're in. Especially for longer races (but even for short ones, like 5-Ks), it can be tempting to dwell on the total distance or on how far you are from the finish line. Try not to. Instead, focus on the mile you're running at that particular moment. Be mindful of the full distance, of course; mentally and physically, you should be aware of how far you've got to go. Primarily, though, keep your head in the here and now. That's a nice metaphor for life, too, by the way. In case you were looking for one. -Mark Remy

Recently a friend blogged about running and her 'aha' moment when she realized that running was more than a sport. Because I'm not athletic at all, I've never even considered running a sport. Instead, I have always seen it as my outlet to ponder through my worries, prayers, joys and sorrows; and I just happen to be running. I have used it as my 'me time'. The rare time I have alone to just be me. My running coach, Gilbert has said "running is my freedom. Running is my therapy." Those words are truth to me.

So when Chris and I set out for our Valentine's Date 10 mile trail run on the Greenbelt, it should be of no surprise that I saw that run as more than a run. But a metaphor for our relationship.

The first few miles were easy. I fell into a relaxed pace and chatted about running, the trail, the kids. Whatever popped into my head. Our marriage was like that at the beginning. Marriage can and should have it's moments of being: Easy. Light. Fun.

We headed out for that long trail run on a very cold day. Chris warned me that the trail would get rough and we would have to do some climbing. He took the lead but I quickly realized, that wasn't going to work for me. Because he is taller than me, I couldn't see what was coming ahead which made it dangerous. So after a mile, he let me take over, even though I knew he would have preferred the lead position. Marriage is about Give and Take.

Chris took over when we got to the 3rd mile. It got very rocky and narrow. It was hard to see which way we were supposed to go on the path. As we traversed a narrow path on a cliff, our pace slowed down to a 17 minute mile as we had to mostly walk for safety. I didn't like this mile. The pace was too slow. It wasn't easy. I wanted to turn around and go back to the fork and veer right instead of the way we came. Chris encouraged me to continue on. He was certain if we continued on, we would find an open path again. And we did. Marriage is persevering through the toughest times and having Faith even when you can't see what lies ahead.

Throughout the run, Chris stayed behind me. Knowing he was there, even when I couldn't see him, made me feel safe. Every so often, I would turn around and run back to him, encouraging him to continue on to the next checkpoint. Often times, my feet would slip out from under me because it had started snowing and we would reach out to steady each other. Marriage can be so fragile. But marriage is also about two people who are there to support and encourage each other. That is how it will withstand even the toughest times.

As we rounded the corner, we saw the mile marker showing us we were in the last mile. I wanted to push the pace and sprint to the finish and yet I knew Chris wanted the exact opposite. So I slowed down and we eventually fell in step, side by side as the trail widened and we could see more of what was coming ahead. I smiled. He smiled. Our marriage still has it's moments of being easy.light.fun. But it also has more depth to it because of the life moments and growing pains that have made us stronger. During those tough moments we have realized that one or both of us must say: I'm sorry. And we must ask ourselves and each other what we can do to make the other person happy. Marriage is about Giving, Grace and Forgiveness.

We occasionally hit rough patches in our marriage. Without fail, we always, always work things out. Our 'full distance' is being in it for the long haul...you know, forever. But focusing on the here and now is what will get us to the finish line.

Kay Harmon Photography

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