Every two years, my husband and I anticipate the Winter or Summer Olympics, our favorite being the Winter. There's just something about watching these athletes give everything they have to achieve their goal of excellence, to win a medal, to make their mark on their sport of choice.
I realized we have watched these Olympics together for 26 years. We watched them when before the split into Summer and Winter events, before the fancy camera work we now have to show us more detail, and before these athletes' lives and stories became almost as important as their performance in the spotlight.
That's the part I find most interesting, the stories behind these athletes so fiercely committed to their sport and their goal. Stories of heartache, set-backs, unfortunate accidents, and trials. Stories of going without to keep pursuing their dream, of their families sacrificing to help them get there, stories of overcoming the odds and still moving forward even when everything told them to quit.
As I watch these athletes and hear of their dedication, I find myself deeply convicted. Why not apply such dedication, such determination to our relationships? What if we put that kind of effort into our marriages—would the world see a dramatic drop in divorce rates? What if when we got married, we were told we were in the race for Olympic Gold?
I know there's a vast difference between athletic competitions and marriages, but the more I think about it, the more I see a common element between these athletes and life in general. That element is two part—choice, then commitment.
These athletes at some point make the choice to pursue their dream and then make the commitment to go after it, no matter what the cost. They are dedicated, intentional, and determined. And I think that's what marriage takes to last, to go the distance, to win the race and finish.
First, to make the choice to love and then make the commitment to stay together. The constant dedication to our spouse, the intentional awareness of the relationship and working to make it better, and the determination to do this on a daily basis.
Like these athletes, we are in training. We continually learn the right techniques and principles from God's Word (1 Cor. 13, Romans 12) and apply them as we go along. When we fall, we pick ourselves up again with the help of our Mighty Trainer, who's dedicated to seeing us through to the end.
The beauty of marriage and unlike the Olympics is this: Where we fall short and lack the strength or ability, God steps in and makes up the difference. He can even turn a failure into success. God doesn't ask us to run a perfect race. He just tells us to keep running so we finish with Him.
And that, dear friends, is gold.
Praying and believing,