The Obstacle Course We Call “Marriage”

designThe adventure enthusiasts among us may have participated in a “mud run”, “Tough Mudder” or an obstacle course race. The idea is complete the course in as little time as possible, without killing yourself. The race doesn’t take place on a smooth track; in fact the race is set up in some of the most miserable conditions possible. There are walls to climb, mud holes to crawl through, ladders to scale and ropes from which to swing. Sounds like fun, huh? For thrill seekers, these events are hugely popular. And rumor has it that physical therapists appreciate the extra business as well!

Marriage can be analogous to an obstacle course. The race starts at the wedding altar and proceeds, almost immediately, through a series of mud holes, which try their best to stop the race. As time passes, the hurdles become higher and the obstructions become more dangerous. Those who are expecting an easy experience are in for a shock. And those who aren’t committed to overcoming obstacle after obstacle will not make it to the end. Successful married couples learn to navigate, together, through even the most treacherous of traps. We suppose the only thing that could make an adventure race more difficult would be if the race involved carrying another person. Welcome to marriage!

Below are some of the obstacles that can make marriage more difficult:

Families of origin and diverse cultural expectations. How you were raised has major impact of your expectations in marriage.

Misaligned self-esteem. If you think too much or two little of yourself, marriage will be challenging.

Cultural distortions. With changing definitions, things get confusing.

Poor examples. Be careful who you model your marriage after.

Changing physiology. As we age, well you know what happens…

Changing economics. Financial stress is a real source of problems form many couples.

Unrealistic expectations. Don’t expect your spouse to be your Messiah.

Lust. It’s deadly.

Crisis. Things like job loss, health issues, or the death of family members can cause great distress on a home.

Selfishness, entitlement. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Weariness. Sometimes we just run out of steam.

The devil. Make no mistake: there is an enemy of our soul that wants to destroy our families and us.

In “12 Causes of Stress In Marriage”, Dave Willis shares some great insight about stress in marriage.

He lists, in no particular order, 12 of the most common causes of stress in marriage. 1. Financial stress. 2. Parenthood. 3. In Laws. 4. Miscommunication. 5. Sexual Frustration. 6. Exhaustion. 7. Work stress. 8. Hurt feelings. 9. Disagreements. 10. Poor health. 11. Drifting apart from each other. 12. You fill-in-the-blank.

The bottom line…

 Only the strong (marriages) survive!

Like an elite endurance athlete, married couples must work hard, stay in shape, eat right, sleep well, learn to focus, discipline themselves, resist the urge to slack off, and motivate themselves. Then they must invest themselves in their spouse to bring out the very best in them.

Only those who work hard survive. And those who invite God to lead their personal lives and marriage stand a much greater chance of survival and success.

It is only then that our marriages have the potential to be all that God intended for them to be!


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