Marriage is a Marathonby Mark Gungor
Sprints and marathons are two distinctly different races. In a sprint, one of the most critical elements is the start. Runners practice for hours on end getting into those little blocks and bursting out the very nanosecond the gun goes off. Why? Because if you falter in the start, you don’t stand a chance of winning the race.
On the other hand, the starts of marathons are not that important at all. Most runners are just standing around waiting for the gun to go off. Truth is, you could fall down, have three guys run over you, get up, and still win the race. It’s not the start that is so important; it is the endurance.
Today, many believe marriage is like a sprint, that the start is what is critical. I never cease to be amazed at how many struggling couples point to the start as the reason for their struggles. “We were too young.” “We didn’t know each other for very long.” “We didn’t have enough money.” They are convinced that the poor start is the reason for their troubles, but they are wrong. Marriage is not a sprint; it is a marathon. It is not the start that leads to a failed marriage, but the unwillingness to endure the race.
You don’t do marathons quickly. You have to spread out your energy over time. Endurance is what empowers a couple over the long haul. It will enable you to push through old familiar conflict zones for the ten-thousandth time without quitting; you just keep going and going. . . Scripture urges, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.” That’s endurance. It makes marriages last.