Marriage is like crossing the Rocky Mountains with a handcart. You start off, happy, healthy, and full of optimism for the future. The first few hundred miles on the plains are smooth sailing. Fierce lightning, some thunder, a little rain… hey no worries. Nothing a little snuggling in a tent or a covered wagon couldn’t fix.
Whoa Haw Buck… and Jerry Boy.
Lets keep goin!
What’s that you see in the distance? A mountain… hey that’s no problem for us. We’re young. Let’s do this.
So you push on forward without a care in the world. No kids yet, no mortgage, few bills, and lots of free time. College is going pretty swell and… dang it’s nice having dual incomes. Rations are high these days and our bellies are full. Bring on those Rockies.
There’s a little bit of an incline on those foothills leading to that mountain we saw. It’s a lot steeper than we thought. Dang… I’m a little winded.
“Hun… Do you think you could stop peeing on the seat?”
“Yeah babe… if you’ll stop moving my toothbrush!”
Welp… Lets set up camp for the night. I’ve got a headache and I’m tired. “Good night…”
Rise and shine! Dang, I’m feeling good. Let reach that peak by tomorrow! Sorry for being a jerk last night hun… let’s conquer this mountain together. Push, pull, onward, upward while we sing songs all the way. It pays to be young. We’re almost there.
It’s dark… but we made it! Can you believe we reached the top of that massive peak? We did it together! Let’s set up a tent and settle down for the night. How could life get any better?
Man, that was a good nights sleep. Let’s get going baby. I’m gonna get out and take down our tent…
“Look over there —————–>”
“You’ve got to be kidding me.”
There are 50 more mountain peaks in the distance and each one makes the one we just climbed look like an ant hill. And hey… oh by the way… I’m carrying twins.
“Oh my goodness, I’m so happy! We can do this!”
“Oh my goodness, I’m so scared! I have no idea how we can do this.”
Our handcart just got a lot heavier with those two little bundles of joy in the back, and for some reason, my chest muscles are a lot tighter as I think about all of the threats this journey will present. Oh, and by the way… we need to cut rations in half. We’ve got little mouths to feed.
“What if this?”
“What if that?”
Can you feel that anxiety starting to kick in?
Well, let’s keep going. We’ve got a long journey down into that valley so that we can start to climb that next mountain in our lives. This one is going to be much harder. And really… it’s when we’re sitting in that valley that things seem the hardest.
In that valley, we’ve got mountains on both sides of us. Nothing but challenges as far as the eye can see with no easy way in sight.
So here we go again.
“Come on… pull your weight”
Everyone’s annoyed at the situation. Everyone’s irritable. Things that were cute… are now annoying. Emotions are running high. Motivational fuel is running low. Mental fragility becomes a reality.
“Maybe I’ll be better on my own.”
“Maybe this life isn’t for me.”
“These people are holding me back.”
“I don’t remember signing up for this.”
“What did I get myself into.”
Instinctive self-preservation kicks in. And this is when people bolt.
This is where decisions are made in haste. This is where selfishness so often prevails.
But ever so often there are a pair of pioneers who look at those mountains ahead in their weakness and extremity and decide to give it all they’ve got.
They put their petty quarrels aside to come together around a common goal. When they do this, the little things that bothered them seem to fade away, and the path ahead seems much smoother and easier to bear. That mountain… oh that filthy mountain with all its pitfalls seems to flatten out in front of you because you’ve got someone by your side.
Sometimes, with enough faith, you might feel the angels helping you push.
Financial trouble, sickness, kids, anxiety, depression, sadness, monotany, obesity, hair loss, shrinking, slumping, wrinkles, and personality traits. All of those mountains in the distance seem but small hills to conquer when husband and wife come together and are set on beating the odds.
A successful marriage is not defined by a marriage without any struggle. In fact, it’s just the opposite. A successful marriage is defined by how much struggle one couple can handle together as a team while pushing forward and growing stronger… not weaker, in the process.
At the end of the journey, all of those pioneers that crossed the plains and the rocky mountains reflected on that experience as the most meaningful experience of their lives. Giving up was the last resort. (Some may have had no other choice because they were abandoned on the trail.)
It was the greatest challenge of their lives but their determination to overcome every obstacle laid the groundwork for them to accomplish something that very few people are able to accomplish.
So too… can be your marriage.
Whoa Haw Buck…
Lets keep climbing!