Thursday, the hubs and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary. As we reflected throughout the day on the 15 year “ride” (as we like to call it), it hit me how much marriage is like an obstacle race…
I don’t know if you’ve ever been in or attended one but it’s a few miles long and contains about 12 obstacles, usually involving climbing over, under or through things, and getting really dirty . In the beginning is like a big party atmosphere – hundreds of people in the “corral” waiting for the gate to open, excited and giddy, pumped up, dressed up – it’s all fun and games and you can’t wait to just run the race. It’s gonna be soooooo fun! You just know it! This would be the wedding and honeymoon
In some races, it’s a level and easy run to the first obstacle, in others the challenge starts right away – straight uphill on rocky terrain. It’s the beginning of the race and for some, that excitement carries you straight up that hill – for others it’s unexpected that it’s so challenging right at the start and it knocks the wind out of ya. Hopefully you work together in either situation so you both make it alive to the first “real” obstacle”.
- Some obstacles are easy and fun - walk across the muddy river.
- Some are more difficult – catch this rope and scale the wall someone built out of plywood.
- Some require teamwork or you’ll never make it through – jump out of a 5 foot deep slick mud pit up on to the slick mud hill about the same size high. I guess anyone can give you a boost, but it’s better if it’s your teammate touching your hind side
- Some will leave you a little battered and bruised – run over these hills homemade with mud and rocks and lots of water, you’ll slip and scrape your leg on a huge rock but get up and keep running.
It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to see how that is like marriage And in both situations, sometimes it’s so tough that you are worried only about getting yourSELF over the obstacle, but you gotta remember you signed up to run as a team. On the flip side, you can’t expect your teammate to carry you thru the whole damn course – you gotta pull your weight, help your teammate as much as they help you, and be responsible for at least trying to do some of the work yourself.
Parts of the course (especially if like me you are not a runner) seem very LONG – I look longingly for the water station, fixate on whining about “when is the water break coming up – OMG I am thirsty – why can’t the water station be right here”. The desire to find a water station (which incidentally is a mini break from running!) is overwhelming. Every race, including marriage, needs a water station! Don’t pass it by when you see it either – Gosh that water tastes good! It nourishes you, fuels you for the next portion of the race. Take the time to enjoy that water… (you get it right? vacations, date nights, just holding hands after a long week of being completely annoyed with life or with each other… the water break).
At times, while it seemed like a good idea to enter the race, you might think it would be more practical to cut it short and head for the beer tent. No one is gonna judge you for forfeiting the race – it was way harder than you expected and half way in it isn’t feeling that fun. Running as a team, you may even be fed up with each other – one is running too fast or too slow, the other isn’t really even making an effort to catch the rope and scale the wall. Heck she may still be on the other side just staring at the obstacle thinking it’s just not gonna happen. But if you keep on running – sometimes doubling back to drag the other person with you… there it is…
The finish line – that’s the best part! It’s fun, it’s muddy, it signals the end of having to run for a while … hooray!! haha Really – all the sudden you are excited again – this was the BEST IDEA EVER! This might be akin to an anniversary They take your picture and congratulate you – lots of cheering and clapping – you grab a beer and a turkey leg and rinse off the outward signs of your triumphs (after you’ve shown them off of course – cuz obstacles are no fun until you brag about them)… you sit and share stories of all you’ve been through together and how it was sooooo much fun and that even though it was sketchy for a bit, you are so glad you did it.
AND THEN…. you go home, rest a little, and get online to register for the next year! Our races seem to run in 5 year cycles… we just finished the 15 yr race… and we decided to sign up again!