Are you a runner? I sure am. No, I’m not talking about the type of runner who throws her legs over the side of the bed every morning, laces up her running shoes to dance awhile on a concrete stage. I’m talking about the runners who flee when anything tough comes their way. Escapees from their prison of pain.
The earliest memories of running bring me back to my childhood when my little brother accidentally stepped on my toe. That was all it took. I bolted out of our house, slamming our white aluminum screen door behind me as I ran down the street. I couldn’t bear to have my family watch me cry from the pain.
When I was enormously pregnant with my second child, I recall having an argument with my husband. In minutes, I found myself in the middle of a movie theater line with tears softly plopping into my bucket of buttered popcorn.
Over the years, I’ve learned to curb my running habit. No longer do I run out the front door. But, I have been known to walk to the other side of the house, or scoot to the far side of the bed when I’m hurt. It’s easy to let a five-minute argument blossom into a weekend event, isn’t it? Leaving the scene of the crime has never been helpful. It has only prolonged the reconciliation process.
When we became Christians, my husband Paul and I began attending marriage conferences. We used to believe only marriages in trouble should attend these. Boy were we wrong. The most beneficial conferences we’ve attended were when things were great between us. When we were relaxed and spending time with one another we could talk about the tender topics we avoided at home. Marriage conferences became an annual ritual for us. Whether we felt we needed to or not, each year, we packed our bags and went. We were amazed at the applicable wisdom we learned every year. We discovered there were healthy ways to fight. Or as my attorney-husband likes to call them “debate”. (Yes, I have an attorney for a husband. Can you imagine the verbal judo we’ve played?)
Every year, as we drove away from our marriage retreat, we spent time going down our report card. Sharing with one another what we thought we were doing well and sharing those things we needed to work on. We took or marriage temperature, which became our annual marriage-check-up.
Over the years, I learned God’s word is the blueprint for a healthy and happy marriage. Marriage was God’s plan. He created it. So, who better to fix it when it’s broken? I wouldn’t take my car problems to my hairstylist, or my computer problems to my dentist. So, why was I taking my marriage problems to my single-girlfriend, my unhappily married coworker…or Oprah? Who’s never been married, by the way.
I thought I’d share with you some quick fixes for a happy marriage from the One who designed it.
Be devoted and give preference to one another. (Romans 12:10)
Accept one another. (Romans 15:7)
Care for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:25)
Carry each other’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
Forgive one another. (Ephesians 4:32)
Encourage, build up one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Spur one another on to love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)
Confess your sins to one another. (James 5:16)
Pray for one another. (James 5:16)
I learned early on that running is unhealthy for a marriage. Pain is inevitable. Fleeing from it isn’t always the best answer. Meeting it head-on is difficult, but so worth it. It’s been a very long time since I’ve ran. My running shoes are packed up and put away. I’m not sure I could find them if I tried. For now, I know the One who can make my marriage healthy and strong. And, until He calls me home, the only place I plan on running is into the open arms of my husband.
Joanne Kraft, Just Too Busy, author Joanne Kraft, http://Joanne Kraft.com, Grace & Truth Living, Just Too Busy-Taking Your Family on a Radical Sabbatical