How To Help 10-Year-Old Boy With Pornography Obsession Marriage is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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Marriage is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion. The fight was between the citizens of Athens, Greece and the Persian forces under the Persian King Darius. The legendary race of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, the messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, is the basis of the modern marathon, which is held in cities around the world, and tens of thousands of runners participate in the larger cities.

The marathon is a long-distance road race with an official distance of 26 7/32 miles, which requires great strength and endurance. A sprint, on the other hand, is short-distance running that requires a burst of energy to run at full speed. Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint.

On the Marathon Rookie website, I found the top 10 mistakes rookie marathoners make, which also apply to marriage. These are: injury, hydration, lack of knowledge, too fast a start, wrong goal, motivation, lack of belief, lack of support and underestimating stretching. Let’s look at each of them why marriages are often problematic and fail.

1. Injury. A couple enters into marriage, carrying with them emotional and spiritual baggage, and often many wounds. MarathonRookie.com says that many novice runners “notice pain in their shins or knees and ignore it. They keep running and BAM, it hits them. They’re done. It’s game over. Be aware of the warning signs and how to treat them.”

If one person in a marriage is hurt, it will also affect the health of the marriage. We must realize that it is only God who can heal us and make us whole – not our spouse. Men like to fix things, but they can’t fix their women. The reverse for wives who try to change, fix, or improve their husbands.

Jesus is the healer of wounded hearts. Sometimes healing from deep wounds such as parental rejection, abandonment, childhood abuse, dysfunctional relationships in adulthood, abortion, addiction to drugs, alcohol or pornography, and gambling may require professional counseling, spiritual deliverance, and/or pastoral responsibility.

Ultimately, as we seek God’s face, study His word, and listen to Him, we will receive our healing. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent forth his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.”

2. Hydration. MarathonRookie.com says that runners become dehydrated because they underestimate how much water their bodies need during training. Married couples do not realize how much they need Jesus’ “living water” every day to keep their marriage going. In John 4:10 (NKJV), Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well: “Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would give you living water.”

3. Lack of knowledge. When you go out, let’s face it, your fiancé doesn’t understand what he’s getting himself into! He doesn’t know that you’re a complete freak, that you hate to cook and that you’re not a morning person. After all, you go out on the weekend to a Japanese or Italian restaurant, where they cook delicious food, wash the dishes, and after your conversations and rustling until midnight at his house, you go home and collapse – and sleep in the next morning!

Couples can see some things that concern them while dating, but often they don’t actually see with their “love blinds”. They are too focused on how wonderful that person is and how they will be happily ever after. A longer period of dating, asking probing questions and paying attention to the little details will help you get to know your fiancé better – and you’ll have fewer unpleasant “surprises” like he’s “messy” or she has a new shoe addiction – after you said “yes”.

4. Starting too fast. MarathonRookie.com says that novice runners try to run more miles than their intended training. “If you feel really strong when you start training and want to run more, PLEASE resist the temptation. If you go any further, you are greatly increasing the likelihood of injury.”

Moving too fast in a relationship can also increase your chances of getting hurt. This is especially true in a relationship where there is a lot of intense chemistry. Lust will not see you through the years; dedication and love will! Take it easy and get to know this person before the wedding day!

5. Wrong training program. In Luke 6:47-49 (NKJV), the story of the man who builds his house on a foundation of rock, and it stands in a fierce storm, is a perfect picture of a good marriage that will last. Married couples will face many storms over the years, and having their marriage built on the principles of God’s word is what will see them through these storms.

Some couples have had the wrong “training program” because they have never been taught the truth of God’s word and have no relationship with Jesus Christ. MarathonRunner.com says some runners choose a program that’s more difficult than they can handle, and eventually give up. Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing.” We need God’s help in our marriage problems. All we have to do is come to Him in humble faith, and He will give us everything we need.

6. Wrong goal. Some runners focus on finishing the marathon quickly. This is the wrong goal and increases the chances of injury and missing the target. The goal of a beginner’s marathon should be just to finish. That should be our goal in marriage as well, doing everything we can to prevent divorce. It takes long-term love, mutual honor, commitment, affection, and open and honest communication to make a marriage work in the long run. A great sense of humor helps too!

Some people enter into marriage with the goal of being made happy and complete by the other person. Only God can fill and complete us. We must put aside unreasonable expectations of our husband or wife and not put so much pressure on them.

We may have other goals that are quite selfish in nature, such as our personal career or business success, to the detriment of marriage and family – ambitiously spending all of our time on personal projects to get ahead, while neglecting those we love. Balance is the key. Spending time with our husband or wife lets them know we love and enjoy them.

7. Motivation. Just like in running when there is bad weather, injury, illness or work that can prevent him from running and cause him to lose motivation to continue, there are problems that arise in marriage that cause a husband or wife to lose motivation to continue in the marriage. Financial stresses, demands from children, intrusive relatives and friends, pressures at work, a nagging spouse, infidelity or pornography, addictions, fatigue, boredom can all play a role in one partner wanting to get out of the marriage. Keep your eye on the goal; finish strong. Never give up!

8. Lack of belief. In Mark 6:5-6, unbelief hindered God’s purposes. People today often give up too easily and quickly and file for divorce. “Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He marveled at their unbelief. Then He went round and round the villages teaching.”

MarathonRookie.Com says that novice runners start training and find it difficult to complete their first five-mile race. After that, they give up, thinking they will never be able to run a marathon. “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'” (Matthew 19:26, NKJV) We must have faith and believe that God will heal our marriages.

9. Lack of support. The world is too eager to tell you that marriage is too hard, and it’s just so much better (for you, your kids, your career, your sanity, or your checking account) to get a divorce. Many married couples do not get the support they need to help their marriages succeed from family, friends, co-workers, and even professional counselors and spiritual advisors.

If you consult with a professional counselor who tells you to divorce your spouse for any reason other than infidelity, spousal or child abuse or neglect, then RUN! Sometimes a couple may need to draw boundaries with people who are critical of their marriage or give one or both of them ungodly advice. You may even have to cut contact with them for a season or permanently. Your marriage is your most important priority, under God.

As the marriage goes, so goes the family. As the family goes, so goes the community. As the community goes, so goes the country. As the state goes, so goes the nation. As the nation goes, so goes the world! Successful marriages have far-reaching consequences!

God told Abraham that he and his descendants would be blessed forever, to all future generations! Because of Abraham and Sarah’s faith in God and obedience to God, and because of their devoted marriage, their children and all future generations are blessed!

Don’t you think their marriage might have been just a little strained when Abraham slept with Sarah’s maid and she got pregnant by Ishmael, after Sarah had been barren for years? Yet Sarah remained, despite her great pain and emptiness… and God rewarded her with her own boy, Isaac, which means “laughter.”

10. Stretching. Beginner runners often underestimate the importance of stretching, which gives them less pain, lowers the risk of injury, and gives them more flexibility and a longer stride. Reach out to Jesus and your husband or wife. Do your best in your love and devotion. Bend over, cooperate, be reasonable, show mercy and forgiveness. This will help your marriage last.

Don’t be so rigid and fixed, insisting that you’re right all the time, that you can’t meet your spouse halfway or more. Lay down your life for the sake of marriage. Throughout the years of your marriage, you will learn that “stretching” in faith and love will improve your marriage relationship and create more tenderness, affection, respect, and passion in your marriage.

A sprint may get you to the finish line faster, but a marathon has incredible rewards. Go for the gold in marriage. Run a marathon and win!

“Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it has to outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa a lion wakes up. It knows it has to run faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter if you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you better run.” – Unknown

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