Everyone wants a love that lasts a lifetime. A recent study found that 93 percent of Americans say they dream of a lasting, stable marriage relationship. But instead of lifelong love, they’re finding disappointment and heartache.
People haven’t lost the dream for marriage. They’ve just lost the hope. That’s because they have the wrong mentality.
They see marriage as a sprint. But in reality, it’s a marathon. Let me explain.
Fifty years and about 70 pounds ago, I used to run track. Running fast feels good. Sprinting is fun, just ask any kid! It’s fun to watch, too. My favorite Olympic event is still the 100-meter dash. It requires maximum effort but it doesn’t last long.
The reason sprints are short is because no one can sustain that kind of effort for very long. They burn out too quickly.
A lot of people get married in a sprint. They meet someone and are overcome with emotion. They start dating. They fall in love. They get engaged. They get married and everything is wonderful. In these moments, sexual attraction and passion are their source of energy. It burns hot. It’s exhilarating and fun. But it doesn’t last.
Eventually, they run out of energy. It might be during the first year of marriage. It might be during the tenth year. The passion fades and the relationship hits a wall. If they aren’t prepared for it, their marriage can fall apart.
The big question in marriage isn’t How can we keep this passion going today? It’s How can we keep this passion burning for 61 years?
That requires a marathon mentality rather than a sprint mentality. A marathon requires a similar amount of effort. But instead of burning it all at once, like rocket fuel, it focuses on endurance. You keep moving forward, step after step and year after year.
Marathoners pay very close attention to things like nutrition and hydration. They focus on it leading up to a race and during the race itself. Their performance depends on it. Fuel is vital to a successful marathon.
A marathon mentality in marriage also thinks about fuel: What is the source of my love? The deepest source of love isn’t sexual attraction. It’s not your emotions, because feelings change. Your source of love shouldn’t be your spouse, either, because people fail us. They’ll let us down.
The deepest and most powerful source of love is God, whose love lasts for eternity. We must trust Him to meet our deepest needs. We must depend on Him to be our fuel. People can break our hearts, but the love of God endures forever.
When Karen and I got married, we were sprinting. When the passion began to fade, we almost divorced. It wasn’t until we learned to draw from a deeper source, the love of God, that He healed our marriage. We turned our marriage into a marathon instead of a sprint, and today we’re still running strong.
With God fueling your marriage, it can last a lifetime.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today