This past Saturday, along with tens of thousands of my closest friends, I ran the Country Music Marathon. As I ran along the 26.2 mile course, it quickly occurred to me that I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was going. When I picked up my race number and the shoe tag that clocked my time, they gave me a map of the course. I could have studied the map and been familiar with every turn, every hill, every straightaway. But instead, from start to finish I just followed the pack. If you’ve ever run a marathon or half marathon, you know that unless you’re the person in the lead, you’re constantly surrounded by hundreds of others, mostly moving in unison, as some surge ahead and some fall behind. But most of us are just going with the flow.
I wonder if we don’t do that in marriage sometimes—finding ourselves just going along with whatever is happening around us, letting the world plot a course for what we believe about marriage, about love, about intimacy, about commitment, about family, about integrity toward one’s spouse, and so many other aspects of the marriage relationship.
I understand the pack mentality. I really do. It takes less effort. It seems right because everyone else around me is going the same way. There’s certainly safety and confidence in numbers. But what if they’re wrong? What if they took a wrong turn? What if someone took a shortcut in his or her relationship, and rather than pay attention and try to correct the course, the next person just followed suit? Pretty soon, the wrong way will become the norm.As you run the race that is Christian marriage—for better or for worse, in times of plenty and in times of want, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, till death do we part—make sure you know where you’re going. Look for landmarks that you’re on the right path, and be confident that if you are centering your marriage on Christ, the One leading the race is always taking you in the right direction.