As most of you have probably witnessed the Olympic Divers have had quite an unusual distraction, at least for athletes of their ability.
- They have had to dive into a murky, green pool.
- They have had to trust that the water wouldn’t harm them.
- They have had to believe that the pool was safe, even when it looked otherwise.
And the amazing thing about it was they were required to give it their best even in those sub-par conditions.
It’s disgusting. It’s not supposed to be that way. But it is the Olympics and they are used to adversity and disadvantage. They are used to making the best of difficulty and overcoming any and all obstacles that would deter them from reaching their goal. This is what makes them Olympians, and this is why we take notice of them.
How like marriage.
We can insist on a spouse who responds the way we want them to respond. One who listens when we unload and who offers words of encouragement when we’re down. But many times this just isn’t the case. You may give your best to a spouse who has no ability to see clearly for themselves, much less for you. You may wish for the crystal clear waters of a refreshing dive, but instead you find yourself often wondering if the conditions are safe for you to even continue. You may even be avoiding your spouse altogether.
This is when we must remind ourselves of what we vowed when we married.
We said we would be there for them when things were bad or good, richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. When it gets hard is when the difficulty goes on longer than you thought it would.
The Olympians were able to get the help they needed from the experts. They worked all night to shock the pool and clear the water. It took many hands to get it done in time for the next competition. The water looked much better, but when they scanned the camera to include the pool next to it, you could still see how cloudy the water was.
In marriage, we need the help of others. There is nothing wrong with seeking the help and advice of caring friends or a compassionate pastor. Be open. Be vulnerable. Allow others to bring their observations to your situation. Most likely it isn’t all your spouse’s fault. It takes two to make a marriage work, and it takes two to tear it a part. Be willing to do your part to clear the water of conflict.
It was amazing to watch the divers focus on what mattered. It wasn’t the condition of the water, it was doing their absolute best anyway. And some actually reached their goal–a medal signifying their ability to overcome adversity.
In what ways are you having to overcome unexpected difficulty in your marriage? Are you tempted to walk away? Who could you go to for help and hope to keep you focused on making your marriage work? Remember our goal is to make it until death parts us–to our Golden Anniversary and beyond. Now that’s a gold medal to reach for and it is possible to those who stay focused on the prize by seeking the help of God and others when our communication breaks down into troubled waters.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” – Philippians 3:12-16 ESV