Crossing the Finish Line

Family Bridges

Crossing the Finish Line

Contributed by
Omaira Gonzalez

My husband and I joined a 5K walk/run. We were pretty excited that we were going to do this together and also that it was for a good cause. However, that day when we woke up the sky was gray, it was cold and raining. Neither of us had much motivation to go out there and run, but we decided to get bundled up and got ready to participate anyway. We headed out there and joined the rest of the many people who, like us, decided not to let the Chicago weather stop them.

This 5K made me reflect on how my husband and I first came together and decided, “Hey let’s get married.” Since then, we joined a marathon called marriage. When we first started this race, it was so exciting! We dreamed of a lifetime of happiness, sunshine and rainbows. We geared up for our race, put on our best running shoes, and made sure we each had our water bottles to keep hydrated from time to time when things felt dry in our relationship. Get ready, get set, go! We were ready! Until the day a gray cloud in the sky called “differences” appeared. I mean, we knew we were different. He is guy and I am girl; we liked different stuff. But I am talking about the kind of “differences” that get under your skin. Funny thing is that they are usually the subtle stuff that always gets to you. For example, you are neat, he is messy; he wants to watch sports all day long, and you, well, not so much; one procrastinates, the other wants it done now; one is a spender and the other wants to save it all; one wants to talk about their feelings and the other one doesn’t listen. While these scenarios may seem silly or perhaps not so silly, it builds up in your relationship, and your race together feels like you are running under gray skies, light showers and sometimes a thunderstorm. You see less of the sun because the cloud of differences is now over your race. This can be very frustrating and discouraging, and you get fatigued in the middle of your race when faced with challenges. You start off very excited and with a goal in mind to cross the finish line. But how do you continue a race when you are not as motivated as you were when you first started?

As my husband and I were entering into our last mile, we became tired and fatigued. The cold weather and rain did not help us at all, and we started to get discouraged. I felt like this last mile was weighing me down, when my husband looked at me and said, “We are almost there, we got this. Let’s cross this finish line together,” and then offered me his arm. I grabbed his arm and found the support I needed to finish our last mile. At that moment it didn’t matter how I was feeling or what kind of weather we were facing. I was just happy that I had him by my side to finish this race as a couple, just like when we first started.

In marriage you will have your differences and your own experience weathering difficulties and unexpected challenges. Yet, in all of my 27 years of marriage, what I have discovered most about staying in this marathon called marriage is that it’s not so much about how to weather the storm, but it’s about how to motivate each other to stay in the race and cross the finish line.

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