This year, everyone has been really hyped up about the Olympics. I personally don’t follow it closely but I like to tune in and watch clips from time to time. This morning as I was reading an article about the participants in the Olympics, it dawned on me that I am participating in my own Olympic sport daily- my marriage.

When we think about the Olympics, a few things come to mind. Practice, endurance, victory, defeat, etc. Every single day, I see the same thing in my marriage. Let’s start with practice. Anyone who is married, knows it takes practice and hard work. No one wakes up one day, gets married, and just has it all right. It takes days, weeks, even years of learning, working, and putting to practice the things you learn to make a marriage work. When Tony and I first got married, I had this picture in my head of what marriage would look like. Every day since, I have learned that marriage is far from the picture in my head. Some days, I want to rip his face off. Other days, I can’t imagine my life with out him. But when it comes down to it, I have had to learn to be a wife. I have had to learn to respect him and then put it into practice. I am not a submissive person. But being submissive and letting him lead our family was something I had to learn to do. I know two things. He loves God and he loves our family and I had to trust that he would make decisions based on those two things. If there is no trust, there is no marriage. Trust is another skill I had to learn and practice to make my marriage work.

Now let’s think about endurance. If I was in the Olympics, I would fail. Physically, I do not have the endurance it takes to complete most of the Olympic sports. Now let’s look at marriage. Marriage takes a serious amount of endurance. You must endure the hard times, the annoyances, the money problems, the kids (yes, you have to endure them at times even if they are cute and cuddly), and so much more. The key to endurance though is you have to make a choice. If I was an Olympic athlete, I would have to make a decision to endure the practice, the long hours, and the pain in hopes that the reward at the end will be worth it. That pretty much sums up marriage. I can think of fights that Tony and I have had. One of our biggest ones to date was over a phone charger (yeah I know, dumb). In the midst of the fight, I had to make a decision to stick it out. By sticking it out, I have gotten to enjoy the good times. And there are many good times!

So let’s talk about victory and defeat in marriage. We all have victories and we will all feel defeated at some point. Whatever that may look like in your situation, we have all faced it. The victories may be fun times, great kids, a house, nice cars, etc. Some defeats may be loss, hurts, arguments that are detrimental, money issues, etc. Again, I don’t know your story so I don’t know what that looks like but you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes it’s like we are standing at the top of the stage with a gold medal around our necks, and other times, we are leaving the arena hurt and broken because all of our hard work up until this point, wasn’t enough. Marriage really is like an Olympic sport.

Some may say, “I don’t have what it takes.” I’m sure some would say this if they were asked to go to the Olympics. They would make excuses, reasons why it can’t work, or even reasons why they aren’t worthy. Are you doing the same thing in your marriage? Are you allowing the hard, taxing, endurance and practice required to make your marriage work stop you from enjoying all the things your marriage has to offer you? For myself, I am vowing to practice, learn, work, accept defeat, and enjoy the victories in my marriage. I want to be the one standing with the gold medal around my neck not because it was easy, but because I decided to put in the work. As I wrote this, I was mostly speaking to myself. I would bet though, some of you may be in a similar situation. So what are you going to do? Are you going to take the challenge on or are you going to sit back and just be a spectator as others reach their goals?  Good things come to those who work hard!

Written by Stacia Tiller