HOW TO WIN A THREE-LEGGED RACE
Not too long ago I was watching a Shirley Temple movie called “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.” It also starred Gregory Peck. In the movie Gregory Peck participated in a three-legged race as part of his effort to show off for the ladies. And I wondered, does anybody still do three-legged races? Of course it was a romantic comedy so Peck, who was trying to impress a woman, fell down and didn't do very well.
His ineptness and comic failure at the three-legged race got me to thinking about how marriage is a three-legged race. I don't know if you've ever participated in a three-legged race, but if you did you know it can be much more difficult than it sounds. You need a plan for success and you need to work the plan together.
Here is my life hack #1 on that: Use more than one connector when you secure yourself and your partner together.
Let’s talk about marriage first. In marriage, we are (or at least should be) bound to our mates by our marriage vows, by our love, by common interests and goals and, hopefully, by God. Multiple connections make our marriage relationship stronger.
The more you have in common, the more things you do together, the more you serve each other’s needs the more you are bound together, and the more you are bound together the easier it will be to win the “race” of having a successful, happy marriage. One of the most important ties you can have is a spiritual one.
Pray together. Study together. Find service projects to do together. This ensures that God and Christ dwell in your marriage and help to strap you together in your race.
If you are single, your partner in the race of life is Jesus Christ Himself. The Holy Spirit binds you together in every place you let Him into your life. Eventually, marriage might be in the picture and your marriage will be benefitted by your strong bond to Jesus.
Here is my life hack #2 on that: You have to lead with the leg strapped to your partner.
Again, let’s talk about marriage first. It's fine and even good to have your own pursuits, your own experiences, your own friends, your own job etc. (represented by the non-strapped leg, which can move somewhat independently). I am not saying you can never be apart. However, for a truly successful marriage you have to lead with the leg that is strapped to your partner.
The most important part of your relationship, of your day, of your plans, of your hopes and dreams; the most important factor in every decision in life is God, of course.
But, after your commitment to Him, the most important part of your life and the decisions you make has to be what is good for your marriage and family. If you don't lead with the strapped leg, your marriage will struggle, it will be less successful than it could be and you may fall down a lot or end in divorce. Haven't you seen marriages flounder and fail because one partner tried to put something else first - maybe another person, a job, a hobby, an addiction?
The good news, if you are single is, again, that the one you are strapped to is Jesus. You know He is going to lead with the strapped leg. He is going to move forward with decisions that are in the best interest of building your relationship. You simply have to pay attention to His lead and move forward with Him.
Sometimes, I can find myself starting to pull away from either my mate or from Jesus because times are tough or, conversely because times are good and there are a lot of fun distractions going on around me. My focus may be drawn away without realizing it, at least initially. Maybe a hobby turns into an obsession or work becomes the thing that defines my success.
Since God is part of my marriage, my husband and I have the Holy Spirit to bind us together. But we still have to make the choice every day to make decisions based on God first and then us – the team, the “we,” and not on independent needs, wants or concerns, as valid as they might be. We have to ask ourselves, "what is best for our marriage?" at all times.
Marriage is not a race against other couples, of course. Our marriage race is a race that we either win together (as a couple) or lose entirely. It takes both husband and wife leading with that center leg.
It is the same with our Christian race: it is not a competition with other Christian. Rather, it is a focus solely on making it to the finish line together with Christ as partner.
1Co 9:24 [KJV] Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
Run, NEW Church Lady, run; but do so well bound to your running partner and leading with the bound leg.
Then we can say, as we find in 2Ti 4:7-8 [KJV] “7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished [my] course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Write me at: Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org.
Next time: MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL
About the N.E.W. Church Lady – She is just an average middle aged woman who has been a believer and church attender all her life. She is married with three grown children. She lives in a small town and works in sales. Her hobbies are fitness, reading, cooking, writing and travel.