The lawn mower runs but the grass looks the same height after you’re done. The washing machine fills with water but the clothes aren’t clean when they come out and the vacuum is sucking up more money than dirt. The irony is that somehow all these mec
hanical troubles have led to a breakdown in your marriage relationship. Have you had those days and weeks where you feel like you are running against the wind? I’m not attempting to steal that famous song title from Bob Seger, but it sure does fit.
In marriage, sometimes both spouses can feel like they’re running against the wind. In other words, life’s throwing things at us in such a way that we don’t feel like we’re on the same page let alone the same book. We push against each other like riders on a New York subway. Even when we try to run toward each other, an invisible force that feels like a tornado blows us back. It’s at this point many couples grow tired of the pressure against them, give up, and give in to divorce.
Last year a fierce tornado devastated the town of Joplin, Missouri. Here is an excerpt from a survivor who works at the local hospital. He wrote an email to a friend shortly after the tornado hit. It was published in a Texas newspaper.
Freeman Hospital still looks kind of like it did that night. We still have STUFF everywhere. The floor is still dirty because Joplin has virtually no water pressure. We barely have enough water to run our sterilizers for instruments. A large area of the roof blew off and the rain won’t stop so we can fix it. We have removed hundreds of ceiling tiles that have gotten wet and were coming down anyway. The fire alarms keep going off all the time because the wiring system is getting wetter and wetter with all the leaks. We have to check each alarm to make sure there is no fire and then silence it.
Please pray for us. A lot of people’s lives are changed forever. Mine is, and I am alright. “He never said it would be easy… He just said follow me.”
The same can be said about marriage. Nobody said it would be easy. Maybe your relationship is in total disarray. Your spouse, not a roof, blew up. You’re running out of patience, not water. You have removed affection, not ceiling tiles. Your spouse, not an alarm, has been silenced. It may not even come close to comparing to the devastation these people endured, but it feels like the relationship is a total loss.
What can you do to fight against the wind? It can be as simple as what Jane and I do—hold hands. Scientific studies have shown holding hands can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. It reflects more of an image and attitude of trying to work things out. I also try to focus on what I can fix. There’s no question when Jane and I are running against the wind, I can easily see what’s causing her problem and I’m quick to make snap judgments, but slow to recognize my own shortcomings. If I would just own what belongs to me and clean up that area, it could significantly calm the wind.
When faced with strong winds in your marriage, grab your spouse’s hand, turn your back to the breeze, and sail into calmer waters.