Like many of you, I am going to watch with admiration as the world’s finest athletes gather in Brazil this month to compete in the Olympics. Their pursuit of a medal requires dedication and determination. In the same way, to have an Olympic-gold marriage, a couple must be completely dedicated and fiercely determined to have a winning relationship.
Here are five Olympic lessons for your relationship with your spouse to keep in mind as you cheer on those running, swimming, tumbling, and shooting their way to glory.
These elite runners may cover that demanding 26.2 miles at a faster pace than you can imagine, but they know it’s not a sprint. They have the long view in mind, with a steady, determined stride. Going the distance takes discipline and commitment—just as keeping your marriage vows does. [Tweet This] How well are you honoring yours? Here’s what I learned when I graded my own efforts.
Even with the best preparation, marathon runners sometimes hit “the wall”—that point somewhere around the 20-mile mark when they can just run out of juice. Then it’s all about digging deep. Marriages can face a similar pain-point, either through years of careless neglect, or a major trauma like sickness, infidelity, or a wayward child. If that’s you, here are 6 Questions to Ask Before You Call It Quits in Marriage.
The men and women of the beams, bars, and mats may be small, but they are tremendously strong. It’s not an explosive kind of power but very controlled, slow and deliberate—it’s like patience in different poses. And all those flips and twists require great focus and concentration. And, of course, gymnasts need to be flexible—another important quality in marriage. It’s good to have clear expectations, but also to be able to adapt to changing circumstances. Consider these guidelines for Keeping Your Expectations Flexible in Marriage.
There’s more to this race than just running fast yourself; you have to be able to hand off well to your teammate. There’s no better picture of good communication than this passing of the baton, knowing that the other person has really taken hold of what you are giving them. Indeed, you could even use a baton as an aid when you employ this Tried and True Technique for Marriage Communication.
Tactics are important in the relay, too. The runners are chosen very carefully for their particular leg; whether that’s setting the pace from the gun, or utilizing a strong kick to bring it home on the last lap. Similarly, rich marriages give room for each person’s gifts and strengths. Here’s more on Why Teamwork in Marriage Matters.
Swim caps have been worn for years, but those body suits favored by some competitors are a more recent addition. They wear them to reduce water resistance: cutting the friction improves their performance. Similarly, if you work on eliminating the things that can cause you and your spouse to rub each other the wrong way, like unmet needs, you can improve your relationship flow.
And there is another basic but essential thing swimmers have to learn: breathing. They don’t inhale when their head is under water. In other words, they know when to keep their mouth shut! And there are times in a marriage when it’s wise not to say anything.
This competition does not have the visual appeal of many others at the Games; it seems rather static, even possibly dull. And yet who wouldn’t want to score a bull’s eye in their marriage, like these men and women do with their bows?
To do so, they have to focus fiercely on their target, tuning out all the distractions around them. If you have been married for some time, you may want to consider whether you might have allowed unnecessary things to get in the way of your relationship focus. Read more here about How to Declutter Your Marriage.
Like the gymnasts, the archers also have great controlled strength, holding the bow perfectly still as they zero in on the target. And they know just the right moment to release—which reminds me of how deadly the need for control can be in a marriage. It shows the importance of letting some things go. Your spouse doesn’t always have to see or do things your way.
Which Olympic events will you be following closely this month, and what marriage lessons can they offer others? Share your thoughts here.