Snowboarding. Figure Skating. Ice Hockey. Curling. These are just a few of the sports we get to look forward to watching in the 2014 Winter Olympics. But there’s one sport that trumps all others in being most similar to marriage—cross-country skiing.
Since the first Winter Olympics in 1924, cross-country skiing has been one of only seven sports to be included in every Olympics. As an avid watcher of the Olympics, and having gone cross-country skiing myself, I can tell you that there are countless things a husband and wife can learn from this longstanding sport.
Here are 3 things we can learn about going for the gold in our marriage from cross-country skiing:
1. You’ll face different terrains. There will be times when the snow is powder and pure and easy to glide through. These are the seasons when your marriage is progressing without a lot of effort. However, there will also be times when the snow is packed and too icy to make it through without a struggle. Be prepared for these different terrains by having a mind-set that you are committed to one another for life and that you’ll walk through your struggles together.
2. Training is required. No one in their right mind would go on a course meant for an advanced cross-country skier as they are learning to ski. Rather, they would study, learn from an instructor, and practice what they’ve learned first. In the same way, it’s important for every couple to read good resources and books on how to have a great marriage. Here’s a list of some of my favorite marriage books. Additionally, it can be helpful to learn from an instructor, especially if you’re having difficulty navigating some tough terrain in your marriage. My blog post on how to find and choose a counselor may be helpful to you. And remember, just like cross-country skiing, learning is for life in a marriage. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.
3. Rest and reflection bring growth. Sometimes athletes start skiing down a steep slope only to find themselves gaining speed, but losing control. These are the moments when it is wise to pull off into a warming hut and take a break from the intensity of the slopes. When was the last time you and your spouse stepped away from the frenzy of life to simply rest and reflect? If you feel your marriage tumbling out of control, I encourage you to find a way to get away from the busyness together. Perhaps a weekend trip together would help. Whatever it is, take time to rest and reflect on your marriage, giving it the growth it needs to face the trials of life.
What are some mountains you and your spouse have overcome together? Feel free to share your stories in a comment below.