We all have a path to run in life. Each path has different turns and obstacles. We learn how to jump hurdles and gain speed and handle terrain as the path stretches before us. At times, my path has intersected with others and I have run alongside others in friendships, family relationships, and other daily encounters. It is challenging to run with another person. It is especially challenging when your path permanently combines with another.
Steven and I will share a house, share a family, share a direction for the rest of our lives. We are fledgling partners right now. It is easy to step on toes and run out of sync at this point. We have little practice.
What struck me this morning, as I wrestled with some of my husband’s actions that were creating roadblocks for my own goals, was that I still have my own race to run. While we will remain on the same path, I still have my own running style and a responsibility to put one foot in front of the other every day. Steven may trip me up, and I may trip Steven up. But Steven cannot take me by the ankle and place my foot where it ought to go. He has his own steps to take, as do I. We have to figure out how to be our individual and unique selves on a single path.
I have friends who fear losing themselves in marriage. I think it is a common occurrence, especially for women, to become what is needed rather than become who they ought to be within the marriage. I can see how it would be easy to get lost in my functional identity- a wife, a mother, a friend… and forget to be just Megan- Megan the wife, Megan the mother, Megan the friend, Megan the fill-in-the-blank. I am convinced that if I do not figure out how to do what I need to do as a wife within my own God-given personality, years and years from now I will resent Steven and our marriage for a deep loss of joy and identity. What a tragedy!
So, as look over to Steven’s steps and notice that they do not line up the way that I think they ought to and are getting in my way, I am still responsible for my own steps. If I find myself tripping and tumbling to the ground, though I may be convinced that if he had only run the way I had in mind we would do so much better, I still must be the one to stand up and begin to run again, right beside him.
One of the beauties of marriage is that, before we said our vows, I may have been convinced for years and years that my way is the only way to run. Marriage demands that two people run in unison, in a way that reflects two individual personalities. And we run together, on the path designated to us, toward the goal, till death do us part. Two become one. What a miracle!