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Marriage lessons from running a marathon

Two weekends ago, I attended two significant events. On Saturday I attended a friend’s wedding and on Sunday we had the annual Standard Chartered Marathon. So what does a wedding and marathon have in common?

One, life and marriage are both marathons and not 100m dashes. A wedding is only the start, there are still 42 kilometres to be run in marriage. The mistake many couples do is to be so preoccupied with the wedding forgetting about the most important thing, marriage itself.

The wedding is a one-day event, but a marriage is a lifelong process that requires a lot of patience, endurance and self-discipline, just like a marathon. It is not how you start that matters, but how you finish.

The other lesson to learn from the marathon is that you must run your own race. If you try to keep up with the “Kips”, you may run out of steam and collapse.

Don’t run another person’s race, you don’t know how well they have prepared for this race. You don’t know their endurance level and who knows they might just be a pacesetter paid to help someone break the world record. And so if you try keeping up with him, he will tire you. Unfortunately, that’s how some couples live their marriages.

They want to compare themselves with the couple next door, yet they don’t know the truth about that couple. Keeping up with the “Otienos” is what is killing many marriages today. We start comparing our spouse with so and so and this leaves us in a state of perpetual dissatisfaction with our spouse.

Finally, realise there’s always a prize money that motivates the athletes to keep going even when things are tough. Similarly, in life and in marriage, there is a prize to be won.

That prize may not be in monetary terms or fame, but it may be a stable home, a rich inheritance for your children and a good and healthy life. Someone said that when mama’s happy, everyone is happy.

So, enduring those challenges, talking through those conflicts, coming down and apologising even when it greatly affects your ego may just go a long way in making you live happily ever after.

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