3. The third thing to fix in your mind and believe is that pain is not a signal that your marriage is over.
When I’m running a marathon I need to keep reminding myself that pain is
a totally natural for thisevent and expected part of the race. I do not give up at the first twinge or even at quite severe pain. Ibattle through it. Of course, I have to put up with some pain if I want to finish the race. One thing thatdrives me nuts these days is when I read a report in a newspaper of the latest celebratory couple who
have split up citing ‘irreconcilable differences’ as the cause. What they are really saying is that they
encountered a wee bit pain and so just gave up! Usually they live such a pampered lifestyle that any sortof pain is just not acceptable and so they walk away (to repeat the exercise with someone else). Do notsuccumb to this modern malaise. If you never learn how to put up with a bit of pain, every relationshipyou ent
er into will head down the same path. If you don’t believe me, just check out the marriages inHollywood. Don’t become a quitter.
Pain is not the end
it’s a sign that something needs to be done. In fact, it can be a beginning if you let
it.4. Stop focusing on the pain. Whatever you focus on will begin to define who you are. If all you can see
are the bad things in your marriage it won’t be long until your marriage accurately reflects your focus. In
a marathon, if I keep thinking about how painful it is, there is a big temptation to give up. So what I do isto try and focus on more pleasant things such as the scenery, the joy of running, the anticipation of finishing, other runners (especially those who dress up in stupid outfits), anything to divert my attention
from the pain for a little while. It’s amazing how often the pain is actually more mental than physical. I
believe that the same thing can be achieved in marriage. Instead of focusing on the toothpaste lid or thetoilet seat (to quote just two cl
ichés) why not focus on your partner’s great sense of humour or their
willingness to always switch off the lights or any of a hundred other endearing qualities?
It’s amazing how trivial the irritations become when you remove them from the centre of your f
ocus.Trythis simple exercise. Take a very small coin and hold it arms length between your finger and thumb.
Does it block out much of the view behind it? No, obviously it doesn’t. Now bring the coin up closer and
closer to your eye and close the other eye. What happens? It blocks your view almost completely,
doesn’t it? It’s only a small coin but it can completely obliterate your view if you let it. Often the same
thing happens in marriage. You can forget all the tremendous blessings you have together and focus on
the one tiny fault until it takes over and dominates your thinking. Don’t allow it to do so. Now, whatyou’ve just read might sound like a contradiction to point 1 but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m
not suggesting here that you bury your head in the sand regarding pain in your marriage but what I amsaying is to make sure that the thing you think is causing you pain is actually as bad as you are makingout. Have you just become so used to whining about something that it has come to dominate yourthinking unnecessarily?
Don’t let a small pain obliterate your view of a great marriage.