How many of you remember participating in a three legged race when you were a kid?
I’m pretty sure most of you just smiled when reading that and it took you back to elementary school. It was a classic field day event, but I didn’t realize it would be such a metaphoric way to describe a relationship.
My name is Sheena Steward, and I’m a newlywed of a whopping four months (Man, time sure does fly). So, I wouldn’t say I’m a relationship expert, but I have a tad bit of experience on the subject.
As I was saying, I loved participating in three legged races as a kid, but a month ago it dawned on me that the race is just like marriage.
The rules of a three legged race are as follows:
- Divide people into pairs, matching people of similar height and build.
- Have each player stand next to his partner and put his arm around his partner’s waist.
- The partners’ inside legs (the right leg of the partner on the left and the left leg of the partner on the right) should be touching. Tie the partners’ inside legs together so each pair of children has three legs rather than four.
- Use two ropes to mark a starting line and a finish line.
- Have the players line up at the starting line. At your signal, have players walk or run as fast as they can to the finish line.
- It sounds easy, but it takes practice to make two legs work as one! The winners are the pair of people who cross the finish line first.
In the beginning of a relationship you divide into groups of two people. There are billions of people on this Earth, but somehow we gravitate towards that one special person.
You “match” with a person of similar beliefs, morals and character. In the beginning of the relationship you’re feeling your way through figuring out your role and discovering a nice comfort level to “live” in. You learn to find comfort in standing by your mate and learn when to wrap your arms around them in support and love.
Next, you grow in the relationship and feel comfortable enough to be “tied” to your partner. This tie symbolizes intertwining your hopes, dreams, struggles, failures, accomplishments and heart.
The rules of the game state to make a starting line, but at this point in a relationship the line was drawn when your two souls connected and decided to embark on a journey.
The concept of marriage sounds easy. You pick a partner, get tied to them, start off on a journey and enjoy your adventurous race. Seriously, what’s not to love about that? As a four month veteran of marriage I’m here to tell you that it’s the most amazing thing I’ve done in life, but also the most challenging. Tying yourself to someone for life comes with its ups, downs and surprises.
April 2nd is the day we “tied” the knot and it was an incredible day! The tie signified that I would always have a partner to “do” life with. An important thing to remember is that although we’re forever tied we’re still two separate individuals and have our own goals in life.
Sometimes there will be moments when I want to go left, but he wants to go right. In those moments when we try to do our own thing without the blessing of the other one we feel friction in the middle where we’re tied. It takes a ton of communication, sacrifice, and ego checks to make things work smoothly. When I want to conquer something on my own I communicate this to my partner and we as a team decide to “go left”. Since it’s my venture I’m leading the way, but he’s right behind me giving me support. Other situations will call for me to follow his lead and be there to lend support.
Remember the feeling you felt when you were a kid and you and your three legged race partner finally hit your stride and were totally in sync with your movements? That’s what marriage feels like when it’s done correctly! You’re able to push forward together on the same foot and keep in stride. But when the time comes for you to pursue something on your own, all it takes is understanding and support from your mate for you two to turn and go in a different direction.
Remember to never loosen the tie, but instead keeping in mind that from time to time it may need some adjusting. If at times you two find yourselves having to adjust it often, remember what the rules state. It sounds easy, but it takes practice to make two legs work as one!