“If you want to go quick, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”- African Proverb
Have you ever seen the couple running? I know you have. They are both running but one is well ahead of the other. The lagger is huffing and probably did not want go on this “little jog” in the first place. I’ve seen the motivated wife with the lagging husband. I’ve seen the motivated husband with the lagging wife.
It is such a great and tangible analogy of what can happen in a marriage. Finding a balanced pace that allows both to run together can be a daunting task. A pace that honors each individuals “personal bents” while valuing the “we” as the most important thing.
Kathy and I have had a long history of fits and starts in finding a pace in our marriage. There have been times when Kathy has run ahead in one area of our life while I lag behind. And other times when I have run ahead in areas and she has lagged behind. One thing I’ve learned after 20+ years of marriage is there are times when I need to speed up and there are times when I need to slow down. Being together is the main point. Marriage is about the distance and not the speed so a change of pace is needed.
A funny example of this is when we went to Florence, Italy. The morning after we arrived, we set out to explore. I had a place scoped out that I wanted us to go to. So I was bee-lining through the city to get to this place. Which was just 1st of many stops on my “list”. As I was forging through the streets, i could feel the reluctance from Kathy. I slowed down, turn around and asked “what are you doing”? Well, she was taking it all in place by place. She wanted to experience (aka Explore) Florence with no agenda. Whoa! that’s different and yet valuable. While there we found an Italian saying that was so Kathy! ‘La Dolce Far Niente”. It translates “the sweetness of nothing.” It means when you go, go without an agenda, experience what is in front of you and be expectant. What a beautiful way to go about life and how different from me. To be together, I slowed down and took in the “in-between” things along the way. She sped up to see places I wanted to see that required us to pass by some places along the way. We found a pace on that trip that allowed us to experience it together vs just frustrate each other. Neither of our ‘bents’ changed but we valued the “us” enough to speed up and slow down to stay together.
Earlier in our marriage, I tried hard to set the pace to map to my way of doing life. I did not value our differences to work at finding a different pace than how I rolled. Im not proud of it but it is a common marriage killer that is not unique to us.
The critical truth is the “us” has to out weigh the individual’s “personal bent” if you are in this race for the long haul. As a individual, you will be challenged to go places that stretch you to make a better “we”. As a individual, you will sacrifice in areas that concern you to make a better “we”. In the end, the only way to get to where you both want to go is to find a pace that honors each other in the relationship. For some it is slower and for others it is faster, I expect it will be a little bit of both from each one until you find a pace that will let your marriage go the distance. The pace will change in different seasons of your marriage so being in tune to each other and what the current circumstances call for is important.
This video of Chip and Joanna Gaines is such a great example of individuals in a relationship speeding up and slowing down to be the best “us” they could be.