Marriage is a Three-Legged Race

Yesterday was the nine-year anniversary of my marriage to Steve Kraut. It amazes me how quickly time goes by. I still feel like we’re newlyweds trying to figure out what our marriage will look like, and what we want to do when we grow up. We still haven’t finished decorating the house, some of my stuff is still stored in the garage, and we’re just getting started. Yet I will turn 50 next year, and Steve will turn 65. He’ll be eligible for Medicare and I can start wearing all those purple and red things from the red-hat club. Marriage is an interesting thing. It brings a dramatic change to your daily life, and then again, nothing has really changed. I’m still the same person with the same neuroses; I’m just sharing them with someone else’s neuroses. Sometimes my marriage feels like a three-legged race. We used to do them at camp when I was a kid. You know, where you and a partner each put a leg into a burlap bag and then try to cross the finish line before anyone else. If you both try to run separately, you end up tumbling onto the grass either laughing or yelling at each other. It doesn’t work until you figure out a rhythm for running together. Inside leg then outside leg. Inside leg, then outside leg. Hmmm… In my marriage, it means bringing my own independence into rhythm with our shared life together. Both are needed, but they need to work together for the common goal. One cannot run faster than the other or we both fall down. But if we submit our own pace to the other’s, and find a rhythm together, holding up the sack with one hand, and holding our partner with the other, we start to find a stride. After that awkward struggle, we find ourselves gliding across the grass. Not that we don’t stumble, trip, and fall often, but then we get up, get set, and go again.

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