Imagine stepping onto a baseball field and up to bat. You connect with the ball and begin your run around the bases.
So when would you be safe? When could you relax a little, knowing that the umpire couldn’t declare you out? When could you be assured that the run would be completed and you would make it all the way home?
After first base? Second?
If marriage was a baseball field, first base would signal the completion of 10 years, second base would be 20, third, 30 and circling around to home plate again would represent a lifetime of wedded (hopefully) bliss.
When are you safe in your marriage? When can you breathe easy knowing that your spouse wouldn’t suddenly decide to throw you out? When could you be assured that the marriage will last a lifetime?
After ten years? Twenty?
A friend commented on a local radio personality’s somewhat public and ongoing divorce from his wife. They have been married for twenty years. My friend was shocked, having the assumption that a marriage that has lasted twenty years will last for the remaining decades.
But that’s not necessarily the case, is it?
In a marriage, you can celebrate making it to second base. But you can’t relax.
Some of the hardest years can certainly be the early ones, as negotiations are compromised and compromises are negotiated. You are still learning who your partner is in a variety of situations and learning how to be with them. It can be a time filled with complexity and flexibility as you find your stride.
And if nothing ever changes, perhaps you can relax at that point, resting easy knowing that you’ve worked through all of the kinks in the marital knot.
But something always changes.
Kids come and go. Promotions are gained and jobs are lost. Some selves are actualized and some are minimized. Someone may fall ill or someone may fall in love.
Something always changes.
And when change comes, the marriage must change with it if it is going to survive. (And especially if it is going to survive happily because what’s the point of a long marriage if you’re miserable the entire time!)
Even if it’s been twenty years.
Because in a marriage, there’s no such thing as safe at the plate.
And although that may seem a little scary, it also makes the game exciting. Because how can a marriage between two ever-changing people in a always-shifting environment ever become stagnant or boring?
You have to always keep your eye on the ball and your intention on the journey.
And if you get called out, don’t be afraid to get back in the game:)