|I noticed in a Lifemates News an
article entitled ‘Love a Risky Business?’,
that there is mention of the Bathurst 1000 race. David,
my husband loves motor racing, 2 weekends a year I become
a motor racing widow.
Motor racing evokes strong sentiment, you either really
enjoy it and see the benefit of it or you don’t.
It either absolutely absorbs you or you just can’t
Some simply observe it and others really get involved.
Bit like marriage really. Some observe it, others get
involved, some strongly dislike it, others believe that
it is the basis of Society. e.g. James Dobson.
The relationship of marriage could be likened to the
Bathurst 1000 Motor Race, just as there are stages in
the race so there are stages in marriage. As each stage
builds upon the previous one; commitment, character and
effort are required. Success depends upon having the
right equipment so that each stage can be completed in
a healthy way.
It is interesting to note that the race goes in the
anti-clockwise direction, marriage is seen by many in
society as anti-freedom going in the other direction
from what they believe the 21st century expects.
Looking at the map, there is the start between Murray’s
Corner and Hell Corner.
Lots of preparation and planning goes into the start
of the race, lots of money spent, the drivers are absolutely
committed to finishing the race, no-one begins the race
half heartedly with the option of pulling out in mind.
Every one who is involved really want to finish, they’re
of one mind in that.
Single minded with no expectation of failing.
The same happens with the beginning of a marriage, there
are lots of preparations and planning, lots of money
spent. I’m sure that as the wedding occurs, recognising
that that celebration is the start of the marriage, everyone
really wants this marriage to be successful, meaning
that this relationship will be fulfilling spiritually,
mentally and physically; to get to the finish if you
will. At its very beginning every marriage needs to be
marked with the strong certainty that this is for keeps,
that there are no soft options.
Being single minded with no expectation of failure.
In the race the first corner is called Hell Corner, it
is where the most accidents happen where the greater
amount of race drop-outs occur. So in marriage the seeds
of trouble often are sown in the early stages of the
relationship, often on the honeymoon in fact. Unaddressed
issues at this stage lead to trouble later on. e.g. BP’s
The next stage of the race is up Mountain Straight,
a steady climb up the mountain. This stage really helps
set up the race.
For marriage, after the initial months there comes the
steady building of relationship plus towards security
in house and job. This basis sets up the rest of the
marriage. Stability, based upon the decision not to expect
failure, here plus the choice to build relationship,
help when the stressors come. And come they will.
At Griffins Bend there is a change in direction that
leads into the top on the mountain, through BP Cutting
and all the ‘Parks’, Reid, Sulman and McPhilliamy;
leading to Skyline, the Dipper and then to the twists
and turns of the Esses. This is a very testing part of
the race, both for the drivers as well as their cars.
Concentration, commitment and courage are needed with
no expectation of failing to finish.
In marriage there is a change in direction, if you will,
when children are born, life changes, focus changes and
with each child, the dynamic of the marriage changes.
No longer are there just 2 people, now there are others
that require attention, nurturing and maintenance. The
years of raising children are marked by many demands,
ups and downs, twists and turns, the best and worst are
brought out in couples. The constant demands etc that
really drain a relationship and can take all the reserves
you have. The choices of concentration, commitment and
courage are really required without the expectation of
Forrest’s Elbow marks another stage in the race,
another direction, with a long downhill stretch that
includes Conrod Straight and Caltex Chase to Murray’s
Corner, it is the quickest part of the race, great speed
is required plus a lot of experience to handle that speed.
When the children finally leave home there is another
stage in marriage, all the energies used for all those
years of raising them needs to be redirected. Otherwise
there is a vacuum. At this stage there is perhaps more
vulnerability that at any other stage, if the children
have been the main focus then there will be difficulties.
It is critically important I believe that all through
the marriage that the initial relationship not be lost
sight of. Intentionally building that relationship is
the thing. Building it, not expecting it to simply be
To build requires intentional effort, making the time
to invest in the relationship without the expectation
Murray’s Corner is the last corner of the race,
it is a significant part of it as it is the last turn
before the finish line and requires significant effort
and skill to negotiate if without accident or mishap.
Often the drivers are tired at this stage and can lose
concentration at the very time when they need to be alert.
Marriage when the children have left home and have homes
of their own should be the most enjoyable time, but is
often a time of great vulnerability. Mortality is looming,
age is creeping up and concentration to keep focussed
is essential. There can be the danger of giving up so
the expectation of not failing needs to be re-inforced.
So the first piece of equipment needed for a successful
THE EXPECTATION NOT TO FAIL.