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© Lifemates 2009

Equipping to succeed

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 stand it.

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.

Stage 1

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 absoluteBathurst circuitly 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 friend.

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 failure.

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 there.
To build requires intentional effort, making the time to invest in the relationship without the expectation of failing.

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 marriage is

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