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Marriage: a Three-Legged Race.
When I was a child I remember picnics
where we ran the three-legged race. Two people had their middle
legs attached, and the objective was to run in unison with your
middle legs tied together, so that between the two of you the
couple had three legs. The race required coordination so the
couple ran together in harmony. It was not an easy task, but
eventually the couple learnt how to run together by coordinating
their bodies as one.
Marriage requires a similar skill. Marriage is a team effort,
where the two of you are stronger than each alone. A good marriage
can be defined as a union where two people are stronger as a
couple, than as two separate individuals. If however, the two
are divisive, and competitive with each other, you weaken the
team. And thus a poor marriage is where two are worse for being
a couple, than being a coordinated team.
The secret to running as a three-legged team is collaboration.
Being critical of your partner only slows the team down. It
is like your right hand hitting your left hand and pretending
your body is not hurt. When you attack your partner, you attack
yourself. If after running a three-legged race, you lose and
criticize your partner for not helping, you are guaranteeing
that the team will fail. Better to look at the problems that
caused you as a team to fail, than criticizing your partner
individually. In a three-legged race you either win together
or you lose together. So too in marriage. You either both succeed,
or you both fail. Blaming your partner for a marriage failure
is like the left leg criticizing the right leg for not winning
the race. It may make the left leg feel better, but it will
not remedy the failure.
Marriage is not for everyone. Some people prefer to be single
than to work together as a team. Unfortunately we as a society
have pathologies singleness. We assume single people are lonely,
unhappy and looking for a marital partner. This is simply immature,
excessively romantic and idealistic. I know many people who
are happier as an individual than as a couple, and assuming
this is unnatural for humans is ridiculous.
If you wish to be married, then you must work at becoming a
team. You must learn how to be a couple, as two people have
to learn how to run a three-legged race as one. The key to running
a three-legged race is to move your combined middle feet together
as a unit, not separately as an individual. This requires coordination,
a spirit of teamwork, and patience as you learn how to support
each other rather than criticize and tear each other down.All
team sports require the individuals give up most of their personal
ego for the benefit of the team. For example, on a football
team, it is imperative for a quarterback to be blocked by his
front line. Every successful quarterback always congratulates
his front line when they win, and when they lose they are very
discrete about criticizing in public their team members. Successful
football teams work together as a group. With group sport teams,
they all succeed or they all fail together.
Marriage is the same as team sports. Team is the essence of
marital success. The team cooperates, coordinates and collaborates.
In so doing they either succeed together or they fail in their
mission as a team.
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