Once Upon A True Time two delightfully naive, bright-eyed sweethearts said “Yes!” to spending a lifetime, all eternity, and beyond together. Suddenly whisked away, they found themselves taking the wildest ride they didn’t know they’d signed up for!
The Marriage Coaster
They didn’t know it, but they soon discovered the marriage coaster was a thrilling, terrifying, joyful, tearful, exhausting, energizing, agonizing, enlightening, most challenging, sometimes hilarious and always surprising ride. The Sweethearts learned it required daily emotional, mental, physical and spiritual strength – with dual commitment – to sustain and navigate the coaster. It was fun – but, not always. It quickly dispelled Disney’s ‘happily ever after’ myth.
Out of Service
From time to time, the coaster had to pull into a weigh station for repairs. The passengers reassessed their experience and took stock of aches, pains, injuries, illness, and fears. The journey was challenging, and the struggles were real. They sought experienced travelers for advice, took classes, hired professionals to educate and counsel them on how to use each other’s gifts to repair and strengthen their unique marriage.
Very fragile systems are in place, needing constant care. There was danger ignoring little warning signs. It was a risky option to delay making repairs or chose not to invest in improvements. One or both might refuse or be incapable of trying anymore. In order to operate, the marriage coaster relied on both members working together; thinking creatively, finding solutions, investing time, giving all they had, and facing forward. This is what the nuts and bolts of True Love look like.
From time to time on the journey, they saw marriage coasters experiencing crises, falling into disrepair, or stuck on the track – unable to move forward. This made the sweethearts very sad. They reached out to help whenever they could. They understood, because – like most – they had been in crises before. Oh, how they wanted to fix every problem and make every coaster run smoothly and joyful! Ultimately, each marriage can only be saved from within.
Even the happiest, most beautiful, beloved marriage coasters can break down. Nothing can ever be taken for granted on this complex and precious ride.
For some, discontinuing the coaster becomes the only option. But, these two chose to stay a little longer and work a little harder together repairing the cracks that naturally happen to everyone taking this kind of wild ride. They acknowledged their weakness and limitations, focusing on the strengths. They readjusted their seatbelts. They learned by trial and error how to navigate the twists and turns, how to talk to each other about their fears, how to listen without judgment, how to respond to each other’s needs, how to manage anger and disappointment, and just be a little kinder.
They held on tighter, growing to trust and depend on one another.
Baby On Board
Just when things started to get comfortable, the sweethearts welcomed children into their marriage coaster and it became a family ride! This change added all kind of new thrills and chills! The coaster was moved onto an entirely new, uncharted set of tracks! The pace became much more rapid than ever before. Sometimes, it felt frantic, outright chaotic! There were sudden lurches, stomach-churning loop-de-loops, alarming dangers, emotional acrobatics – all requiring death-defying feats of parental courage and continual prayer.
Once in a while, there were even some glorious moments of calm.
The children provided a never-ending adventure but placed unanticipated demands on the sweetheart’s partnership. The marriage was being tested to its limits. More rest stops and repairs were required.
There was copious help from family, friends, neighbors, and community. There was regular maintenance from consulted and hired professionals. There was more prayer than the sweethearts had ever said before – but together they navigated through the sleepless loops of the baby days, endured the steep climb of the school years, plunged into the long tunnel of teenage terror, and emerged into the next set of ups and downs as the children each prepared to move out of the family coaster car, and venture down their own tracks.
Meanwhile, the sweethearts continued to ride down their own endless track.
The Sweet Spot
At some point, the sweethearts made a marvelous discovery. Each time they successfully navigated through a particularly treacherous passage together, their marriage coaster became stronger and more capable to handle the next challenge.
Slowly but surely as years and distance rolled by, the youthful glow gave way to “character lines”. Perfectionism evolved into perseverance. Folly settled into Wisdom. Faith replaced Fear.
The sweetheart’s marriage coaster is considered “retro” now. Its track is “vintage”. There are much newer, shinier models out there, but neither are interested. There’s comfort in the relaxed seating, and steadiness in the well-oiled gears they’ve invested in hour by hour, day after day. 🎢🎡🎪
Twenty-nine Years Later…
I’m so happy to say I was that girl, and he was that boy. Today, we have been riding our wild marriage coaster for the past 10,596 days (to be exact). That’s a lot of days! What a marvelous miracle.
We’ve been blessed to somehow hang on tight to each other through all the twists & turns, and keep riding through scary & stormy weather together.
Being “us” is still a work in progress and a gift from God. 💏
Thank you, to my dear sweetheart for always staying by my side! Here’s to the next 29 years! Off we go with hardly a moment to pause and look back – flying down yet another track on our marriage coaster!
But wait… there’s something brand new waiting just around the corner. In about 6 months, we are getting upgraded to ride the “Grandma & Grandpa” train! I have no idea what’s up ahead – but, I do know it will be another wild and wonderful adventure! 😀