“What is the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your marriage and how did you do it?” This was the question posed to Keith and me during a recent interview.
Easy question to answer, right? Well, not for us. It usually causes an uncomfortable laughter because we know what the interviewer is looking for – and we don’t have it to give.
But the truth is, we’ve never had a challenge in our marriage that has felt… well…major.
Granted, infertility to many would be considered a major challenge. And going in for my third round of fertility treatments next week might seem like a major drag to some. But we don’t see it that way.
For us, we’re filled with gratitude that our insurance covers these procedures and look at our first childless decade together as an opportunity to grow closer as husband and wife.
And yes, there was a time when we ate chili for an entire month (yep, every day) and did other extreme things (Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, baby!) until we were able to pull ourselves out of a massive debt we’d created.
But just like the fertility issue, that never felt like a real obstacle.
It wasn’t until a similar question was posed during a talk I was giving last week that I had an aha moment about this issue. ”We hear alot that money problems is one of the top reasons for divorce. Can you explain why this adversely impacts some marriages and not others?”
In answering that question, I finally realized why Keith and I have such a hard time answering that “obstacle” question:
Have you ever been on an airplane going through major turbulence? The kind that feels like the plane is dropping several hundred feet at a time? On a recent flight, the plane was dropping at such steep rates that with each drop, almost every passenger on the flight gasped.
A young man, no older than thirty, sitting next to me was sweating so profusely he could have been mistaken for having just finished a Zumba class. With every drop, you could almost see his heart popping out of chest. I’m telling you, that young man thought he was about to die.
But then I turned around and looked at the flight attendants and it was as if they were on a completely different plane. “Trash anyone?” was their call down the middle of the aisle. ”Can I take that cup from you, sir?” was the flight attendant’s question to a man who was likely clutching his cup for dear life.
These flight attendants were utterly unfazed. Going through the exact same turbulences as the rest of us, and yet, it was as if they were flying through clear sunny skies. There, of course, is a simple reason for that. They knew the odds of a fatality happening on that plane was 1 in 10 million.
This is the difference between the couples that allow finances, infertility and other similar challenges to adversely impact their marriage and the ones that don’t. Those who look ahead to the future, team up and work to overcome life’s challenges -together- are like the flight attendants on that plane. They’re going through the same tumultuous air space as everyone else, but they remain focused on what they know to be true: They will make it through.
Every person on this planet goes through turbulent skies at some point. But if your union has love, respect, faith and trust, you can protect your marriage from the turbulence of life. By coming together and supporting one another, remembering those rocky skies are just for a moment, you can draw closer rather than be pushed apart.
Your love, just like that plane, is far more powerful than any turbulence you might endure.
It may not happen immediately, but eventually the wheels will touch down, passengers on the plane will erupt into applause, the pilot will come on the loudspeaker letting you know you’ve safely arrived, and the flight attendant will continue collecting the trash.
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
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