I love the Olympics. Over the years, I’ve watched more hours of Olympics than I would like to admit. During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, I actually mowed the Olympic Rings into the grass on my front lawn! I cut the grass so short you could see the rings for almost two months afterward! I am a true fan! If that were not enough, I have also become somewhat of an expert in a number of Olympic events, even though I have not actually attempted any of these events. I watch ice skating and complain about the skater’s lack of artistry or how slow she made her third rotation in the air. “No wonder she didn’t stick her landing!” I watch snowboarding and complain about how heavy the boarder’s back foot was during his landing. “What an unnecessary spray of snow!” I watch bobsledding and complain about how slow the team made its start. “You’ve been in that sled before; just get in,” I yell at the TV! What in the world has happened to me? How did I become such an expert in only two short weeks? Important sidebar: I watched curling for the first time this year. We won a medal, but I am still confused by this event. So, I will leave it to the athletes.
Every Olympics I have the same thought, “We need an average Joe!” If I were in charge, I would insist that we start each event with a random drawing from the spectator seating. “Would the person sitting in Section F, Row 16, Seat 7 please report to the starting line?!” Then we would all watch as the “average Joe,” someone just like you and I, attempt the event. It would be comical, and humbling. And, I have a feeling the athletes would love this too! If the Olympics were to do this, we would have less snarky commentary, less armchair quarterbacking and instantly more respect for the God-given talent in each competitor. Yes, we would see some broken bones, but also some great slapstick humor … and not just on the hockey ice! Now there might be, however, one potential down side to all this – we might find a lot less people in the stands 😊 … especially for the ski jump competition. Holy Moly, that event is intense!
I’ve shared my idea with the Olympic Committee; keep your eyes tuned to 2022!
I believe that armchair quarterbacking can happen in marriage too. Think about how many times you have left a party and remarked, “I’m glad I’m not married to that guy!” Or, “That couple needs to work on their communication skills!” It’s so easy to point out what is wrong in someone else’s marriage, even when you haven’t spent one minute in it. Huh?
I love reality TV, and when marriage is the subject, I’m always interested! TRADING SPOUSES was just such a show a few years ago …well, maybe a decade ago … that explored this very thing. The show took two couples of different socio-economic statuses/lifestyles, each having issues, and switched the wives. The thought was that each person, husband and wife alike, would get a close look into someone else’s world, marriage and family. For a few weeks, the wives would live in the other family’s home and completely join in that family’s world. Then after much drama, tears and a few fights, they wives would return to their real husbands and families. Each family received some cash. The wife of the one family got to decide how the other family was to spend their money, and vice versa. If I remember correctly, the wife of the one family would write a letter to the wife of the “other” family and encourage her about how to spend her money and how to improve her marriage and family life. This was usually insightful, and often touching! I am not sure if the intent of the show was to fix marital problems, but often that is what happened. Often, the problems one wife had with her husband, the other “temp” wife had as well. And, revelation for the husbands often came from the words of the “temp” wife. Also, many times the spouses came to realize just how good they really had it in their own marriage! You know the old phase, “The grass is not always greener!” Anyway, the bottom line was always the same: No marriage is perfect; even if that marriage takes place in a bigger house, with more money, with more well-behaved kids and with a good ol’ average JOE or JANE!
We are all imperfect people who need Jesus!
ALLOW GOD’S SPIRIT TO USE YOUR MARRIAGE FOR YOUR BENEFIT. If we are honest, we will admit that when we were dating our intended, we knew what was wrong with every marriage that crossed our path. If you are like me, you vowed not to be like “those” people, only to find out that after you said your “I do’s,” you were “those” people! Marriage is tough, and it will reveal ugly things about your heart. This is one of those ways that our marriage is a reflection of Christ and His relationship with His church – the glory of Jesus shines a light on the ugly part of us, His bride. This is not just as a matter of principle, but rather an order with which to sanctify us! This is God’s intent for your marriage. If you would but just let Him, God will use your union with your imperfect partner for your own eternal good!
STOP COMPARING. Comparison in marriage is a killer. I often hear women and men compare their spouses to others in their church. “If my husband led our family like ‘Mr. Perfect’ in my Sunday School class, I’d be a lot happier.” Dangerous ground! Only one person who walked on this earth is worth imitating, and that is Jesus (Ephesians 5:1-2). Anyway, wishing change in your spouse is futile. The only way your marriage is going to change is if you dedicate yourself to be the one who becomes CHANGED! Spend time on your knees in prayer and ask God to illuminate your sin so that you can confess and move on in forgiveness and with a changed heart. Every time marital discord raises its ugly head, our first response should be to look at our self in the Gospel mirror – to see what part of us does not reflect Christ so that we can act accordingly.
BE PATIENT WITH YOUR AVERAGE JOE/JANE. There is some truth in another old phrase, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This is counter-modern culture. I know. But though we like instant gratification, often the best things take time. Embrace the heart of the Olympic athlete who never loses hope for a medal at the Olympics. They didn’t quit when they had bumps and bruises, when things looked tough and when they lost race after race. They kept persevering. So, be patient with your spouse, love your spouse well, chase after Jesus, sincerely desire to grow in your faith, and watch how your marriage is impacted! On earth, you may not get a GOLD MEDAL, but you can yet get the greatest prize in a Godly marriage!
Thank you for reading each week! Remember, God is your source and the answer to every marital issue. Stay washed in His Word!
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.