The Adventure of Marriage

mount-everest

I’ve always been fascinated with Everest.

I’ve read books, watched documentaries, and followed with intrigue the stories of brave men and women who have climbed to the top of the world. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the chance (or have it in me) to summit Everest, but one of my life’s ambitions is to hike to Base Camp.

Just to be there and feel the energy of the place. To wait with excitement and anticipation as the weather window opens up and teams prepare to climb. To hear the hiss and crackle of radios as crews and family members listen with baited-breath to their loved ones thousands of feet above them. To celebrate with those lucky few who find success.

And in actual fact, the success of the climb is directly determined by the status of things at Base Camp. An average climber spends only 2 weeks climbing Everest, but at least 3 months at Base Camp preparing and acclimatizing. Without good ground support and adequate supplies, your climb will be doomed before you even start.

I think marriage is a bit like Base Camp.

What I mean is that every husband and wife has their own individual dreams and ambitions – their own mountains to climb and peaks to summit. And that’s important in a marriage. In fact, recent studies have shown that couples who have their own sense of purpose and passion outside of the home are more likely to be happy. BUT, in order for each person to achieve their summits, you’ve got to make sure things back at Base Camp are in order.

Some people think marriage stops you from achieving your dreams. That once you’re married, it’s all over. Give up your aspirations. Compromise your calling. In fact, the exact opposite is true.

Marriage doesn’t stop you from climbing your mountains, it enables you to! In a healthy marriage, your partner is your greatest fan, the one who encourages you to fulfill your dreams and who helps you to become the person you were made to be.

Of course, there are two extremes we tend to fall into here.

On the one hand I have seen marriages where couples spend all their time chasing after their own selfish ambitions, and not nearly enough time looking after things at home. We throw ourselves into work, chasing after our career ambitions at the expense of family. We find ultimate purpose and identity in “what we do” rather than “who we are” and lose ourselves seeking after false peaks. Base Camp falls into ruin, the relationship becomes disconnected and distant, and without that support, we find ourselves unable to complete any climb, let alone our “Everest”.

Stuck on the side of a mountain without any support.

On the other hand I have seen marriages where couples are so stuck in their comfort zones that they have made Base Camp the goal! Afraid to take risks, or under the false impression that “now that we are married we must do everything together”, individual dreams and goals are discarded, forgotten, or “put off”. A feeling of resentment and boredom creeps into the marriage and eventually we start to take it out on each other. We feel as if something has been stolen from us, and we forget that marriage was never meant to be the end target, but rather the launching platform. Of course, there is always a tension and a balance. And practically, in order to do a 2 week climb, we still need 3 months at Base Camp.

But my challenge to married couples out there is to understand and support your partner’s goals. To cheer them on. To be their biggest fans. To let them go if that’s what is needed.

And not to give up on your own dreams.

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27 Comments on “The Adventure of Marriage

  1. Fantastic Post! Marriage is a partnership working together. There are seasons where you rally around the husband’s dreams and desires, and vis versa. Hopefully we have chosen our spouse for reasons and ways they are not like us…things that can strengthen our weaknesses. Of course that takes trust and love…but this is marriage we are talking about

    THANK you for posting about marriage in a positive way. The way it was intended to be

    • Its a pleasure, and i totally agree with you about SEASONS. There are different times throughout your marriage where one may need more support or encouragement and vice versa. The point is to work as a team and spur each other on to good things… Thanks for reading and commenting

  2. I agree with your major points. That marriage should be not the ending target but a launching platform. But, this doesn’t mean that you are free to do everything you want to do just like a single person, which I believe you pointed out that marriage needs balance. But I really like you comparing marriage to a camp base which I believe is really true, that for us to be a able to have a 2-week climb we need a 3 or more months in camp base for preparation. Marriage does not limit us but rather strengthen us to be the man that God wants us to be. Thank you for this.

  3. Kudos for your post! Yeah lots of people think its the end of their dreams. But truly if you have a partner that is supportive, you probably can achieve more than what you can do without the support.
    Marriage is not about sacrifises but compromises which you can always make in a positive way inorder for both of you to achieve your dreams!!!

  4. great post… thanks.
    I agree that the marriage is basically being the best fan and the best support; that make me re-think why a gay marriage is being refused in most of the world. Why the best fan and the best support should be from the opposite sex?
    Thanks for this thought?

  5. As a husband, I know that my wife buying into my dreams and supporting me is immensely encouraging and needed. Her lack of support has such a potential to tear me down, but its presence can inspire me so incredibly. I’m thankful for a supportive wife.
    But it’s also convicting to wonder: how am I supporting the dreams of my spouse? It’s so easy to give lip service. But am I willing to go on the climb with her or just wish her well while I stay in my own little world?

  6. All I would say that life is not tied with an arithmetic formula. The adventure of marriage is full of surprises. It is a working relationship with two individuals and follows a learning curve throught your married life.
    thanks for a stirr in the thoughts

  7. Great thoughts. I believe that this is the truth. At the moment though I am not married. I have no idea what it is supposed to look like but I know that through people who have done marriage well, this blog seems to sum up what each healthy spouse I’ve met wants for their partner. A great article indeed. Sharing this with my friends.
    Daren

  8. The question is “Out of 2 who love, does 1 have to sink for the other to rise, in pursuit of their dreams?”, You have phrased the answer so well in few words out here… i am attempting to write a book on the same.

  9. Another great blog Tom. I agree that loosing your own identity & your own dreams can lead to resentment and once that happens you find it hard to see the peak of Everest, let alone climb it because you become the judge and jury and decide in your own mind what is achievable and what is not.

  10. I love this post. I’m tired of hearing people say marriage ends your freedom. It’s the opposite, when the marriage is healthy. The only limit to my freedom is my love for my husband: I avoid doing something that could hurt him, and spend a lot of time and effort on his happiness.

    I’ve been happier, more productive and prosperous married than single. I’ve started more projects, worked better, and achieved more dreams. I’ve met more people, carved deeper friendships and I’ve also found the sense of belonging I lost when my parents divorced. My marriage is an important part of my life, not all of it. My home is my sacred place, where I gather strenght to become the person I’m destined to be.

  11. This is awesome! I am Engaged and so looking forward to being Married next year April..I am certainly my Fiance’s biggest Fan already and as my hubby.. well let’s just say an even bigger fan will emerge! We have always supported eachothers aspirations and dreams throughout our relationship & have certainly gone through huge hurdles in the nearly 5 yrs together and just seem to have grown even stronger since this magical engagement so I can only imagine as husband and wife what great things are around the corner for us!

  12. Agreed Tom ! Loved “launching platform”, it is indeed that. It takes a lot of understanding to be supportive spouse.I am so proud to have a husband like that.Blessed! Thank you for this post, I was getting too comfortable thinking marriage is the “target”…..thanks!

  13. I could not agree with you more. My fiancé works part time while I work full time and attend University of Nevada Reno’s college of business full time. She is my base camp, I only hope that I will find a job after school that allows me to be hers!

  14. Base camp should be the safe place from which you go forward. You need to secure your safe place with purpose and love as life has a lot to throw at you. Great read.

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