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Marriage is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
The Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC during the first Persian invasion. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, Greece and the Persian army under the Persian king Darius. The legendary run of the Greek soldier Pheidippides, a messenger from the Battle of Marathon to Athens, is the basis of the modern marathon, which is held in cities around the world, involving thousands of runners.
A marathon is a long-distance, road race with an official distance of 26 7/32 miles, requiring great strength and endurance. A sprint, on the other hand, is a short distance run that requires a burst of energy to run at full speed. Marriage is a marathon, not a sprint.
From the website Marathon Rookie, I found the Top 10 Rookie Mistakes for Newbie Marathon Runners, which also apply to marriage. They are: injury, hydration, lack of knowledge, starting too fast, wrong goal, motivation, lack of confidence, lack of support and underestimating stretching. Let’s look at each of these why marriages often suffer and fail.
1. Injury. A couple comes into marriage carrying emotional and spiritual baggage and often many wounds. MarathonRookie.com says that many novice runners “notice pain in their feet or knees and ignore it. They keep running and BAM, they hit them. It’s done. Game over. Be aware of the warning signs and how to treat them.” “
If one person in the marriage is injured, the health of the married couple is also affected. We must realize that only God can heal us and make us whole – not our spouse. Men love to fix things, but they can’t fix their wives. Vice versa for wives who try to change, reform or improve their husbands.
Jesus is the healer of the wounded heart. Sometimes healing from deep traumas such as parental rejection, abandonment, childhood abuse, dysfunctional relationships in adulthood, abortion, drug, alcohol or pornography, and gambling addictions may require professional counseling, spiritual deliverance, and/or pastoral responsibility.
Finally when we seek the face of God, study and obey His word, we will receive our healing. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent his word and healed them and delivered them from their destruction.”
2. Hydration. MarathonRookie.com states that runners become dehydrated because they underestimate how much water their bodies need during training. Married couples do not realize how much they need the “living water” of Jesus daily to sustain their marriage. In John 4:10 (NKJV), Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who says to you, ‘Drink from me. ,’ you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.
3. Lack of knowledge. When you’re dating, let’s face it, your fiancé has no idea what he’s really getting into! He doesn’t know that you’re a clean freak, hate to cook, and aren’t a morning person. After all, you go on weekend dates to a Japanese or Italian restaurant, where they cook delicious food, wash the dishes, and after discussing it at his house until midnight, you go home and crash – and then sleep. In the morning!
Couples may see things while dating that are relevant to them, but they usually don’t with their “love blinders” on. Their focus is on how wonderful this person is and how they will be happy for the rest of their lives. A longer dating period, asking probing questions and paying attention to small details, will help you get to know your fiancé better – and you’ll have fewer unpleasant “surprises”, like him being “confused” or her new shoe addiction – ” After saying “I do”.
4. Starting too fast. MarathonRookie.com says that novice runners tend to run more miles than scheduled training. “If you feel really strong when you start training and want to run more, please resist the temptation. By going extra miles, your chances of injury increase significantly.”
Jumping into a relationship too quickly can also increase your chances of getting hurt. This is especially true in relationships where there is a lot of intense chemistry. Lust you will not see for years; Commitment and love will happen! Take it slow and get to know this person before the wedding day!
5. Wrong training program. In Luke 6:47-49 (NKJV), the story of the man who built his house on the foundation of the rock and stood it in a fierce storm is a perfect picture of a good marriage that will endure. Married couples will face many storms throughout the years, and building their marriage on the principles of God’s Word will get them through these storms.
Some couples have had the wrong “training program”, in which they have never been taught the truth of God’s Word and have no relationship with Jesus Christ. MarathonRunner.com says that some runners choose a program that is harder than they can handle and quit. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing.” We need God’s help with our marriage problems. All we have to do is come to Him in humble faith and He will give us all that we need.
6. Wrong goal. Some runners focus on finishing the marathon quickly. This is the wrong goal and increases the chance of injury and non-completion. The goal of a marathon for a beginner should be simply to finish. We should try our best to prevent divorce, this should also be our goal in marriage. Long-term love, mutual respect, commitment, affection, and open and honest communication are essential to making a marriage work over the long haul. A great sense of humor helps too!
Some people get married with the goal of making the other person happy and fulfilling it. Only God can fill and complete us. We should set aside unrealistic expectations of our husband or wife and not put such pressure on them.
We may also have other goals that are selfish in nature, such as our own career or business success, to the detriment of marriage and family – ambitiously spending all our time on personal projects to “get ahead” of those we love. Balance is the key. Spending time with your spouse lets them know you love and enjoy them.
7. Motivation. Just as bad weather, injury, illness, or work can prevent him from running and cause him to lose motivation to keep going, problems arise in marriage that cause trouble for a husband or wife. They lose motivation to continue the marriage. Financial stress, demands from children, relatives and friends, intruders, pressure at work, an abusive spouse, infidelity or pornography, addictions, fatigue, boredom can all force a spouse to want out of a marriage. Keep an eye on the goal; To finish strong. Never give up!
8. Lack of faith. In Mark 6:5-6, unbelief hindered God’s purposes. Today people usually give up very easily and quickly and file for divorce. “Now he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on some sick people and healed them. 6 And he was astonished at their unbelief. Then he went about teaching from village to village.”
MarathonRookie.Com says that novice runners begin training and find it difficult to complete their first five-mile run. After that, he thought he could never do a marathon and gave up. “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26, NKJV) We must believe and believe that God will heal our marriages.
9. Lack of support. The world is all too eager to tell you that getting married is too hard and that getting divorced (for your sake, your kids’ sake, your career’s sake, your sanity, or checking account) is far better. Many married couples lack support from family, friends, colleagues and even professional counselors and spiritual advisors to make their marriages successful.
If you are consulting a professional counselor who is telling you to divorce your spouse for any reason other than infidelity, spousal or child abuse or neglect, RUN! Sometimes a couple has to struggle with people who criticize their marriage or give ungodly advice to one or both of them. You may have to cut contact with them for a season or forever. Your marriage is your most important priority, second only to God.
When you get married, the world goes away. Family goes, society goes. Society goes, state goes. The state goes, the nation goes. As the nation goes, the world goes! Successful marriages have far-reaching consequences!
God told Abraham that he and his descendants, all future generations, would be blessed forever! Because of Abraham and Sarah’s faith and obedience to God, and their committed marriage, their children and all future generations were blessed!
Don’t you think there must have been some strain in their marriage when Abraham slept with Sarah’s handmaid after she was barren and she became pregnant by Ishmael? Yet Sarah remained despite her great pain and emptiness…and God rewarded her with her own son, Isaac, whose name means “laughter.”
10. Stretching. Beginner runners often underestimate the importance of stretching, which can help them feel less sore, reduce their risk of injury, and give them more flexibility and longer strides. Extend your arms to Jesus and to your husband or wife. Go all out in your love and devotion. Bend, cooperate, be understanding, show mercy and forgive. This will help your marriage survive.
You can’t meet your partner half way or more by insisting that you are always right, don’t be so rigid and set in your ways. Lay down your life for the sake of your marriage. In your marriage you will learn that “stretching” in trust and love will enhance your marriage and create more warmth, affection, respect and passion in your marriage.
A sprint may get you to the finish line faster, but a marathon has incredible rewards. Go for gold in marriage. Run a marathon and win!
“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. She knows she must outrun the fastest lion or she will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. She knows she must outrun the slowest gazelle or she will starve.” . . . It doesn’t matter if you’re a lion or a gazelle—you better run when the sun comes up.” – Unknown
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