My sweet baby girl,
It is my hope that one day (a long time from now), a man will sit across from you with a beautiful ring, and ask you to be his wife. Sweetheart, please do me a favor. Stare into his eyes for a few moments and imagine yourself running a marathon with this man.
Will he push you to be a better version of yourself? Help you up if you slip and fall down? Think to carry enough water to share if you run short? Will you laugh together along the route? Is he strong enough to take the lead if you lose your way?
In young love, it can be hard to see the whole race. The wall when you run short on energy, the hills, the curves, and the sore muscles. It’s fun to admire the diamond as it twinkles in the sun, select the wedding dress of your childhood dreams, plan the parties, and open the gifts at the shower. I know it’s even harder to imagine, but one day that lovely dress may not fit. Will he still think the girl is as beautiful as today? The ring may not slide over your knuckle after that second baby, will he still honor the promises it represents? Your little boy may break your beautiful porcelain making invisible ink, the spoons will accidentally get tossed with the trash, and the little apartment you are planning to decorate will become a distant memory. Will you both grow together and work to keep similar interests? You will lose loved ones, watch your children grow and leave home, change jobs, homes, maybe even states. You will change until some days you don’t quite recognize yourself. Will he still find time to surprise you, make you feel precious and special? Will your goals and achievements become his? Will his ambitions become yours?
Outlast the shower gifts, look forward to life together after the children are grown, build something together, and be the kind of running partner you would want by your side. Sometimes love isn’t dressing up and going to a fancy restaurant. Sometimes it’s circling the park on a bike while pulling the kids in a trailer, so he can check on you while you train for a goal of yours. It’s standing on the side of the road with signs cheering you to finish your race. Remember my precious one – the most important part – he’s running the race too, so support him. Cheer for him, inspire him, honor your promises to him and make him feel cherished.
That’s what marriage is. A marathon. Others will line up to cheer you on and there may even be a few wise coaches to seek advice from. In the end, you are running a marathon with this man. God willing, as you near the finish line, you will still have each other – along with amazing memories of the journey.
I ran my first half marathon yesterday. Not everyone understood my goal, or the commitment it took from my family to achieve it. Man rocked it. He was all in on the “mom support team” from day one. He was there on the long runs every weekend, at the finish line to catch a pic of me crossing, and all the little hills in between. I’m so grateful to him for being my main supporter. He made a fuss and celebrated my goal with the same enthusiasm he would celebrate one of his own. He’s the best kind of running buddy a girl could ask for.