All of us are running The Great Race of Life. We are chasing after meaning, purpose, fulfillment. We want to achieve success. We want to feel happy.
This is the prize-package for a life well-lived, we assume.
What we do as a result is try to create finish lines for ourselves. We try to convince our hearts and minds that we are almost done. The trials and effort is almost over. Reward is just around the bend. Happily ever after. It is the great lie of human existence.
One of the most prevalent finish lines we create for ourselves is one of romantic relationship. We think a spouse will “complete” us. Marriage will be our cure to loneliness, the magic elixir for our self-doubt and struggle with worth.
With all of these romantic hopes in our starry eyes, we don’t wait until the marriage to see ourselves at the finish line. We start imagining it after the first date. The first kiss. We see the finish line in sight and the easy (or at least easier) life is just around the bend.
Romance is Not The End
Every marriage (without exception) struggles when each of the participants realizes the wedding day was not the ultimate finish line. Those fuzzy, star-filled eyes start to come into focus real quick when you’re sharing a bathroom with someone.Relationships are meant for us to grow. To be better. But they are not the finish line. They are not meant to complete us or finalize the journey. The “happily-ever-after” narrative is pure fiction.
Most people lament this reality. And fight against it. We demand our spouse be the cure we hoped they’d be.
The truth is this: the fact that romance is not the finish line is a very good thing. The easy life we imagine does not merge well with the meaningful life we truly long for. Meaning is found through conflict. Intimacy is developed through overcoming challenge. Cloud Nine is not the utopia we imagine it to be – the inevitability of time turns every situation and circumstance into something mundane, eventually.
The true value of life is not avoiding storms but learning to dance in the rain. Or cry in the rain. Or wait through the rain. It is about doing life together, in all its complexities and difficulties.
The finish line of our race is not a job, geographical destination, or a relationship. There is no true finish line. Because the race is about becoming a runner, gathering endurance and enjoying the scenery. It is not about plopping down in relief when it is over. It is about running well, racing together. The closest thing we get to a finish line is a transformed perspective.