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Growing Past Barriers in Your Marriage
God made us to be growing and changing. But we are not always growing at the same rate. Sometimes we experience slow growth, and others times fast growth. A growth spurt is usually preceded by a period of rest and even complacency, followed by a period of difficulty and frustration, followed by a determination to choose faith over fear. When faith is excercised and the barrier is past, there is once again a period of rest.
The Sound Barrier
In 1947 Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. As pilots approached the speed of sound they experienced a barrier called a shock wave. When they hit the shock wave, their plane shook and they retreated. Many pilots died in crashes. But Yeager found that when he accelerated past the sound barrier the plane flew well. Before the barrier is reached, there is resistance. After the barrier is reached, there is peace.
There were planes which could break the sound barrier prior to Yeager. When these pilots went up and approached the speed of sound, the plane shook violently. The more the plane shook, the more frightened the pilot became. When a pilot would try to slow the plane down, often he would crash. The same thing happened to other pilots because they responded to the resistance with fear and backed off from their attempt to achieve a break through.
When Chuck Yeager attempted to break the sound barrier, all the same things happened. His plane shook violently and he became afraid. But, he responded differently to his circumstances. Instead of giving up and slowing down, he decided, “if I am going to die, I am going to go out in style.” Instead of slowing down, he sped up and the rest is history. It’s okay to be afraid, because everyone encounters fear. But what you do after that makes all the difference.
The Love Barrier
Thankfully God has provided a man and woman some “rocket fuel” to get their marriage off the ground. This fuel is potent stuff. I am speaking figuratively about the onboard hormones (and biochemicals) which drive mutual attraction. These are more than sufficient to bring about feelings of being “in love.” When two people are “in love” there is a sort of magical effortlessness to the relationship. It is this effortlessness that drives the two together.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending upon how you look at it, this state of effortlessness does not last forever. Eventually it runs it course and the same effortless effect is no longer present. This is when a marriage is most vulnerable to shakes and fears. Life and marriage are not without challenges. At this point there develops a fork in the road. How will the couple interpret this lack of feeling in love? Many couples will conclude that because they are no longer in love, there is no point in staying in the relationship. They fear their own lack of ability to produce effortless love. When love becomes work, they back away in fear.
It takes a certain amount of maturity to break this Love Barrier. Marriage is about hanging into there and pressing forward even in the midst of shakes and fears. Press on, pray, and persevere until you make your break through. You will need to overcome by expanding your horizon. Believe in faith there is something better ahead. If you don’t look out very far, then it is easy to make a hasty decision that looks good in the short term. A short term gain might reduce the immediate pressure, but it will mean the eventual crash of your marriage.
Once you’ve experienced moving past a barrier, you are forever changed. Your brain chemistry maps a new neurological path directly related to your new experience (of successfully breaking the barrier). The next time you are faced with the same barrier, it will be easier to push through. The same barrier will no longer be challenging to you. Enjoy this time of rest, because God is infinite and there are always new horizons to explore.
- What barriers are you facing in your life? In your marriage?
- What fears are preventing you from moving forward past the barriers and into doing what is right?
- Is there anything you need to strenghen your faith? Ask Jesus for it now. When there are strong shakes and fears, consider counseling to help you break the love barrier.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.