When I was a kid, we had an old electric train that had been passed down through a few generations. In the winter, when we were stuck inside, we’d pull it out and put it together. The metal tracks came in sections that connected together with an electric current running through them that ran the engine. When the rails were connected correctly and the engine’s wheels touching the tracks, it would come to life with a rhythmic chug, a light in the headlamp and a whistle. But inevitably, it would jump the tracks and we’d have a crash. And we’d usually find the same cause everytime – a track was bent.
With trains, the rails determine where you are going. They have to be pointed in the right direction and they have to be running perfectly parallel. If one is off just a little, the train is derailed causing a catastrophe. When you think of your marriage team, the rails are your purpose. If one of your purposes is to raise happy children and the other’s is to grow the church, you aren’theaded in the same direction. Does this mean that your current assignments, or how you are accomplishing your purpose, should be the same? Of course not. But if you have a unified purpose, you can more easily see how each of your roles fits into God’s plan to accomplish it through you.
Railroad ties are what keep the rails running parallel, in the same direction. When we think of our marriages, they are the activities and conversations we have that tie us together. Couples that have as many ties as possible continue to run parallel even after years of ministry. When couples don’t have enough ties in place, when one starts to change course or “grow in another direction” they drift apart and end up going to different places.
During our Alongside Cohort conversations, we dig into what those ties are that keep us running together. We realized that we need ties in all of the areas of our marriages: the physical, intellectual, social, spiritual, and emotional. But that it takes intentionality to figure out good ties in some of those areas that don’t come naturally.
In this season, it is tempting to coast, to make withdrawls on the investments we’ve made in the past. But this season is lasting longer than anyone anticipated. So, let’s take a baby step of putting something back in the tank. My husband, Craig, has a saying (he has many, actually), “Most of us are just one hard conversation away from a breakthrough.” Talking about how you are building ties that tether you together doesn’t have to be a hard conversation, but it might start out a little uncomfortably.
Here are some good questions that helped Craig and I get started.
Key Conversation Questions:
Know that we are praying for you and for those conversations!