Your Marriage is a Blind Wrestler
By Janel Breitenstein
Marshall, a friend of mine, is 6’3″. In high school, he was upwards of 190 pounds. He was a big dude.
Maybe that’s why I was surprised at his most formidable wrestling opponents in those years: The team from the school for the blind.
One of them was the state champ during Marshall’s years in competition. At the time, their school offered no sports other than swimming, so they competed year-round.
Perhaps part of their success on the mat was the blind wrestlers’ exaggerated sense of touch.
The Scientific American reports the brain actually rewires itself to boost the other senses: “If one sense is lost, the areas of the brain normally devoted to handling that sensory information do not go unused—they get rewired and put to work processing other senses.”*
What if our marriages, too, are rewired in struggle?
Could a chronic lack of something or encountering obstacles and pain cause other senses, like faith and gratitude and perseverance, to kick into high gear?
I think of a professor in college, whose wife had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The couple’s affection and care for one another were radiant, inspiring all of us to want that kind of marriage.
That couple who labored under the burden of one spouse’s depression? They have a joy all their own, a quiet devotion. A heightened sense of God.
This doesn’t mean, in that pain that doubles us over, that the reasons are easy, trite, or even understandable. But perhaps they’re bigger and more powerful than we are.
Someone I loved once gave me a box of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.
-Mary Oliver, “Thirst”
The good stuff: Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
Action points: What’s a perpetual weakness or difficulty your marriage faces? How do you see God creating something formidable and beautiful through your pain?
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