Whoever knew that three pieces of rock climbing equipment would mean so much to a marriage? One of our tenets at Rock Your Marriage is that a couple needs to be healthy and strong themselves before they can truly have a positive impact on other couples or their community at large. To promote this I have a few lessons for your marriage, taken from a recent couples climbing experience.
Every time I take a couple out on an experience, I am amazed at all that occurs within a relatively short time frame (approximately 2.5 hrs.). Recently, while taking two different couples out on a climbing experience, all these analogies started running through my mind. As I saw the impact these analogies had on these couples and within my own marriage, I knew I had to share them with you.
#1: The rope is probably the most important piece of equipment we take with us when rock climbing. The rope holds you when you fall. The rope gives you a sense of safety and trust, so you can bravely attempt to climb as high as possible. If your partner allows slack in the rope, your sense of safety and trust decreases, and if you fall, you would fall further than normal. Lastly, the rope is the strongest connection between you and the person belaying you (i.e. your spouse). This brings up one other important point. The rope is practically worthless without someone on the other end holding it.
So what does the rope have to do with marriage? Everything, because the rope is commitment. Marital commitment is what holds you and your spouse up when one or both of you fall. If one of you makes a mistake, your commitment leads you to seek reconciliation; your commitment helps you to find forgiveness. It is your commitment that keeps you together in the most challenging and painful of times. If there is slack in your commitment, your sense of safety and trust decreases, and this will lead to dissension, resentment, and a lack of communication. Also, if there is slack in your commitment, when you or your spouse falls, you will fall a lot further than normal. Whenever you are not tight and close to one another, neither of you are there to pick the other up quickly. Therefore, today recommit yourself to your spouse. Tell him or her how you are committed to your marriage for life. Leave no room for discussion, and take the “D” word out of your vocabulary.
#2: The harness is the next most important piece of equipment needed for rock climbing. The harness bring all the pieces of equipment together, flowing in harmony. It connects you to the rope and the rope to your belayer. Without this connection you will not be able to climb very high, nor will you be able to be assisted or held by your partner if you were to fall. Why? Because there is no connection between the two of you.
What is the harness representing? The harness is marital communication. To flow together as husband and wife, you must communicate to one another. When rock climbing, you and your partner must constantly communicate. You need to let one another know your climbing path and the best way to get there. Also, you should inform each other about your feelings and state of mind in order to help one another keep the other safe. In marriage, you and your spouse should be communicating in much the same way as well as striving to keep a sense of safety in your relationship. Tell each other your dreams and goals and discuss the best way to reach them. Share your thoughts, feelings, and fears with one another. In climbing, we go by the phrase, “more communication is better,” and “clarification is key.” Utilize these concepts in marriage. Always err on the side of too much communication, and clarify everything because as you know men and women often have very different perspectives. Marital communication is vital.
#3: Rock climbing shoes (and the hand chalk for that matter) make the difference between great climbing and average climbing. Yes, without climbing shoes or chalk, you may be able to make it up a few easy routes, but you will never be able to make it up the most difficult of routes. See, the climbing shoes and chalk help you stick to the rock, so you can climb up surfaces that almost look impossible. To make it up challenging climbs and be a truly successful climber, you must use climbing shoes and chalk.
The climbing shoes and chalk represent marital intimacy. Sure, with commitment and communication, you and your spouse may be able to stand the test of time and grow old together. No, I’m not nullifying this accomplishment; I’m just saying that you are missing out on a ton if this is all you have. Intimacy takes you to the next level in marriage just like climbing shoes and chalk do in rock climbing because these pieces of equipment stick you to the rock like you wouldn’t believe. Intimacy is the glue that sticks you and your spouse together on the toughest of life’s routes. A successful marriage is characterized by intimacy, and with intimacy you and your spouse will climb higher than you every thought possible!
When it’s all said and done, don’t ever leave slack in the rope of commitment; make sure you always put on the harness of communication; and together climb high with the shoes of intimacy. There are many unknown and difficult routes in marriage, so utilize every piece of equipment you have!