Whether you want to change your own world (i.e.be healthier, happier, wealthier, live longer, do more good) or the world around you (i.e. make a difference, lift -or even create- a life, contribute to the community, leave a legacy, even remove world poverty) one of the most effective ways to do that is actually just what our hearts want to do: strengthen (YOUR) marriage.
The list of benefits of marriage go on and on and on… and are listed in research articles and news posts all over the planet. Here are a couple of my recent favorites:
+ A 20 year study showing strong results that healthier and happier marriages make healthier and happier people from the journal of family life: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jomf.12025/abstract,
+ This article from the deseret news showing how research shows stable marriages create healthier, wealthier economies and a happier ‘state’:http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865639621/Marriage-rates-a-key-factor-in-a-states-economic-prosperity-new-report-says.html
I remember reading that people with good marriages are much healthier!- so much so that it may be of greater benefit to spend an hour a day on your marriage over spending an hour a day on exercise. What a wonderful thing if you do both!
That’s what Mike and I decided to do in early May. Mike had just run a half marathon with our twin 19 year old daughters and a friend from work. The younger children and I showed up at the finish line to congratulate them. Mike was feeling sooo great he said, “Anyone ready for a marathon?!”
Well, I was definitely not ready for a marathon myself, but after watching Mike train using his go-to power and the awesome GIPIS app (which made it doable, consistent and not a huge time commitment for him) it actually looked FUN. I decided I would like to try a half-marathon. Soon Mike was looking into it, and an awesome half marathon/marathon with his brother in Utah was an option. He invited me to the event knowing we could train over the summer and make it an anniversary trip to celebrate our 22 years together in the fall. Being a Rocky Mountain girl and loving our traditional hikes in the canyons of Utah in the fall, how could I refuse this run?
Mike and I did have fun training, Mike taking on the marathon and I the half. It took cooperation, some sacrifice, and definitely some effort to take the time to run (and still I really only made half my GIPIS workouts, but it worked!). When Isaac came home from his mission it was sooo much fun for him to join in with us. He and Mike especially enjoyed morning runs together – they even had the missionaries that are serving here join in their morning bursts!
The summer was beautiful, FULL, and fast. The highlight was our family reunions at the end of the season and the big plus? One was held at the canyon next door to our big canyon run so we both had a chance to make practice runs down the mountain. We were prepared!
Mike and I flew out together in September, my Mom so wonderfully and willingly, even eagerly, coming to be here for the children so we could enjoy this anniversary trip. (I SOOOOO want to be a Mom/Grandma like her!!!)
We arrived to a surprise for me! Mike had booked a beautiful place for us to RETREAT together. It was lovely, quiet, romantic and complete with sparkling grape juice on ice and cheesecake in the fridge!
We enjoyed a couple days together, though we couldn’t resist driving down to peek in on our son at college to see him, give a hug, and surprise help with his car (didn’t know he needed that til we got there on our spontaneous visit). And of course, part of that time, we had to hike. I LOVE hiking with Mike. It was a hike like this that had made me determine in our courtship that he was just the man for me.
The morning of the big race came soon. I was thrilled to have Isaac running the half marathon with me in the early morning! (Mike and his brother, Lyle, went further up the mountain to make the 26 miles back down again.) Toward the end of the race, when it was getting really hard, I looked ahead to see some bright shirts that read, “Run for our sons!” It gave me the energy I needed to keep going! And then toward the end I became almost certain the finish line would never come!! The two energetic girls I had kept my eye on to set my pace with had both stopped running and my phone had died also!! No music, no motivating numbers to read on my phone or show me how fast I was going, no inspiring role models to keep up to (most around me had started walking at this point but I was determined to run every step!), and I was sure the next stoplight was the end of the race – for 3 stoplights!!! I was understanding the term, ‘endure to the end’ better than I ever had before and felt maybe I could not, but then, just then I heard a huge, strong shout from the sidelines, “MOM! Way to go MOM!!!!! Whooo!!!!” Isaac. My son. And I knew I could do it.
And so I did. We all did!!! Mike and I and Isaac and his brother did our best times! It was an exhilarating, gorgeous, awesome run!!!!!
And now I can’t wait to find a great course to run in the spring. (Maybe a half marathon every spring and fall? We will see.)
As long as I have time for marriage, time WITH my husband and family, I can make it through any race I run!!
And… I can change the world.
What? Really? No way! Taking time to strengthen my marriage changes the world?
Why do we as humans tend to feel we have to do something exotic, extraordinary, never-thought-of-before, or even nearly-impossible to change the world for good? When really changing this world for good has everything to do with the choices we make and the actions we take in our most fundamental, simple, natural, human of all commitments, that precious, everyday, worth-preserving relationship called marriage and family. That amazingly incredible blessing the Lord gave us when He created Adam and Eve and gave Heavenly command that they should be one (Genesis 2) and continues on today and and promoting and promising life and hope and happiness for the people of this world into the future tomorrows. “Nevertheless, neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:11) It changes everything, even into the eternities.
For those of you not married yet, continue on in that great quest of becoming and finding your perfect match! It will change your life…. and uncountable others besides. Yes, that sacred institution that was started by God with Adam and Eve, husband and a wife connected as ONE, (Genesis 2) and continues today, driven on by that instinctual desire to find your ‘one and only’, your soulmate, your best friend above all others, and begin a life committed to each other forever, is, of all things, a phenomenally effective way to change your world and the world for good you know. For those of you not married now, do all you can to strengthen the world through supporting and strengthening others’ marriages and even the very idea of marriage!
For those of you that are married, do everything you can to keep your marriage first priority in your life because it is truly the thing that will change your life, your child’s life, your community’s life, even change your state, country and the world more effectively than anything else you can do.
Celebrate and take time for marriage today!!!! It will change your world!
from the Hoffman Home
P.S. Did you know strengthening your marriage can even strengthen your very bones?!! I remember my husband sharing with me through medical school that they had found that dogs who are loved and well taken care of in a family have pink marrow in their bones. Healthy!! But dogs who were neglected or abused had dry, brittle bones. That supports this scripture in Proverbs 12:4: “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.” Strengthen your marriage today!!!