Ahh, the log ride…
One of the simple rides you can find at most theme parks. We have a log ride at our nearby theme park, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. I rather enjoy this ride. You get to snuggle in close with your spouse and glide leisurely and gently through the quiet trees. There is a little bit of darkness as we enter a tunnel, but we can hold tighter to each other as we see the light at the end.
This is where things get a little crazy.
The vessel we’re in hits a bump, jarring us both. Then it begins to work its way up… up… up… We’re both a little nervous with anticipation as we are taken to the top. We both feel a little helpless, not to mention trapped! There is only one way out now. Over the top of the steep hill, our boat plunges nearly straight downward until we come crashing into a pool of water. It washes over us, soaking us through. We spend the next few minutes recovering from our trip before we exit the boat, dripping wet.
I think of this log ride a lot like marriages. There are couples who embark on the log ride together, only to realize that they don’t enjoy it so much. What is meant to be a relaxing ride quickly becomes turmoil for them. As the boat glides gently through the safe parts, they begin to feel anxiety about what is to come. They refuse to find rest in the temporary peace. To them, the tunnel is dark and scary. They refuse to see that there is a light right at the end if only they would look for it. They don’t cling to their spouse, but instead push away and begin blame them for the situation. The bump that beings the climax is devastatingly harsh. Anger, frustration, and stress start to show as they reach the top. Finally at the climax, they scream and yell all the way into a massive explosion of pain. As they drift toward the end, one withdraws and begins The Silent Treatment. The other nags, belittle, and of course starts The Blame Game. The log ride was not enjoyable for this couple.
We see this pattern in many marriages that we’ve known. Not just in counseling, but in our friends, family, and sometimes our own marriage. What’s crazy is that after such a horrific ride, they get back on it again!
The truth is, we can’t help but get back on the log ride with our spouse. After all, that is life. Sometimes we’re in the dark tunnel longer, and other times we get through it quickly. At times we have long periods of relaxation, and other times it’s as if the log ride is one big explosion after another. Being on a log ride with a spouse who is belittling, blaming and accusing their mate can quickly turn a fun adventure into a very painful journey.
James 1:2 says,
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds
Note that James says when, not “if” trials come, but when trials come. God knows that we’re going to be on the log ride, and he says that we should consider it pure joy!! Instead of focusing on all the negative things about your journey, you should seek to find the positive aspects.
Remember that Philippians 4:6-7 says,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Often times we find ourselves looking to blame someone for the mess we’re in. Some of the things we all tend to say and think are:
“It’s your fault we got on this ride in the first place! I never wanted to be here.”
“God never wanted me on this ride. He wants me to be happy.”
“I would handle this ride much better if I were on my own.”
Matthew 7:3 says,
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
When you joined together in marriage, you willingly climbed into the boat with your spouse. You may not agree with your mate every step of the way, but blaming and accusing each other will only make more pain in any trial you encounter. We must not allow bad thoughts to take over our hearts, but instead we must follow God’s word and think on the right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy things! (Philippians 4:8).
And above all else, remember that there is a third passenger on the log ride with you and your spouse. God has said that He will be with us always.
Scriptures for Meditation
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)