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What Do Mount Everest and Your Marriage Have in Common?

Aug 18, 2007
Did you know that climbers attempting to scale Mount Everest will sometimes climb down the mountain a little ways? Why on earth would you ever backtrack when you're climbing the tallest mountain in the world? That seems to be the opposite of what you should do. But the answer might give you some insight into the struggles you face in your marriage.

According to Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, "mountain climbers will often step back from a particularly difficult overhang or stretch and discuss how to surmount it. Much of the fun in the sport is encountering the challenges and figuring out a way to get around them. If mountain climbing were easy, it would lose a great deal of its appeal."

The same could be said of marriage. Marriage is often difficult -- but that's not necessarily a bad thing. If it were too easy, many of us would lose interest. In fact, many people have affairs when their marriages stay boring for too long. Although that certainly doesn't excuse an affair, it can be the reason behind one. So conflict in marriage can ultimately have benefits. While conflict is typically the result of sin -- and not something to be desired -- God can use conflict to challenge our character and grow us spiritually.

As Thomas says, "Struggling successfully and profitably brings a deeper joy than even trouble-free living. . . God created us in such a way that we need to struggle to stay alive. Challenge is what keeps us seasoned. But to be profitable, our struggle must have purpose, and it must be productive. Two people who do nothing but fight in their marriage and make each other miserable are not engaging in a helpful spiritual exercise. It's only when we put struggle within the Christian context of character development and self-sacrifice that it becomes profitable."

So the next time you have a fight with your spouse, think about how God can use the conflict to deepen your character and walk with the Lord. "Instead of immediately thinking about how [you] can take a helicopter to the top, [you] might take a climber's approach and think, 'This is really tough. This is a challenge, no doubt about it. How do I keep loving this person in the face of this challenge?'" Your marriage will be better for it. And what feels like back-tracking may actually help get you closer to the top.
About the Author
Steve Kroening writes for Success magazine and also publishes Wisdom's Edge. You can get Biblical tips on health, finance, relationships, parenting, and success, delivered to your email inbox every week. Simply visit http://www.wisdomsedge.com and sign up for this free e-zine.
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