I’m not an avid Lifetime Movie Watcher. The few that I’ve tuned into have all followed a similar plot. Girl meets boy. Boy is the best thing that’s happened since sliced bread. Girl marries boy. Boy turns out to be as crazy as two left shoes.
While I knew the 2003 Lifetime Original “Homeless to Harvard,” the story of homeless high school student Liz Murray and her journey to acceptance to Harvard, didn’t follow the typical Lifetime movie trajectory, I didn’t tune in.
After hearing Liz Murray speak as the keynote speaker at a conference in Boston last week I wondered whether any movie, no matter how good, could capture the power of her speech. She shared so many things about her own journey, that while very personal and tragic, were also universal. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak I encourage you to do so.
What resonated with me most was the idea that while we talk about “making a difference” typically as a positive and intentional act, our actions are always making a difference, positive or negative, in our own lives and the lives of those around us. Everything that we do has an effect. There is no such thing, she said, as living in neutral.
I agree with that statement as it applies to all areas of our lives, including marriage.
Whether you like it or not you are making a difference in your marriage, either for good or for bad. If you don’t believe me try this: Go start your car and drive it around for a while. When you’re done, leave it running, don’t put it in park just leave it in neutral and get out.
(If you actually did that — seek help. You know that old saying your parents used to hit you with “If Suzy jumped off a bridge…..” Hi, I’m Suzy. I just jumped and you followed.)
My point is that we all know that leaving a car in neutral with no one at the steering wheel is a bad idea. If the forces around it cause the car to move on its own then there’s a high likelihood that an unguided car will crash.
We have to think of marriage in the same way. We cannot just coast through marriage with our actions living in some type of bubble. Our actions are affecting our spouses in some way, good or bad. If we aren’t actively participating and guiding our marriage, then we are setting ourselves up for a crash.
Today’s challenge is to think about what gear your marriage is in today. Are you in drive? Are you actively moving your marriage forward? Are you doing negative things to move backward? Or are you doing nothing which is essentially having the same affect.
What gear is your marriage in today? What will you do today to move your marriage into “Drive?”