When I was in college I ran a long distance race I will never forget. I didn't win it, but I did learn a valuable lesson about myself, and about marriage.

I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family.

It was my freshman year and I really wanted to win my first race badly. Although I hadn't trained properly, I bounded onto the track full of energy and optimism. At the sound of the starting gun I tore off as fast as I could run and I left the pack far behind. By the second lap, however, my side was splitting and the pack was closing in behind me. Somewhere near the halfway mark, I was sucking air frantically and my chest was heaving like a great gray whale. I soon collapsed on the infield grass in a sweating heap of failure, losing the race and my pride in one great disaster. But I did learn a lesson that has stuck with me to this day.

Marathons are very different from sprints, and you have to learn to pace yourself if you're going to endure to the finish line. And isn't that true of married life too? You have to set a pace that you can maintain through all the ups and downs of everyday living, and make up your mind to let nothing knock you off the track. It's called life long marriage, and it sure beats an early collapse on the infield grass.

This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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