The sun is setting, sending swirls of fiery gold across the sky. The wind is blowing, causing my hands to tremble under the weight of my weapon. Breathing out, I steady my hands and take aim. I hear my husband speak but I drown out his words and focus. Barely two seconds pass before my arrow hits the target with deadly accuracy. In triumph a smile spreads across my lips as I turn and wink at my husband.
“Beat that, cowboy,” I smirk stepping back so my husband can take his turn as he slaps my on the rear and takes position.
We are an archery family. We also have a hobby of shooting guns, in fact our 13-year-old took 2nd place in 4-H. I’ve always loved it and is one of the many fond memories I have growing up with my dad before my parents divorced. There is something about loosening an arrow that satisfies a fire within my spirit. The same goes after I hear my bullet hit the target mixed with the smell of bullet powder in the same moment. It calms everything on the surface and creates clarity out of the tension, to-do lists, and daily chaos of life. Maybe, I’m slightly off my rocker here, but it saved my marriage.
Years ago when my husband and I were barely speaking, the thought of separating came up time and again. Overnight my husband and I went from being high school sweet hearts to a married couple expecting our first child; neither of us had a chance to find ourselves–much less grow up. We would come out to Cottonmill and practice with his bow. It was the one activity we could enjoy. Instead of becoming each other’s targets with resentment and misplaced feelings, the bullseye united us on the forefront as our common enemy. There–we shot our arrows of frustration and anger. And believe me we had a lot of frustrations.
The friction of trying to mesh our lives together and grow into ourselves constantly pulled at the seams of “us.” But on the target field, we were on common ground. As the years passed by, Chris and I grew up, we created a life together, standing side by side. Making a marriage successful is hard work, and I for one, am so thankful we didn’t give up on each other. Sadly, I know so many couples whose marriages fall apart after children come along.
Often we would pray to be the best parents for our daughter and to understand each other, even when we felt like we were living with a complete stranger.There were days when I found myself praying not to throttle my husband many times too.
And while I say that a successful marriage is an accumulation of the simple things, I’m always reminded you have to do the simple things each and every day of your lives together to make it work, even if it means taking aim–together.