The working title for my book 14 Keys to Lasting Love was “Avoiding a Train Wreck Marriage.” I like the title we landed on because it’s much more positive and conveys that this is a book that will help you grow your marriage. Yet, there were a lot of things I liked about the title “Train Wreck Marriage.”
When I think of a train wreck, I imagine a pretty ugly picture. Usually cars are off the rails and there is chaos all around. Sometimes before a train wreck the engineer had warnings. He may have seen something on the track ahead of him or another train approaching but stopping a train is very different than stopping a car. When driving a car, in most instances I can step on my brakes and stop. It takes 220 feet to stop a car going fifty miles an hour. It takes a lot longer for a train to stop. A train traveling fifty miles an hour will take 1.5 miles to stop! That’s a lot different than stopping the car - 5,040 feet different. Even with warnings, the train will probably not be able to stop in time to avoid a wreck.
Let’s apply that analogy to marriage. Most of the time when couples struggle in marriage, they have a pretty good idea what is or is not happening. They see the problem. Communication has broken down. Finances are out of control. Conflicts are seldom, if ever, resolved. Sex has been put on the back burner. If we look at those problems with the idea of driving a car, they are usually correctable. There is time to stop the car before it crashes, especially if both the husband and the wife are willing to work on it. It may not be easy, and it will take work, but there is a lot of hope.
If we take those same issues and our couple is not in a car but on a train, our results will be very different. The train is not stopping and even if it was, there is a big gap between where the train is now and where it will be able to stop. The issues with communication, finances, conflict, and sex are all there but are ignored. Things go from bad to worse as the train speeds on. The key to avoiding the train wreck is acknowledging the problem and acting before it is too late. It is doing something that will stop the train traveling fifty miles an hour at least a few feet before the crash. It’s avoiding the train wreck marriage.
My point is this: If you know there is a problem in your marriage, don’t wait. Do something about it now. As a counselor, I have hope for every couple because I have seen “train wreck” couples not only make it but have awesome marriages! Yet, every one of them has said at one time or another, “I wish we had begun addressing the problem and working on it earlier before it got this bad.” We serve a God of miracles. He can always bring change. Wherever your marriage is today there is hope. The sooner you turn to Him the better. Ask yourself: What is the first step towards healing for you, your spouse, and your marriage?
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