Thursday, July 9, 2015

Momentum & Inertia

I didn't pay a lot of attention in school. Despite my affinity for all things nerdy, I found classes to be pretty dull and uninspiring. Nevertheless, certain things stuck with me, especially ideas that I gleaned from my Physics and Biology classes. Every now and then, they arise in my memory to re-apply themselves to my daily life. Marriage is a proving ground for many of these concepts.

In our last post, I talked about The Law of Entropy and how it seems that relationships lend themselves to failure unless we act intentionally to preserve them. It's kind of like a garden -- weeds will inevitable sprout up to choke away everything else, unless some outside force intervenes. That's nature's way. Today as I sit praying over my marriage, my mind returns to the ideas of momentum and inertia, and how they manifest themselves in my relationship.


Have you ever noticed that it's easier to maintain a good habit than to establish a new one? That's, in part, because of momentum.  Momentum is summarized in the following rule: an object in motion stays in motion unless a significant force applies to it. Sound familiar?  I look to my marriage and I see this everywhere -- from date nights, to intimate conversations, and everything between. It's easier to continue a pattern of quality time than to start a whole new plan from nothing. It's simpler to continue with clear communication than to dig yourself out of a rut. Motion begets motion. Progress is a snowball effect. Reflect on your own relationship for just a moment and consider your patterns, whether good or bad. What keeps them going? What perpetuates these behaviors? More than anything, it's a sense of momentum.

However, let's take a second look at that rule -- "an object in motion stays in motion unless...." It's far too easy to remember the first part of this and forget the second. Think of driving a car -- how come, if you take your foot off the accelerator, the car gradually slows to a near crawl? Because there's a force acting upon it -- the friction of the road. Daily life is the road that your marriage is traveling down, and it'll gradually hinder your good behaviors and habits unless you keep your foot on the accelerator. Tedious jobs, paying bills, sickness, sleepless nights with the kids -- these things apply friction to your marriage, and we must be intentional to counteract them, otherwise we will soon find ourselves at a standstill.


That brings us to the next facet of this conversation. Inertia is kind of like the mirror opposite of momentum. The golden rule here is this -- an object at rest will remain at rest unless a significant force is applied. We all know this to be the case. It's like a diet or an exercise plan that we always plan to start tomorrow. Well, guess what! Yesterday you said tomorrow. It's time to acknowledge the very real aspects of your marriage that are sitting at a complete stop. Maybe it's having fun together on a vacation, or maybe it's intimacy. Perhaps it's dealing with that baggage from years ago that got sort of swept beneath the rug of time. The reality is this -- a marriage at rest, sitting frozen in time, will remain at rest unless somebody propels it into forward motion. Will you be that person? Will you be the force that propels it forward?

When your marriage is wrestling with the aftermath of a tragedy like infidelity, it's so vitally important to be intentional. Healing and redemption will not come by sheer happenstance. A real plan must be put into place. That's why I urge you to consider how these ideas apply to the daily workings of your marriage. Only be careful examination and thoughtful planning will we find a more whole and healthy type of marriage relationship.

You are reading The Meaning of Repentance, a blog about The Hartsfields and their journey to recovery from infidelity. We encourage you to subscribe via e-mail for regular updates.

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